Pulling the thread

I went to a silent art auction last night at a local university, amidst a raging British storm. That is, a fairly-mild-by-all-accounts-but-exciting-to-us-folk-who-don’t-experience-real-storms storm. My friend had submitted a piece and so we turned up to represent. It was unexpectedly packed to the brim with art students. Not that we had any idea what to expect, but it was bustling. Decidedly COVID-unsafe. And we were most definitely outsiders, but I doubt anyone was paying attention.

We made a circuit of the corridor where the pieces were displayed. My friends made a few bids. I did not. And then, as we were nearing the end of our lap, a man walked in. Floppy hair, undercut, self-effacing demeanour – yeah I’m into it. Our lap took us past him and, after a couple of mutual glances, I suspected he was into it too. He changed his trajectory to hover near me. Fucking palpable. The thing is, I am alarmingly age-blind, and I thought it best to make the assumption that he was, in fact, undergraduate age. So, when somebody wanted to get past me, I took the oportunity to spook, and headed back to the safety of my group. We continued to orbit each other loosely. A few more demure glances. Indecision. And then my friend made the let’s leave gesture, and we were gone.

I now regret this. I feel I have unfinished business. The tension remains unresolved. My mind is looking for ways to resolve it. I want to find out what I was into. Because, the truth is, I’m not often into it these days. I wish I had pulled the thread with a spirit of curiosity. Who is he? What could I have learned? Where could it have taken me? How long is the thread?

I think part of the problem is that I am many-times-burned by this inexplicable pull towards people. I don’t trust myself to handle it with grace. I love it in theory, but in practice it feels dangerous. But that was a past self, who consistently misinterpreted and overblew the pull. I have a much healthier conception of attraction at this point. I need to figure out how to exercise it because, as it is, I’m cutting off a really delightful part of life. Pulling the thread would be so much more fun than ignoring it.

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