One of the other reasons I've been absent from Ye Old Blogge a lot is, frankly, I went through a rough patch where I went straight from being sick into being exhausted into being sick again, and that always makes me emo. Shockingly enough, I've actually spent a fair amount of time talking to someone because of it. Fortunately, this one's working better than my efforts at eyeballing Ricky until he starts telling me things. I'm not sure I'd cope so gracefully if everyone I tried to make friends with were that slippery.

He says he has no secrets. He also says he lies a lot. I choose to believe judiciously: So far, everything he's told me about life and events hangs together coherently enough to be true, so I assume that it is. (To be fair, if it turns out to be a load of hooey, I stand to lose nothing but the illusion of a friendship. Disappointing, but not going to ruin my life.) He suddenly turns into Obi-Wan Kenobi when I ask him how he feels about things and what he wants. What he says is mainly true, from a certain point of view, and only if I don't ask him any very pointed questions about it.

Which I do. I've also called him a liar to his face a couple of times, mainly when he claims not to have any personal investment in something, or to want nothing. You'd think this would go badly, but no; it usually results in a more thoughtful answer. Largely he seems to need reminders that it is okay to want things. This says a lot of things about his childhood, none of them really complimentary, but I digress.

The funny thing is, this all spun out of one vaguely terrible night I was having. He asked how I was and I went, "Ngrahahghg," which is usually what I do when I can't particularly explain why life sucks. He took several stabs at getting me to tell him what was wrong, which was an unexpected bout of compassion from someone whom I had not previously been aware was all that interested in my existence.

Long story short, I decided he probably did mean it, and promptly told him why I thought that, namely that his word choice had tipped me off to the fact that he also had big toothy brain weasels. As an encore, I also told him that going to all the particular effort he did to rescue someone who was only having a moderately shit time suggested that he was much worse off than he wanted anyone to notice.

Funny thing, depression -- it has its own logic. You hit a point where you start to think, "Fine, universe, you've made your point; apparently I'm not worth tending to. But I'll be damned if I let anyone else suffer in silence." I've found myself doing it before, and I've gotten very good at recognizing it in others. People who are happy and just know how to deal with depressives are usually pretty chill, and careful not to apply any pressure. People who are fucking miserable and want to save you from same get just a leetle more urgent.

I spent most of a week telling him about the insides of my own brain. Then when he didn't share much, I told him a lot about the insides of his brain, which I am given to understand was kind of frighteningly accurate. Eventually, I pointed out that this would go more smoothly if he didn't make me hold up both ends of the conversation by myself. It took me quite a while to convince him that I wasn't going to fuck off again once I'd chipped my way through to the really interesting information. He tried to take it as a game at first, to the point of trying to dole out minimal information as a reward for correct deductions -- which was itself interesting, as it suggests that he wanted to hold my attention and approval enough that he was willing to forego any actual connection in order to keep me talking to him. Interesting, and really heartbreaking, if I think about it too long.

He keeps telling me that he doesn't mind being a Rubik's Cube, like he thinks if he can convince me he's serious I'll break down and admit that's what he is. He isn't; no one is. I like having the ability to figure people out because it means I can communicate with them the way I couldn't when I was a clueless, screwed-up kid, and I do it constantly because it doesn't really have an off switch. The more attention I pay to you, the more I'll eventually put together. I have a suspicion he's half-hoping I will tell him he's just a jigsaw puzzle, because he's much better able to wrap his head around being used for entertainment than the idea that he's an interesting human being and I like being friends with him. I don't particularly think I'm going to fix this issue for him, but I'm also not going to change my opinion just because I have to reiterate it on a regular basis. Lord knows I've done it to other people often enough.

I'm not going to repeat the interesting information here. He may think he has no secrets, but I think that I have ethics. Suffice it to say that it's the sort of thing that probably did really piss a lot of people off at the time, but for which he feels disproportionate guilt. If he didn't seem much too jaded for church, I'd pick on him for edging into a case of scruples.

Perhaps the most interesting thing he's done -- far more so than any of the things he feels awkward or penitent about -- is that he's started to mirror me. Mirroring is a vital part of most social transactions, to the point where if the other participants in the interaction are not mirroring social gestures like smiles or facial expressions, most ordinary people will be very unnerved. He's started trying to mirror my communication style, which is probably novel for both of us. I'm so quick at deciphering everyone else's idiolects that nobody ever bothers to learn mine; he seems generally unused to dealing with someone who emphatically does want to be told 'no' or 'not now' or 'I don't want to tell you that' if that is in fact how he feels. He's good at the observation and the deduction, and novice-lousy at putting them into words for people who don't live in his head with him, but he is trying nonetheless.

I assume it's intentional. Every time he says something about Rubik's Cubes, I re-explain that the reason I keep reading aloud from the Top Secret lobe of his brain is because I want him to realize I'm paying enough attention to notice, and I only pay that much attention because I care. If he doesn't have any previous references for dealing with someone who works like me, and I'm betting he doesn't, the best way to establish communication down in the subtitles is to take whatever I'm doing to him and assume I'll understand it has the same meaning when he uses it on me. He's normally very erudite, but runs into instances of 'stupid brain no word good' when trying to articulate feelings. I find it endearing that he's even making the effort.