[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]
[Think of this as being the Ben equivalent of one of the times Bella completely dismisses Jessica's words as unworthy of consideration.]
It was only after the second, louder, time Jesse said my name that I realized he'd said it the first time. I tried hard not to look like a deer in headlights and figure out where we were. It didn't work. Jesse asked, "Are you ok?"
I mumbled something that was probably not convincing but was meant to indicate I was fine. I'm not good when put on the spot.
"You weren't paying attention, were you?"
"It's not that it's just..." and I really didn't know what to say, and didn't really want to talk about it anyway.
"It's just what?" he asked. His tone was one of concern, not accusation.
I looked down and sighed. "I'm not... I'm not good at following conversations. I lose track of what's being said and... the words fade into background noise and I don't realize that it's happening until I've already missed a bunch so when I do realize I'm already lost. And I can't just say, 'Hey, I have no idea what you're talking about,' because then people think I'm ignoring them and being a jerk and... stuff. So I try to catch up on my own.
"Sometimes it works, but other times I just end up missing even more in the process and I get so lost I don't even remember when I last knew what was going on and I start thinking about what I can possibly say to get out of it without letting on how little I know about what's been said, and that maybe it's obvious that I have no idea what's going on, and I wonder what people will think, and worry that maybe I'll lose all my friends, and then I'll be all alone and I don't want that but maybe it's better because I'm obviously being a terrible friend if I can't even listen right.
"And- and at that point I'm not even hearing the words anymore."
There was silence, then Jesse put a hand on my shoulder. "You know, I don't remember what I was saying either."
That got a small smile from me. I didn't want to smile, I felt like I should feel bad, but I couldn't help it.
"Next time just say something," he said. "I promise I won't get mad."
[Edith and Ben Index]