The Nothing Box and the Olympics of Mixed Signals

This week:

I am listening to: Blood Orange, FKA Twigs, Letters to Cleo

Pairing my coffee with: 5 college visits in 2 days, VISITORS FROM BOSTON!


The Nothing Box and the Olympics of Mixed Signals

I used to think one day we’d tell the story of us, how we met and the sparks flew instantly. And people would say, “They’re the lucky ones.”

Somewhere in a movie theater in Austin, TX whispers were crossing in the dark.

Benjamin: What are you doing?

Me: I don’t like cherry tomatoes. They look like beetles. It makes me itch. I don’t like the way they are raised above the pizza. It doesn’t work for me. Here.

I picked off the tomato bugs and stacked them on top of his side of the pizza.

Me: I washed my hands today.

Benjamin then kissed my cheek and ate all the tomatoes.

Somewhere in a hipster record store hands were flipping through sights and sounds. I tripped on a wooden step and he didn’t see.

Me: I like scary movies. In October I try to watch one for every 31 days of that month. I mean I at least have a different one playing in the background of whatever I’m doing. My sister Alyssa used to do that.
Benjamin: Well this one, is scary.

He held up a DVD that looked like a bootleg copy of a sci-fi Office Space.

Me: Never heard of that.

Benjamin: I’ll buy it so we can watch it.

Me: I’m getting a record. I couldn’t find what I was looking for so, I’m getting the Cure.

That wasn’t true. I got the Cure because it seemed sentimental to me at the time.

Somewhere in a condo downtown hands were tangled and eyes were fixated on a flat screen playing a Netflix original.

Benjamin: See those two. That awkward encounter? How weird they are? That was us when we met.

Me: Yeah that’s us. You’re weird.

Benjamin: ………..

Me: I’m weird.

Benjamin: Wine?

Me: Yeah.

I almost changed my mind to a gin, but I stuck with wine. Sharing sounded better.

Benjamin: Have you ever done that before?

Me: What?

Benjamin: Hung out of a car window and said goodbye.

Me: Until they couldn’t see you anymore? Absolutely.

Benjamin: That’s so you.

Me: Dramatic, I get it.


Me: What?

Benjamin: I’m really glad you are here with me right now.

Things were cute and golden for a bit, and then things got weird. He thought I wasn’t making an effort and at the time, he was right. Me trying to “play it cool” backfired into hurt feelings.Then when I was making all the effort things changed.

Somewhere in an office on E. 11th street me and my work homies were scheming up a taco plan and typing on laptops.

Me: I just don’t get it. I don’t understand what he’s thinking. Like what is actually happening here? I understand we are all busy, but I feel like I’m not worth his time to make time for me.

Alesia: You were/are leaving huge windows of time before responding to texts..


TB: He’s in the nothing box.

Me: The fuck is that

TB: It’s the nothing box. There are no thoughts. No drama. He’s working. The dude is thinking nothing. He’s in the box.

I glared at him because I wasn’t getting the answer I wanted to hear. I started sweating more than usual because he was probably right.

Me: Fine. The nothing box. I like that.

Later I texted TB…

Me: Hey what was that nothing box called again?

TB: The nothing box….lol.

The cute, unique movie moments between Benjamin turned into the Olympics of mixed signals, miscommunication, and no communication. We both have gold medals in all three of those categories.

Somewhere at an establishment on Rainey street two girls were melting in the sun. One girl was worried about the other.

Rachel: I always admired you because you can be brave, quickly cut off your feelings and move on.

Me: I’m not sure if that makes me a baller? Or unhealthy?

Rachel: You can’t be left in limbo all the time. You’ve been in this bubble of speculation and anguish lately and I don’t like seeing you like this. It’s ruining our prosecco time.

Me: But he told his friend he thought he was falling in love with me and-

Rachel: That was a month ago. That never progressed. What came of that?

Me: Do you think that was bullshit? I think it’s really hard for him to express himself and-

Rachel: ……..

Me: I need a drink.

So many things that you wish I knew, but the story of us might be ending soon.

And it did. I was really sad. So, it was back to being the wine and ice cream girl at HEB. This time standing in line sandwiched between two happy couples. Serenity. Now. Please. I called Rachel.

Me: I need you to come over. You were right.

My eyes started to burn as I dragged my sneakers through asphalt that had finally started to cool down.

Rachel: I’ll get some supplies.

Me: I already have wine and ice cream.

Rachel: I’ll get more.

Me: Oh my god. UGHHHHH. Collin is calling I thought I blocked him. What is actually happening here?

*Collin= the ex of all exes who never goes away. You can read the backstory in my book.

Rachel: OH GOD. Here we go. Ugh see you soon.

I switched the call.

Me: WHAT DO YOU WANT? I thought I blocked you.

Collin: I guess not!

Me: It’s probably because I changed your name in my phone so many times. Satan, Never Again, Bye Felicia… and something else that I will keep to myself. I must have confused myself and blocked a nice Collin.

Collin: I don’t get it. Can we meet somewhere? I need to see you.

Me: No.

Collin: You know what, FORGET IT.

Me: You’ve been forgotten. And here’s a tip. 36 year old men shouldn’t send mean emails and Taylor Swift songs. When you are ready to be friends please let me know…. Cause we are never, ever, ever, getting back together. Goodbye.

He was the last person I needed to hear from that day. I came home and laid on my living room floor with my seat up against the wall and my legs raised above me. I regretted my ice cream choice and my stomach started to hurt. I took a deep breath and exhaled out Collin. I took a deep breath and exhaled out Benjamin.


Me: Ugh.

Rachel: You look like hell bae.

Me: I know I just got back.

Rachel: HEB isn’t that bad.