“We haven’t known each other very long…” she mutters.
“So?” I remove my arm so my hands may speak together. “Why should it matter?”
“Because I don’t feel the same about you…” My breath leaves me, but my smile holds strong. “We’re friends, and you’ve become a very good friend of mine, but I just keep feeling like you want more.” Her down-turned face causes her straightened hair to cover her identity. “I just can’t give that to you, Damien! I just can’t” her head shakes as her demeanor darkens.
“I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to make things difficult…” I lie, persuading her concerned eyes to peer through her troubled façade.
“Don’t say that!” she upstarts with an apologetic expression. “I’m the one with the problem! I’m the one who should be sorry!” Emotion holds constant upon her face even as her speech breaks to silence. Still, a smile acts as the only reaction I can make. What can a man ever say to a woman whose main conviction is to fall short of ever feeling the same as he?
“Dear, you’re perfection. What could be the problem with that?” Dumbfounded, she solely stares.
“You just don’t get it.” Her blue eyes keep the dark conviction held within reality.
“No,” my head shakes as I inch off of my seat, “your denial simply stops you from understanding.” I stand up and look elsewhere. Nothing but happy couples sit amongst the seats across the rest of the restaurant. Waiters cater to their wants while exchanged smiles cater to their needs. In plain sight, one couple’s lips meet over their table while another exchanges how much they love each other. Suddenly my eyes shift back to the beauty at my table. Once more, light-brown hair covers her visage. Why must she be so difficult? “I’ll be right back,” I state in monotone.
“Okay…” she mutters miserably.
To the bathroom I flee, leaving the tortuous scene behind. My bladder is empty, but I needed some space to let my thoughts drain.
A simple twist of my wrist causes water to flow into the bathroom sink. Hands cupped, clear water fills my creative basin. After it fills half way, I drench my face before staring into the mirror in front of me. “Wake up, Damien.” The gentle words fall from my lips only to quickly strike my ears with commanding power. “She’ll never admit anything, so you’ll never know the truth. Stop dreaming that anything could ever be different!” My words shake the room and my soul alike. My eyes connect through a mirrored world and reality becomes as transparent as air.
Another twist and the water stops flowing. I exit the bathroom as the remaining liquids flee down the drain.
Once more, my eyes dash about the room. Happy couples fail to move from their delusions, so I make my way around them. Back to my booth, I sit down and stretch out my arms to take up the extra space. In my pocket, my phone vibrates, and I pull the tablet out.
“Sorry I’ve been avoiding you lately...Things just feel too awkward right now…” Alisa says through text. Only in thought could she ever truly be here. Resolute in my wants, I return the messenger to my pocket as a waitress appears at my table.
The young woman is pretty and clean, through her nose piercing activates stereotypes of something less than innocence. My first glance seems to bring a small blush to her face. “Have you decided what you want?” she asks with a genuine smile at the brightness of the sky blue notepad in her hand.
“Yeah, I have,” I respond with a similar smile. I pick up the menu next to my half-finished Coke to remind myself of the pending order. “I think I’ll take the ‘Bacon and Bleu Burger’,” she scribbles the order down, “with steak fries as a side,” she writes again, “and your phone number, if you’re single.” Those last words were meant as a light joke, emphasized by a playful wink, but her reaction is structured as nothing less than something more than the large smile she wore before. Flipping two pages in her notepad, she scribbles a quick note, tears off the page, and hands the not to me.
“I’ll put your order in ASAP,” she states with a light-hearted giggle before leaving my table-side. Unsure of what had happened, I stare a while down at the note after she left. It reads:
“It’s okay,” I type, “things will change.”
Her rejection spurs new life.