Now or Never
Fri., October 28, 1977
I hardly sleep at all. Ever since yesterday I am totally confused. I am no longer sure that Danielle is interested. Danielle talks again to the department head. She says something about love in a very loud voice to catch my attention. I am so upset and nervous that I don’t hear what she is saying. All I can make out are individual words: “she . . . love . . . candy.” Then when I walk by her desk she gives me a big smile. I am panicked. I don’t know what she is smiling about. Was I supposed to hear what she was saying? Did I miss my cues? I am somewhat cold and distant because of her statement yesterday. I ignore Danielle and she runs out of the office and goes to the ladies room. I follow her in there and see she is crying. “What is wrong?” I ask, wanting to throw my arms around her and comfort her but I don’t have the courage to do it.
Danielle says, “Ellen, please just leave me alone.”
I am panicked. I go over to the department head in desperation and ask, “What is wrong with Danielle? She’s in the ladies room crying.”
Sheila says, “Oh, she’s upset because they’re reducing the retirement benefits.”
I think she is lying. I don’t know what is going on. I tell Yvonne I think people are lying to me. Everyone is all upset. I overhear Dr. Lencek, the medical cataloguer who trained as a psychiatrist, say that I am a troublemaker and a flirt. I want to say I am not. I am desperate. I leave a note on Danielle’s desk when she is not there saying, “Don’t you know I can’t hear or see when I am so nervous? I am sorry.” I hear Yvonne say, “It sounds like a heart-felt apology.” But Danielle shows no response. I feel rejected again and go home in a panic. Now I have really made a mess of things. Everyone seems to know what is going on except me. I have made a scene with the head of the department. I have hurt Danielle’s feelings. They think I am playing games and hurting Danielle’s feelings. Am I? I don’t know. I don’t know why I turn so cold and hard at times. Yvonne, Dr. Lencek, Nina— they all seem to want me to love Danielle. I have to do something. No sleep now.
I close the diary after reading Friday’s entry. Joey was so negative about the whole thing I didn’t dare tell him all this and I certainly didn’t dare ask him what I should do. Why hadn’t I been able to explain the whole story to Joey?
YOU WERE TOO NERVOUS. YOU COULDN’T THINK STRAIGHT. JOEY JUST DOESN’T UNDERSTAND THIS KIND OF THING. YOU HAVE REJECTED DANIELLE A FEW TIMES NOW. AND NOW SHE IS REALLY GOING TO THINK YOU ARE PLAYING GAMES. YOU MADE DANIELLE CRY. DANIELLE WASN’T CRYING ABOUT THE RETIREMENT BENEFITS. GET REAL. YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING AND YOU HAVE TO DO IT NOW. IT’S CLEAR YOU HAVE TO FORCE YOURSELF TO COME CLEAN TO DANIELLE. YOU HAVE TO PROVE TO DANIELLE YOU’RE NOT PLAYING GAMES. YOU HAVE TO SHOW HER YOU WERE JUST SCARED— THAT YOU DIDN’T WANT TO REJECT HER— THAT YOU ARE INTERESTED. YOU HAVE TO TELL DANIELLE THE TRUTH. BLUNTLY. OVER THE PHONE. TODAY IS SUNDAY. DANIELLE WON’T BE IN TOMORROW. SHE’S TAKING A VACATION DAY AND TUESDAY IS ELECTION DAY. YOU WON’T SEE HER UNTIL WEDNESDAY. THAT’S TOO LONG TO WAIT. TONIGHT WOULD BE THE PERFECT NIGHT TO DO IT. YOU HAVE TO DO IT. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY. DO YOU WANT TO LOSE HER FOREVER? REMEMBER THAT LOOK ON HER FACE WHEN SHE CAME OVER TO YOU AFTER HER VACATION? THIS IS REAL LOVE AND MAYBE YOUR ONE AND ONLY CHANCE.
I pour myself a Scotch. Then another and another. I take out my phone book. I am still shaking. I dial Danielle’s number, then before it rings, I hang up. I drink the last of my third drink and dial again.
This excerpt from Chapter 2 of my Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir illustrates a manic love and an Asperger’s difficulty with social cues. For full information see:
Also available on iBooks (iTunes), Barnes and Noble Nook and Smashwords.
The complexity of the character is intriguing and the heightened emotions got me all curious and wanting for more…
March 7, 2013 at 10:23 AM
Thanks, Arjun. I will be posting other bits and pieces.
March 7, 2013 at 4:53 PM
A painful insight in the realm of feelings and thought. What is truth, What to do? Sometimes we can’t understand reality, sometimes we don’t want to see reality, and sometimes we just don’t want to do what we are supposed to do. It took me a long time before i started to understand the workings and signals that are indicative of starting a relationship, or what happens in the early makings of it. Sometimes we make mistakes because the other side is not clear enough. In love one often says the oposite of what one feels or wants. Most people seem to understand that. To many others, enigmatic behaviour is seen as just that, enigmatic behaviour.
March 7, 2013 at 1:21 PM
Well, for Aspies, sure, it is enigmatic behavior because they have such trouble reading and interpreting facial expressions. I could see the expressions but didn’t know their meaning. I truly was obtuse about things though I knew on some level that something important was going on but I wasn’t sure just what it was or what I was supposed to do. Sometimes, too, especially in this case, since it was the first woman I had gotten enmeshed with, one has a hard time accepting the feelings. Even love with my husband was confusing and hard to accept often– but easier because he had a harder time with it all than I did. He was more scared than I was, if that is possible. So I understood that much and his quirks. Frankly, it is amazing to me people get together at all but I suppose that is a very Aspie thing to say.
March 7, 2013 at 5:00 PM
It’s already very difficult if you are not an aspie … I sigh …
March 7, 2013 at 5:03 PM
Relationships are so complex. Compelling read.
March 7, 2013 at 2:24 PM
This one was a mystery. Thanks!
March 7, 2013 at 4:45 PM
Powerful writing. I feel privileged to read this and get a chance to walk in your shoes, so to speak. I respect your courage in writing and posting this. You, and the insightful comments that followed, ,have taught me something very important that I needed to know. I am grateful for this lesson and respect you for teaching it to me. Thank you.
March 8, 2013 at 3:15 PM
You have no idea what a comment like yours means to me. It makes all the challenges worthwhile. I am most happy that the segment and the comments helped you. Thank you so much for sharing your reaction.
March 8, 2013 at 5:13 PM