I went to her with my problem, thinking to myself, "She is my only friend. If she can't psychoanalyze and figure out enough to explain to me what I should already know about myself, well. I don't think anyone can."
I explained the situation. She sat quietly, patiently. Listening.
"Ilion, you're puerile," was her answer. "Just because you don't point three hands to Zeus every time a pretty girl walks by means nothing except that you're more evolved than 97% of mankind."
"But, you just said I was puerile." I was quietly fuming.
"I did and you are. But, I suppose it isn't really your fault. No one else you could have ever possibly met would be in the same boat. You're one of a kind."
"I'm not following you. If I'm so great, why can't I feel great? Why can't I find a woman who makes me feel great, and whom I can make feel great in return? Why do I simultaneously want that kind of a relationship and want anything but that kind of relationship? Why am I so fucked up?"
"I told you, you're not fucked up," she noted, "You're puerile." She was matter-of-fact and I glared. Heatedly.
"That's all the advice I'm privy to today? That I'm devastatingly puerile? Damn, Tegan. I could've asked my mother to tell me that much. Forget it. I'm leaving."
"Now, don't be cross with me, Ilion. You're just a confused little boy and I'm not telling you what you want to hear. I wish I could tell you this was perfectly normal, love, but it isn't. That's a cold, hard fact of nature. Not everyone is normal. Don't be too disappointed, though. You're on a better track than most others. You'll never get your heart broken."
"You have some hasty gall to assume that, love. I'll have you know I am no stranger to heartbreak."
"I know. You talk about it enough. So you thought when you were five that you'd love that twinkly little Melia Morey next door. So it didn't work out. So it hurt. You were over it the moment your mother bought you a puppy."
"So I didn't just stop feeling hurt, Tegan. I stopped feeling."
"Nonsense. If you'd stopped feeling you wouldn't be here now asking me if you'll ever be happy again."
"Wanting to be happy and feeling a emotion are two terribly different things."
"You think want, when not coupled with a basic human need like hunger or thirst, isn't an emotion?"
"I'd have to argue that feeling emotion is a basic human need."
"You're not just puerile, Ilion," she said, sighing. "You're infuriating."
"It's part of my charm. Anything else? Am I hideous? Am I irritating? Am I a love-less, sex-less, hermit of a human with a dehydrated heart, tougher to chew than nails?"
"Maybe. I'm no judge of such things."
"You are infuriating. You've been talking to me for a quarter hour and you haven't said a thing."
"You want to know what I really think, Ilion? I hesitate to tell you as usually when I do you shoot me down like an enemy jet. You come asking for advice and opinion when all you really want is reinforcement of your own."
"... I won't deny that, but I won't admit to it either," I said, reserved, feeling mildly nauseous.
"A fair trade."
There was silence then and I stared at her. She looked sad, really. Honestly, heart-deep in remorse for things she'd said and things I'd done in response to them.
"I'm sorry, Tegan," I said finally. I couldn't stand to see her like that. "I want to hear what you think. I always want to hear what you think."
"You will be loved, Ilion. Trust me on that. Someday you'll meet someone who has just enough in common with you, but also a creative outstanding spark that keeps you coming to her, desperate to get to know her, desperate to discover what makes her tick. You'll watch her move and wonder how no one else in the world could have never noticed it before. You'll reach out to touch her and your heart will pound like the gears of a ship sailing full speed. Just her proximity will send electric shocks across your skin, the feel of her clothing against your fingertips will send the hairs on your next into their own erotic praise to Zeus. You'll fall faster and harder and feel wonderful things you could have never felt for Melia Morey. You will love her with your very being. You'll feel as if you could give the next fifty years of your life just to spend an afternoon with her, doing something completely mundane and stupid. Like playing chess."
I smiled at that remark.
"I only play chess with you, Tegan."
"Something else then. Maybe you'll find a girl who can build rainbows. You'll build the planes and she'll build the rainbows, and you'll live in the sky and the clouds."
"Building planes and building rainbows are two completely different things, Tegan."
"You're doing this to piss me off. You have to stop denying me and absorb what I'm saying to you. I'm scared for you, if you don't. If you go on living like this, thinking there's something wrong with you, thinking you're lacking something just because your aren't thinking the exact same levittown thoughts that everyone else is thinking. You're special, Ilion. Someday you'll find a girl that understands that and can show you that. You just have to look. She could be anywhere from the eastern coast to the western coast of the most eastern land, and the water that separates them. But she's out there. She's somewhere. Go look. Find her, and then come back and tell me you're not anything."
She just kept going. She was ranting now, vomiting words at ninety beats per minute. She threw so much emotion into the lecture that I couldn't interrupt. I didn't even know what to say when she finally finished. She couldn't even look at me; I thought she might be crying.
"Do you feel that way?"
"What? What do you mean? We're not talking about me. We're talking about you Ilion. Havne't you paid any attention? Honestly, I..."
"It was just a simple question, Tegan. I see no reason you should be so defensive. You speak from emotion, I can tell. You're not just speculating. You've found him, haven't you? The man that makes you feel that way? Who paints your rainbows?"
"I thought I had. Some of us can't build planes the way you can, Ilion."
She started away, head bowed and hair in her face. She walked as if she had been defeated, as if a tremendous failure had left her with nothing. She looked, just sad. She looked so incredibly sad. Perhaps even, possibly... heartbroken.
"Tegan, wait. Who was it? Who did this to you?"
"Don't worry about it, Ilion. It isn't his fault he favors standing around in this tiny town, playing afternoon chess with me when he should be out looking for a rainbow with more colors than just blue."
She left then, gone eons before I could even begin to process what she had told me. I touched the rock she had been sitting on and felt a breeze send a chill up my arm.
"She's right," I admitted finally. "I am puerile."