February 15, 2009

Conversation and Hearts

This is how it was supposed to go. Let me paint the picture.

Three single girls downtown are wearing heels and heart necklaces. They look amazing. There are drinks with cherries floating delicately on top. The dim light from the bar full of colored bottles illuminates little sparkles on their clothes, making their dresses almost technicolor in a soft, hazy way. They talk, they laugh, and watch as people around them get more tipsy, louder, and collapse into booths with the help of friends. Their glasses are clinking in a toast to being single. They walk across the quiet street into the next crowded spot. Heads turn and hearts race. They sit at a tall round table, legs dangling like little kids on a swing set. They order more, they talk more, and they laugh more. There is a good view from the street outside to watch the busy nightlife stumble in and out. From here, they can see men in suits, women with carnations, and lots of couples with arms intertwined. Someone walks up to their table, shakes hands slowly, and kisses each of them. They are leaving the bar that night content, even happy on this Valentine's day.

Most of it happened exactly this way. But a few details were left out...like these girls seeing boys they didn't want to see, that brought back memories and feelings of things that should not have happened. They checked their clutches every few minutes in the hope that a text message would remind them of someone thinking about them, missing them. In between the laughter and inside jokes were almost palpable silences, dreaming of being with the one they care about being ready to finally see what is happening to the thumping, red mass inside their chest. These thoughts weren't said aloud or admitted, not even to themselves. But they were there. They are always there.

When I got home, I took off the shoes that were much too tall, and slipped off the dress that I'd worn once before- with him. I thought about the places we'd been together. I remembered things that he had told me, phrases I took home to unwrap slowly and study carefully, dissecting every meaning and every angle of a word. I replayed the few months we've known each other, from that first week celebrating his birthday dressed up and shy to the last time we were together, when a silly move to stand right next to him and look into his eyes turned into a moment of confusion and want. I had convinced myself a couple weeks ago that not being with him is okay. It isn't. The most frightening part is knowing that my feelings have to die at some point, because we won't ever be really 'together'. We can't seem to move past what we are now, which leaves me as no more than an afterthought. I am starting to be scared of how much I feel. I miss him more than I care to admit.

One of those girls last night was me. Did you see me there? I was the one in the pale dress on a wooden bar stool, unable to suppress the thoughts of him, the way he makes my heart race, or the way his skin feels against me. Surrounded by good friends, in a bar so crowded people brushed past us constantly, I just wanted to feel his kiss. I'm not so brave after all.

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