I wrote this in church (ironically? I think it’s a weak case for ironic) on a spare piece of paper.
“Can I have your phone number?”
“Yeah sure!” (no, no?)
More small talk while she enters it, presses the wrong buttons twice because she’s not concentrating right. Press the right ones finally, his phone screen is cracked – she makes a self-depreciating joke how she’s surprised her own isn’t shattered into tiny pieces already.
By that she means she’s clumsy but doesn’t know if that comes across to him because they just met and he doesn’t know anything about all her twists and secrets
but he laughs a little because maybe he likes self-depreciating, clumsy, because they just talked for an hour and she thinks he must
Unless he’s doing the same thing that she does, over and over.
Can I have your number?
No no, no no no YES because she wants him to like her, collecting numbers, little hearts into her skinny unshattered phone to try to mend her heart which is in fact
She’d be wearing her heart on her sleeve, in her hand, if her phone was cracked.
The lights in the house are low but they are outside, it’s hot, the sky is a blanket. She was leaning on the hood of a silver sports car until the alarm went off on the one next to it and their feet brushed together, he said
no, she’s sorry because not only does she want him to like her, she wants him to like her more than she likes him. She wants him to want her, when they go inside to sit on the couch with the really thick pillows so they have to sit on the edge, she hopes she doesn’t imagine his eyes flick to the staircase where
other people have climbed two by two tonight.
She wants him to want to climb that staircase too – she wants him to want her like a criminal on the run, upstairs slow then fast, if that’s how he likes it, pressing up against her, hands, body, the wall against her back. She wants him to lose control, not because he wants to but because he can’t help it.
Maybe they both want that, but they sit there like two civilized people pretending they are talking about their hometowns and favorite books, like there isn’t an undercurrent pulling them down.
She wants him to be wowed by her down to earth personality, she says she likes bars too because that’s what he says, but truth is she’s been to about five bars in her life so far and one time a guy in a yellow t-shirt spilled beer all over her best friend’s black dress.
But no to him she is that cool girl, the one like no girl he’s never met before that he’ll be sitting there composing text messages to in his head for days to come, she hopes
He says something about how that’s impressive, and she checks off another box inside her head.
Three days later when that message finally comes – good for him, following the rules – well, the game is up, over. She does it over and over, this game, and she did it again. And it might be over, but she doesn’t know if she won or lost.