To Be Honest
I tell him he needs to be more honest about his emotions. He says he's not sure what I mean. He never thought he was being dishonest exactly. Coy, maybe, but mostly in a sexual way, he says, which is supposed to be exciting. No, I say, I mean when he says he feels things he doesn't or when he denies feeling things he does. Oh, I mean when he's being ironic, he says. No, I say, I mean when he's being dishonest. For example, I say, when I asked him if he loved me and he said he hadn't been thinking about it at all. That can't be honest. He had to be thinking about it at least a little. And he says I never asked him if he loved me or, at least, he doesn't remember it. And I can't think of anything to say to that.
Then he says I must be referring to the conversation we had a few days ago when I had been telling him how I was worried because my feelings for him were stronger than I'd expected they would be and that I knew I shouldn't fall in love with him because I was leaving the state soon and permanently and he couldn't come with me and I couldn't stay and I had only dated him to begin with because I thought I couldn't fall in love with him not only because I was leaving but also because we didn't suit each other exactly, but here it was: I was still leaving and we still didn't suit each other, but I thought I might be in love with him anyway and this was what I had been thinking and was he thinking the same thing? And he said, no, that's not at all what he was thinking. He was thinking about other things instead. That, he says, must be the conversation to which I refer. Yes, I say, that's the one.
Well, he says, that was not dishonest because he, at that moment, wasn't thinking about being in love with me but instead about the fact that I had thought we didn't suit each other and that I had thought I wouldn't fall in love with him, silly him, he says, for thinking that I might all those months, which of course, he points out, I did. But in another sense, I ask, was it dishonest because while he wasn't thinking about being in love with me at that moment, had he thought about it recently, such as, for example, in the few moments before I said the thing about suiting?
That is a possibility, he says, that he will consider. In the meantime, he resolves to be more honest in the future. And then he says that he doubts that it's possible and in order to be honest, he must report his doubt. And then he says that reporting the doubt makes him think he was able to do it once and so may be able to continue and he feels he has to share that too, he says, in order to be honest. And now, he says, after being so honest he feels like he must be in an exceedingly healthy relationship with someone he can tell everything to. But the fact is, he says, he feels like he is, or he felt like he was a second ago, but that doesn't mean that he is and, in fact, he probably isn't, so he tells me that in order to be honest too. And now, he says, he's feeling many things connected to memories and ideas and each thought is a revision of the last thought, each thought is a new emotion requiring honesty and each thought changes him and he can't explain to me each shift quickly enough before a new shift occurs and so the only way he can be honest is to sit across from me and say, "I've changed. I've changed. I've changed. I've changed. I've changed."