I was not able to do it.
Kay just went to bed after we spent much of the night talking over text, and I just wasn’t able to bring myself to bring up the way I feel about her.
It’s maddening. I’ve never been so frustrated by the fact that I felt I was putting on a charade. It is not dissimilar from putting on that mask demanded of me by my occupation and just living in the world but have never had to do with Kay until recently. Why would I have to pretend to be some sort of normal around a friend? And yet here I am, pretending I’m not falling asleep thinking about holding her paw every night.
Holding her paw! What garbage.
I talk with her like I talk with strangers, at least whenever we near this topic. I make a stranger out of myself, it seems, though she has not said anything about the way I have been acting. I reread each message countless times before sending it just to make sure that it is plausibly normal, that I am not in some way tipping my hand, that I am being kind without being intrusive, that I am being invested without being obsessed.
I am not comfortable with this change in myself, but I will continue to work on it.
What we did talk about, however, was much of what I spoke about with Jeremy yesterday, about how I left Saint John’s. She knew this fact, of course, we’d talked about it before.
What she did not know, however, was that I had left of my own accord. At some point along the way, she had picked up on the idea that perhaps I had been ushered out unwillingly. When pressed as to why, she said,
5:31 PM Kay> Oh, I don’t know. I suppose I had guessed that you were gay or into out-species relationships or something.
5:31 PM Dee> Oh goodness, no. Not something I particularly have a problem with, but I can confirm that my preferences remain quite straight and quite coyote.
This probably would have been the best time for me to broach the topic, but I can point to this spot definitively as where I chickened out. Instead, I continued,
5:33 PM Dee> What lead to that assessment? I’m curious.
5:33 PM Kay> I’m not sure. You’re a bit hard to read so I took that as there being some sort of internal conflict.
5:33 PM Dee> I think I’m just terrible at communicating.
5:33 PM Kay> Also a possibility!
From there I explained much of what I had talked about earlier, about how I started to doubt my calling, rather than my faith or scriptures, and yet how my decision to leave had come suddenly enough to surprise even myself.
Now that I write this and think about her comment, though, I do wonder: the administration let me go with surprising ease. The attempts to keep me along the path to the clergy were faint at best, and I was able to simply walk away from the vocation with little impact to my standing within my own congregation and essentially no strife from the school itself.
I sometimes wonder: why was this? In a church whose adherents continue to dwindle, why was there so little attempt to keep me around? Was it because of me? Was it because they did not see a fit for me? For someone neurodivergent, outside the narrow spectrum of neurotypicality that they themselves held to so strongly? Surely that is part of it, as I have expressed. Was it because I was a pest, though? Were I to reapply, would I be welcomed back, even if I have better learned to function within society through whatever masking they might appreciate?
Was I preempting them asking me to leave by leaving, myself?
I don’t know how I feel about this thought. I will pray on it, of course, but as much as the church is in service of God, I do not think that this is necessarily his domain.
Perhaps I should get in touch with the school, or maybe some of my old classmates.
I suppose this is just what I needed: another impossible social problem. Nearing thirty, I would think that I ought to have grown out of these by now.