Listen Up! Story-a-day May.

I’ve signed up for the Story-a-day May challenge so I’ll be writing a story every day in May, some will be long, some will be short, and some will be better than others.  Here’s my first one (with minor edits only):

 

Listen Up

 

He was always missing my meaning.  This is what happens when you go out with someone who never really listens.

 

I can only assume he developed his fake listening skills from spending so much time with his mother. All while he was growing up, it was just the two of them and she was a big fan of road trips, so it she would have him as a captive audience the whole time. And good lord could that woman talk.

 

I’ve never heard anything like it. If you can imagine the fastest talker you have ever heard, combined with the sort of boor who talks over everyone else at the party, combined with, I don’t know, some sort of chirpy, annoying, bird that gives you a facial tic just from hearing it, you would have some idea of what Fred’s mom is like.

 

To be fair, she’s a nice lady, generous, sweet, and she loves her son like no one has ever loved their kid before, and really, she’s not a boor, I just don’t think the fact that conversations normally involve more than one person talking has ever registered with her.

 

So, I can completely understand why Fred never listens when I talk. I mean he nods, and he looks interested, but he’s not really there. I think it’s a self-defence mechanism, a way of carving out a few minutes for his thoughts, honed on a thousand road trips with Our Lady of the Chatter.  She never notices that he zones out, and I really think that he thought I wouldn’t notice either.

 

I noticed. Right away. The first time we talked, I did the nice-girl-on-a-date thing and I let him tell me all about himself but as soon as I started answering his first question (So, what do you do?) it was like he became a mannequin. Or maybe an android, one who knew what he should do, but couldn’t quite pull it off.  I ignored it at the time, figuring he was just nervous, and he had so many other nice qualities that I was willing to let a few things slide.

 

It got old though, even though I understood where he was coming from, and why I was being tuned out. It just didn’t feel good, even though he made me feel good in all sorts of other ways, I guess I just need to feel listened to.

 

I was trying to explain that to him last night when we were out for a walk, that if we were going to keep going out, he was going to have to tune in to me at least part of the time. And I think, for at least a little while, he was listening but as I went on, I could see his eyes glazing a little and his head bobbing gently like he was listening to a song that I couldn’t hear. He was obviously lost in his own head.

 

I guess that’s why he left 4 messages on my machine asking why I didn’t show up for his birthday supper tonight.

 

Last night, he never heard me say goodbye.