Read Part One.
Read Part Two.
You’ve heard people say it before. We all have. You know, when you like someone, but they’re not really showing you any interest. Like, say, for instance, you somehow magically got their number and call it up one evening, inviting them to an improv show, but they say they have too much homework, and then the next day in class they don’t hand in any of their homework because they “ended up playing Mario Kart all night,” and who is this Tanner Holbeda guy that keeps showing up on her Facebook? So, even though it’s obvious, you talk to your friends and say, “what does it mean?” And they say, almost always:
“Oh, don’t get down. Just be persistent! People like to be pursued.”
If I had a penny for every time I have been told that…I’d be rolling in pennies. Like, maybe six or seven. And I’d be richer than I am now.
Have you seen The Notebook? That movie’s message is basically “if you love someone, never give up.” It’s inspiring. No one watches that movie and doesn’t feel empowered. I read a statistic once that said ninety-eight percent of men who watched The Notebook came out of the theater believing they were, in fact, Ryan Gosling. And ninety-seven percent of all women believed that Ryan Gosling was actively pursuing them.
Of course, when you’re actually Ryan “Hey Girl” Gosling, and you’ve got Nicholas “I’ve Never Written Two Different Stories” Sparks writing your script, you have that luxury. You can walk around a carnival like a belligerent fool, hang on from a Ferris wheel to force Rachel McAdams’ hand—because wooing her clearly failed—go insane and reconstruct a house for a decade, and still be considered a viable sexual candidate.
I am a living testimony to the very opposite of everyone’s advice.
The semester is coming to an end. After I learn that Tricia won’t go to improv with me because of the homework issue, I decide to take a different route. I pick up my phone again.
“Isaac,” I yell from my dorm room. Obviously, I need my RA for this.
He comes rushing in.
“I think I’m going to call Tricia again.” I said.
“Yes! Go for it!”
“Should I call her, though? Or text her?”
“Call her. It shows more confidence.”
“Right, but I’m not confident. So should I text her?”
“No, call her. She’ll think you’re confident.”
“But should I call her now or should I call her later?”
“Call her now.”
“But she might be eating dinner.”
“Then leave a message.”
“Should I call her later, then, maybe? Maybe she’d rather do homework tomorrow.”
“Call her now.”
“Right, I’ll call her now. Let’s go to Johnny’s before, though, I think.”
“Call her now.”
“What if she says no?”
“What if she doesn’t?”
“Well…she did instigate a Facebook conversation yesterday. She might say yes. I think I’ll ask her over Facebook. Ugh. Who is this Tanner Holbeda guy she and her friends keep hanging out with?”
“Okay fine. Leave for a second. And don’t listen.”
She says no. Well, I think so. Reflecting on the conversation that just ended, I’m not sure what words were said and not said. As soon as she answered blood rushed into my head, and my ears felt stuffed with cotton, and all my relevant words were somewhere not in my mind, so I said all the leftover words. Oh, goodness, what did I say?
And in that moment, a memory from the beginning of the semester surfaced. One day in class, I had turned over to her, predictably red-faced, and asked her how she was doing. She had said “good.” And I said my stock response: “Just good?” Because usually people say “fine” or “okay,” so I ask “Just okay?” to draw out a deeper response. But I had said, “just good?” It didn’t occur to me how until now, three months later, how strange a question that is. Heavens above.
Yes, she definitely said no. What did she say? What did she say? She couldn’t do homework with me…because…she wanted to focus. That was it. She needed to focus on her homework, and she works better alone.
Of course, she hadn’t done her homework the next day. Too much Mario Kart.
In response to that, I’m going to share with you a letter I just wrote to myself.
My dear, dear Past Will,
The truth is, sometimes, no matter how much you like someone, or even love someone, that person will never love you back, and you need to put your persistence to rest. Life doesn’t work like The Notebook. You are not Ryan Gosling. I know, I know. It stinks. Someone is going to have to fall in love with you the real way. Also, major pet peeve, not even Ryan Gosling’s love can cure anyone’s Alzheimer’s—that power belongs to Nicholas Sparks, and Nicholas Sparks alone.
And you drew a freaking Musclebob Spongepants on your damn notes to impress her—YOU ARE NOT A VIABLE SEXUAL CANDIDATE ANYMORE. She has too much homework she’s busy not doing.
P.S. Oh, and yes, she does marry Tanner later.
P.P.S. And you’re still awkward.
P.P.P.S And single.