Yesterday afternoon, just after work, I went for drinks to celebrate one the birthday of one of my colleagues. I found myself, although not for the first time in my life, surrounded by women – as they got progressively more drunk, their conversation varied from the size of their boobs to different methods of contraception.
(At one point, one of them may have had said she hasn’t had sex since December. I didn’t quite hear, but…)
While I did my ILB Thing™ of sitting quietly in the corner making no noise, I did pitch in with a few conversations (I’m not that much of a pariah), especially when the topic turned to autism management and the different ways in which people stim. More discourse happened about the way to centre yourself when you feel overwhelmed.
“I suck my thumb,” said one colleague. “I know I shouldn’t, but I do. It helps me calm down.”
“My ex used to suck her thumb,” I said without thinking. “She did it every night; I rarely saw her sleep without doing so.”
I shouldn’t have said that. Not because it wasn’t true, but because I’d forgotten it up until then.
As much as things remind me of my second girlfriend (second chronologically; I don’t have more than one girlfriend!), I do have to wonder if there’s anything that reminds her of me. I have a scarily accurate memory, so I can recall things and events from the past with some amount of detail – you’ll know this if you read my blog – but I’d forgotten about this.
I’d forgotten about this although I know so many things I shouldn’t. I know her married name and I know the name of her son. I’ve read her MA essay and even her Ph.D. thesis (I’m not acknowledged, even though we had sex on the floor while encoding some poetry readings, but then again she doesn’t mention her husband either, so…), both of which are very good. I even know where she works now and have to wonder if she is still as angry as ever.
But I’d forgotten about the thumb thing.
The seamstress used to try to justify this to me. It was a comfort thing, carried over since she was little. It happened while she was asleep and she couldn’t control it. Maybe it was a way to centre herself. It once happened when she had a cracked tooth and she couldn’t stop. Once she even told me it was because she wanted to feel like she had a cock in her mouth. The excuses kept coming, and coming, and coming…
But I didn’t care. I liked it. I thought it was cute.
In fact, I thought a lot of what she did was cute. I liked the patterns on her underwear. I liked the way she pronounced “Ph.D.”. When helping her pick a dress in the shop, I chose the one that showed off her boobs and she giggled. I liked that too. I liked how filthy her sense of humour she was and how she insisted that she used to be cool. When I noticed a chunky pair of sunglasses she had, she lent them to me and I liked that.
But I forgot about the thumb-sucking until yesterday afternoon.
And I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.
Maybe I’ll never quite move on.
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