doubt, pt. 1


Something about you seemed fundamentally untrustworthy from the moment we met--I think it was a Labor Day barbecue, wasn't it? I can picture it clearly: you complaining about America's lack of appreciation for the labor movement, about how by rights this should be on May Day, about how most Americans simply see it as an excuse to eat hamburgers and get drunk. I can still hear your sarcastic tone, still see your ironic little smirk. I showed up late and didn't know anyone there, but I knew two things as soon as I saw you: I knew that you liked me for some reason, and I knew that was probably a bad thing.

I drank more than I usually do that night. I'm not good at parties, and you were making me uncomfortable. It didn't help. I ended up ducking out back for air after even more people showed up, and I wasn't really surprised that you'd followed me out there. I was surprised that it didn't bother me anymore. Perhaps the alcohol had drowned that little seed of doubt. You asked if I was feeling okay, your tone abruptly lacking the carefully constructed irony from earlier, and that put me on edge again. As if your apparent sincerity could be anything more than artifice.

I answered honestly, because honesty is usually the best way to get rid of someone. But you stayed, and I made what I have often thought of as the worst decision of my life then: I decided to just let you stay around. So long as I kept that seed of doubt alive, so long as I didn't let myself trust you--well, there was no harm in seeing where the evening would take it, was there? I was fairly certain the evening would end with you in my bed, except when we reached my doorstep you simply leaned in close and told me to call you when I was sober.

And that's how I stopped watching the doubt I'd spent all night nurturing: in that moment I was certain I'd misjudged you. I let it grow wild, and from that moment on, the only thing I was uncertain of was myself.

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