A Short Story (Chapter Three)

I decided on the cab and spent the next 30 minutes listening to a mixture of NPR and broken English. I arrived at the airport, checked the departure board, and headed to a ticket counter to book the next flight. Three hours. Plenty of time to have a drink. I drifted through security, surprising myself while putting my shoes back on that I didn’t remember removing them in the first place.

I found the bar that had my name all over it, which means it was the first one I came to. I sat down, having already decided that I needed something stronger than a beer.

“Knob Creek on the rocks, please.”

Mya and I had not been strangers before all this happened. We’d known each other for awhile. We were friends. We made each other laugh with our shared, brilliant senses of humor that only we found funny. We were the other half when one of us needed insight on our current other halves. We had the friendship thing down.

That is, until I didn’t.

Is there really anything slow about falling in love? One day, you’re fine. The next day, good God, the next day. The only thing slow about that 24-hour period of time is counting the seconds until you see her again.

You say things you normally wouldn’t say and you make clothing choices that are inexplicable (as in, you’re wearing an outfit). You make mix tapes and buy condoms condemned to expiration in your wallet. You write letters and craft bad poems, and you talk to that one friend who will listen to your never ending speculation.

Falling in love drives you fucking crazy. Especially when the one friend who will listen is the one with whom you’re in love.

There’s part of a guy, no matter how much he thinks he wants to hear it, that is a little terrified that the girl might say, “Yes.” Even if he found the courage to approach her from across a crowded room, even if they’re making out and his hands are not discouraged from freeing buttons, even if he’s down on one knee, the repercussions of a positive answer linger. Call it situational self-doubt, call it a fear of commitment or a sense of sacrifice of the unknown, it’s always there but frequently ignored. By both parties.

On the night Mya and I first kissed, there was plenty of ignoring taking place.

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