I’m emotionally unavailable!” he announced – nay – cried to the bar.

Only a few people let the emphatic exclamation interrupt their drinking and revelry.  I was one of them.  In the following moments, as I feigned a general preoccupation with the ice cubes in my glass, I considered everything that statement did and did not mean to me.

a)  Many people are emotionally unavailable.  Most of them are aware of that fact.  Very few of them, however, willingly fess up to it.

b)  Probably only one of those few who do openly admit to that will do so as a proclamation to a group of relative strangers and a girl who, a long time ago, perhaps evoked some of those unavailable emotions.  Lucky me: I found him.

c)  Often times, emotionally unavailable folk fall into two categories:  those for whom the availability issue is a subconscious, involuntary result of some former pain or vulnerability, and those for whom it is a very deliberate decision, deployed to protect themselves from some anticipated but usually false threat of attachment.  I can say this because for most of my life, I fell into the latter category while pretending that I was in the former.  Given that, it certainly seemed to me that my vociferous friend at the bar also fell into the second category, which, it certainly seemed to me, meant that his unavailability was a choice he made, and rather happily clung to.  Without trying to demean any previous heartache the poor guy may have suffered, I was disappointed that he was taking a rather wussy way out.

d)  “Well, then,” I thought to myself, as I turned my attention to the stirrer that was doing laps around my gin and tonic.  “That’s that.  Pack up and go home, there’s nothing for you here.”  I sighed the sigh of another firmly chapter closed, until – wait just a second!  ¡#%$&@!!!  I was never really interested in this guy’s emotions!  From the get-go, if there was one thing present between us at all, emotions was not that thing.  As far as I was concerned, his emotions could stay hidden under years and years worth of buried treasure.  This is what made the whole affair newsworthy, and oh-so-not me.  He could take out a billboard over the BQE declaring his emotional inaccessibility and nothing would change.  My interest in him had nothing to do with whatever emotions he was or was not putting out; it simply had to do with, well, putting out.  Ha-HA, I said to his outburst; you mean nothing to me.

I couldn’t help but smile.  Who can say for whose ears his comment was truly intended, or how many years of therapy it might take this hapless soul to recover his emotions.  The chapter is certainly still closed, but bookmarked.  His enthusiastic random interjection has been logged, an entertaining footnote to an already lengthy epilogue.  But why stop now? I thought.  I ordered another round.