“Self-revelation is a cruel process. The real picture, the real ”you” never emerges. Looking for it is as bewildering as trying to know how you really look. Ten different mirrors show you ten different faces.” – Shashi Deshpande 1938-, Indian Author

Matt stood against the wall outside his apartment. It was Saturday afternoon and Veronica was coming to pick him up. Matt has so much running through his head, his friend Chad had mentioned something disturbing. That perhaps Matt’s friend Jason wanted to go out with Veronica. Chad has said it was just a feeling he had, but to Matt it seemed to be more then a feeling, almost a warning.

Matt paced back and forth, the wind was cool but he was cold. His anxiety was riding high. He smiled as he could almost hear Rick’s voice saying to just chill out and everything would be fine. Rick had taken the car out to see his girlfriend, or ex girl…it depended on the day of the week. Rick saw a car turn and he recognized it as Veronica.

“Hop in; I got an errand to do before we go to the coffee shop. Is that cool?” Veronica asked moving magazines off the passenger seat.

“Yeah, no problem.” Matt said sitting down and taking a deep breath, closed the door. Matt felt almost trapped in his decision. In his head he knew this wasn’t a big deal, but in his heart he hoped it was. They drove off as Veronica turned on the radio softly.

“So, what is this big talk about, I admit I was quite curious, you’re not exactly the talking type.” Veronica smiled looking at him fidget.

“No, I’m not but you have told me before that I should open up more and I can’t think of anyone else I can open up with besides you.” Matt said looking her in the eye.

They drove down to the site of her new job. She had to turn in some personal information. It only took a minute as she hurried back in the car. Starting it up they began to drive off.

“I think its time you knew the real me. You asked me once why I was so cold and distant. In my life I have always been filled with a sort of self doubt. From time to time I didn’t even know what I wanted in life, or even who I wanted in my life.” Matt stopped. He didn’t know how to go on, this was harder then he had thought.

The pulled into the parking area and got out. They both walked to the various tables and benches that adorned the area. A large fountain spewed forth water, as children played. The bright sun filling a clear sky, Matt thought it was a good sign to clear the air.

“So, I still don’t understand exactly what you want.” Veronica smiled as they sat down across from one another.

“When I was young, hell until high school I was unnaturally small for my age. You know how kids are, they pick on something that is weaker then they are. That is not what hurt the most. It’s when your parents pick on you about it. They later told me it was to toughen me up. I never really forgave them for that. In fact they pushed me so hard that I took growth hormone. Actually it’s called Testosterone Booster Shots. It’s to kick start puberty, which I was unnaturally late for. Unfortunately, it is also an accelerated puberty. In a year I felt what for most people takes four years.” Matt looked away. This was almost embarrassing, actually take almost out of it and that’s exactly how it felt.

“Matt, why does that make you, you?” Veronica asked confusion in her voice.

“You get hit by so many emotional extremes; it’s hard to deal with. So I shut them down, or covered them up. It was the only way I was able to deal with day to day life. Luckily I only needed three shots. Unluckily it meant I would go through two puberty’s. I had one in my senior year of high school. Talk about a great bookend.” Matt smiled trying to make a joke. Veronica smiled back.

“I’ve known Jason, Chad and Terry for years. I didn’t have a problem making friends. It was the opposite sex that eluded me, though they said I was quite popular with the girls. One girl, named Courtney, well…” Matt breathed.

“I knew Courtney from my chemistry class. We were friendly but I didn’t suspect anything else. Actually I wasn’t even attracted to her. I was invited to a party, and you know how I loathe those, and we struck up conversation. I ask her a question about if she liked anyone, and she asked me if ‘isn’t it obvious?’ Naturally I was dumbfounded until she sat up and kissed me. Deeply. I freaked out.” Matt smiled and shook his head.

“Why did you freak out, I mean, she liked you right?”

“Well I didn’t know she felt that way. Then a lot of people came to me and told me she was telling everyone about this huge crush she had on me…blah blah blah. So I found her and we talked. We even ended the night with a small dance. It was beautiful Veronica. I didn’t hear the music; I just saw her eyes look at me. They were a light blue, and they looked at me with such…warmth and love it took my breath away. By the end of the night, I had fallen for her.”

“What happened?”

“We went out for years; in fact we went to the same college for awhile. Then she decided we had different futures and broke it off with me on the phone. She moved to San Diego and told me not to follow her that I needed to move on.” Matt fell silent remembering the phone call, how he felt a both a pit in his chest and a hand on his heart squeezing it with anger.

“I…I’m sorry, I had no idea.” Veronica got up and gave him Matt a hug. Matt looked up into her eyes.

“No one did. I usually passed it off as nothing. But, I couldn’t seem to dig myself out of the pit. Even when I met you and felt the same things, it didn’t bring me up, it pushed me further down. My friends didn’t seem to notice that I was different, lackluster. I sat on the couch whenever I came over not really doing anything. They simply wanted me there and I was so…”

“So that’s why they act weird now that you don’t come over as often.” Veronica nodded her head.

“Yeah, they want the old me, the one who would sit and listen and complacently nod his head to what they said or wanted to do. This last year though, it was like someone had thrown me a rope. It was like I woke up from a dream. I shaved my beard and cut my hair. I got back into my work, but something was wrong.”

“What was that?”

“You, I couldn’t get over you. No matter how hard I tried to just be friends, or leave you alone, or not feel…it didn’t work. So I broke off contact without telling you. I didn’t think I had any other choice, and I didn’t think you would understand.”

“I…understand what you mean, but I wish you had talked to me.” She looked at him as he looked back at her, and for a moment they stared at each other.

