"You are fucking this conversation up," it announces "don't say that; Stop talking," my brain races ahead of my voice with admonishments to words I haven't even produced.
After we speak, there is dull panic; there is shame. I can't comprehend what went wrong. I replay the conversation, always my part first, or rather what I remember over the dull, self-judgmental roar in my head. I don't remember much of what you said, but I know your responses were crisp, clean, and logical. I know it without having listened to them, because everyone knows how to do this but me... and I can't interpret your body language. Why do your eyebrows do that? Why do you square your hips that way? I try to work you out like you are a puzzle and not a client, a bank-teller, a cashier, or a random stranger. I am in a cold sweat over the thirty second interlude where you asked me for the time and I apologized over not having a watch. I am painfully aware of the social script, to seem normal, to seem like I can be around other people and function. Maintain the illusion... get home where it is safe.