Wow, I thought I was about through with high school stuff. Still, here I am, all in a twist because I want to be friends with someone more than she wants to be friends with me.

I guess in the old days I would have put on the Tough Act and drank a few extra beers in her name, but now in my life of tender-skinned sobriety I have to bear the unpleasant consequences of actually feeling what I feel. In this case, I feel rejected and lonely and like that uncool fifth grader who hangs at the edges of crowds, laughing at all the wrong times.

Not that it's her fault. People like who they like. But the capper was today when Said Person came breezing in to work with a Valentine's gift for the other person in the room, and barely a hi-de-ho to me. It just hurt my damn feelings, that's all.

Later she followed me into the break room and asked me if anything was wrong, which was a mistake. Sensing a temporary upper hand, I collapsed into the ultimate high-school comeback: What do you care? I said.

Turns out she cares. That she didn't want to hurt me. But it doesn't change the bald fact that she's just not particularly motivated to be my friend. Not that she said this, but it's the things you don't say that give that one away. So our conversation was brief and hurt and afterwards I think we both felt sort of wounded and out of place.

It reminds me of the delicate nature of relationships, the see-saw which, by adulthood, we have mainly learned to ride. Every now and then, though, I still get bumped off. And it sucks.

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