“So recently you got back in touch. I thought I was over you until Lisa told me about you and Robert. Then the old feelings came back. I asked Lisa out to try to mask those feelings, to replace them with feelings that someone also felt for me. Hell I slept with Lisa twice to find some value in my feelings, to erase my feelings for you and not feel so…inadequate.”

“Inadequate?”

“When you went out with Robert, and I found out that Chad had set you up, I wondered what was so wrong with me that you and I could never be given a chance. My best friend set you up with another guy, but he told me I had no chance.” Matt looked down and breathed deep.

“I can understand how that could hurt. I knew you slept with her when you avoided answering my question about it. I’m sorry for your loss, making love should be about love, not trying to find it or replace it. That’s why people wait until their married.”

“I knew how you felt about sex before marriage and I didn’t want to lose you as a friend after just getting your friendship back. Though I was angry about how you judged Lisa without ever actually meeting her and you judged me for being with her.” Matt looked back up. “So that’s my story, opening up for you. Just me the scientist, not some martial artist or wrestler, just a normal guy with a lot of pent up emotion inside him.”

“Why don’t you just find a way to vent it?”

“I can’t. I try to but I can’t. You know how people daydream, fantasies and such. When I think…Veronica I have a question to ask and I want to know it before I go on.”

“Sure, what is it.?” Veronica shifted in her seat nervously.

“When you said you would have gone out with me except for unspoken circumstances, what did you mean?”

“Oh, it simply meant I knew that you weren’t right for me and I wasn’t right for you.”

“Do you still feel that way?” Matt tensed at the question.

“Yes.”

Matt felt in his chest the squeeze on his heart. He felt warmness in the back of his eyes as eh voice choked out a response.

“Oh, ok never mind what I was going to say then.”

“Matt, are you alright.” Matt looked down and breathed in. The pain and warmness was there but he could hold it in…just a little bit longer.

“Perfectly fine. I heard a rumor that Jason liked you.”

“Yeah, you know I have always liked him but I am a traditionalist, so I want a guy to ask me, I would get too nervous to ask a guy.” Veronica said casting her eyes nervously down.

“Would you go out with him if he asked?”

“Yes, would you be alright?” Veronica asked looking up to Matt’s eyes. Matt looked into her eyes, and saw what he had fallen in love with years ago.

“Would it really matter if I was alright or not?” Matt asked, his voice choked with emotion but his anger making it steady.

“If you mean ‘would you still go out with him’, yes I would but I want to know if you would be alright.” Veronica said.

“I’ll be fine.” Matt said, as an icy cold rain through him. This is the woman he had cared for. She didn’t give a damn about him, but he still couldn’t raise his voice in anger…looking at her melted his fury.

“Come on lets get some food.” Matt continued while getting up, and walking to the restaurant. His body felt numb, hard to walk, but he wouldn’t show that to her. It had been a mistake to open up to her. He had thought her to be the best of friend, now he wondered if she ever was. They ate together talking small talk, Matt remained rather distant. As they walked to the car Matt stopped.

“I…I think I am going to walk home.” Matt said getting his stuff from the car.

“Are you sure, it’s about 2 miles and its getting dark.”

“I’ll be fine, have a good night Veronica.” Matt turned to walk away.

“Matt, I don’t like how this is ending, are you sure your ok?” Veronica reached to give him a hug, Matt stepped back.

“As I said, I’ll be fine. I need to be alone to think and the night air will do me some good.” Matt turned and walked away. Veronica watched him for a bit and then got in her car and drove off. Matt watched the car leave as he felt the tears come down his face…and rising feeling in his chest that hurt. A feeling he was familiar with. Slinging his hand back over his shoulder he began his walk home. Later, Matt made it home and Rick was there. Matt was in no mood to talk, but Rick insisted.

“Come on man, tell me what happened.” Rick sat Matt down; Matt looked him in the eyes.

“She basically wants to be friends, wants me to be friends and wants me to accept if she goes out with my best friend.” Matt said putting his head in his hands.

“Are you going to be ok, want me to spend the night?”

“No, I really want to be alone right now.” Matt said. Rick nodded and left.

Matt lay on the couch, His mind drifted as he imagined he was with Veronica. Her hand within his. The image provoked a furious frustration to grip him as Matt punched the couch. Another image went into his mind, of her kissing him as they parted ways. An ache gripped his chest. The ache metamorphosised into a weight, a great weight of sadness that hung onto him like lead. It weighed him down with pain and suffering. His eyes welled with tears of sadness and frustration. She gave his friends chances that she would NEVER give him.

The weight sagged on him so he couldn’t breathe. He said her name but she wasn’t there to alleviate the pain. She had caused this pain to envelop him, like a lead blanket. He fell to his knees and then to the ground. The weight was too much fro him to bear. His tears of frustration falling down more rapidly, the images still came into his mind. Why wouldn’t they stop, he asked himself. What was so wrong with him that he wasn’t as good as his friends?

Finally an image hit his brain. The image was Jason and Veronica together talking and as he approached they didn’t notice him and kissed. When they separated they saw him and felt ashamed. Matt rolled over on the ground, the weight killing him, the pain of rejection killing him more then when Meagan left him. As the pain continued to wear at him, he looked up at the ceiling through the darkness and shouted…

“Make it STOP!

“Resentment, anger, frustration, worry, disappointment-negative emotional states, justified or not, take a toll on your heart, brain and body. Don’t let justified emotions rob your health and well-being.” – Doc Childre and Howard Martin, HeartMath Solution

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