Follow this story of two people, where their short time together seemingly revolved around the question: “How do you know when someone matters?” This will be quite quick — no lotsawords and all those shimmies.
* * * * *
You walked up to him and gave him a look of modesty. You come around and he called your cell. You spoke through the phone in such a way that he thought you were too shy. He even felt that it was intimidating to even talk back. An eerie feeling rushed through him, as if he knew it was going to be bad if he lets his guard down.
There’s something wrong with him; he’s used to evaluating people in a glance. He was fixated on the thought that you’d be quiet and it would be hard, because he knew he’d be quiet, too. He predicts. He fabricates scenarios in his head that aren’t even going to happen — that it feels almost like a disease. So he tried to spark up random conversations to drown the thoughts — whatever it was that came out of his head — and tried to keep the loop going.
He was surprised to learn you had a lot of things to say, but he kept it quiet with a smile.
* * * * *
“Don’t walk too fast,” you said. “Relax. Slow down.”
He noticed your legs were long so he thought you’d both be on the same pace.
“Sorry,” he said.
A few seconds passed and he immediately declared he can’t walk slowly. You laughed heartily at this, and he laughed at the way you chuckled. This kind of banter went on until you both ran out of things to say.
Only to end up having a mutual desire for food and noodles.
* * * * *
“You should go on your own pace,” he advised you over cups of coffee and tea.
You nodded. You thought that was a nice thing to hear.
He appreciated how he could be of service.
He knew he should say this — because he understood this part better than you did.
You probably thought the same.
* * * * *
“How do you know when someone matters?” He asked out of the blue.
You fell deep in thought for a few seconds, but you came up with an answer real quick.
“When you find yourself… when you find yourself going out of your way to make time for someone… I guess that’s how I know. How about you?” You said.
He thought, hard. But he couldn’t find anything.
Until he went home, he was thinking.
Is it when he thought of someone who had died — and feel a great feeling of sadness?
No. He thought. He rationalized that this was a natural reaction to something as grave as death. So he scratched that off.
He let his brain wander. Of course his family mattered — so he scratched that off as well.
He knew he was supposed to think of a different kind of “someone.”
He scratched his head and proceeded to talk to you through the phone, trying to divert his attention onto something else so he could take a breather and stop thinking for a while.
You said good night and he did, too. He was determined to fall asleep, only to find out he’d be stuck with the same question in mind. As for you — you fell asleep rather quickly.
Days passed and the thoughts kept on going.
Is it when he would always try to save someone from making a monumental mistake?
No. He thought. That’s how humane people think. People shouldn’t drag other people down with them, so they help. But they will probably laugh at you first. He carried on. The thought then ramified to how severe his distaste was of how he was absurdly optimistic.
Is it when he puts someone else’s welfare over his? Passable, he whispered to himself. But there was something off about this thought that he couldn’t put his finger on — so he scratched this off.
He gave up thinking after a lot more attempts, and the days that passed felt very trying.
He wanted to talk to you, but you already seemed so distant.
You’re probably busy. He rationalized.
But the busy days just carried on — even for him. You both carried on with life and you eventually lost touch.
He then realized, after so many days of being busy, how he’d know when someone mattered to him.
It’s when someone makes him think. And when he’s kept thinking, he writes. Someone matters to him when he writes about them. When he writes to you… when he writes about you.
What a dumbass, you’d think. He’d been wasting time running around the question over and over. He never really had to dig that deep to figure that out.
Because by the time he knew the answer to his own question, it was too late to even say the words he should have already told you.
– – – – –
You’re cursed with overthinking.