I wonder if there’s a word in a language to describe that uniquely torturous experience of mingling at a party with a drink in hand, gulping it down at an alarming speed, body weight to alcohol ratio be damned, spitting out a sentence or two but with a dawning acceptance that this conversation cannot be salvaged and thus you nod jerkily at each other to acknowledge its inevitable death, maybe emit a few more empty pleasantries of promising to “catch up soon” that are not meant to be followed up on, before you each pivot on heel to avert your eyes from this catastrophic carcass of a conversation and move speedily in opposite directions, relief flooding from every oily pore of your body, a now-empty glass still gripped in hand. A word that ends in a soft pffftt sound, not unlike the sensation of a leaking helium balloon that shrivels until it collapses in a grateful, pathetic heap upon the ground.
Or a word that describes the blood rushing to your face but thankfully cannot be discerned because of the deep natural tan of your skin, when you raise a hand to wave back at somebody who waved at you, but realize belatedly that they’re waving to somebody behind you, and so you freeze, hand still suspended in mid-air, before your motor cortex finally snaps to attention and your hand regains the beauty of movement again, but several moments too late, brushes a strand of hair behind your ear or scratches your head like a puzzled monkey picking at fleas, all the while rearranging your facial features into an expression of blank nonchalance, miming your humiliation away.
A word is urgently required too, to describe that happy occasion when you find yourself coincidentally sat two tables across from somebody you haven’t seen in years during lunch, and internally debating whether you should walk over to their table and hover awkwardly above them like an unwanted ghost, or alternatively shout their name and perform the old nod-and-wave combo, and you opt instead to ogle at them subtly between bites of your meal, your vision partly obscured now by a large man occupying the seat in front of you, gripped by a terrible hope that they have also silently noted your presence and will relay this encounter to their best friend, i.e. the idiot dick who stomped all over your heart, who will subsequently be filled with nostalgic pangs of immense longing and regret and ping you an eloquently worded essay in the wee hours of the morning that describes said feelings in detail and begs for your forgiveness, paragraphs and paragraphs of absolutely quality stuff, but which you will never actually receive because you have blocked his social media on all accounts, a step that advice columns alternatively describe as “extreme” or applaud, because how else can you move on?
I can’t find a word either, that fully encapsulates the feelings of pulsing glee as you clear out your locker and draft a cheery goodbye email that you will BCC to the whole company (instead of individual email addresses) because you are an obnoxious, lazy bitch like that, and the adrenaline positively whirling, gurgling even, in the pit of your stomach as you break the news to your superiors and submit your leave of notice, or maybe it’s just because coffee is a natural laxative and you just finished guzzling a grande iced caramel latte, 70% of which is composed of milk and come to think of it, you’re actually kind of lactose intolerant too, on account of your Asian ethnicity and your people’s relative lack of history with dairy products.
And how about a word for that feeling that simply washes over you when you look into the mirror and observe that you bear a rather striking resemblance to an electrocuted poodle, but cannot change hairdressers because you’ve been going to her for five years now, even after you’ve moved out of your parents’ and into your own apartment, thank god, riding public transport for 40 minutes just to get your hair cut as opposed to the 15 minutes that it used to take to walk from your parents’ to the hair salon, because that is akin to cheating on a romantic partner and you are bound to each other for life now, but you still look like a fucking poodle.
Such are the complicated bundle of feelings I am feeling these days, each without a spiffy, one-word term to describe them.