Here we go, day nine's assignment:
A drizzly rain forced Hannah and I back to her aunt's house an hour after we left for the pier. As we ran through the rain, I pulled up game booth guy's face. I wish I had the nerve to talk to him, to ask his name or number or something.
But that was me, chicken shit Connie.
Hannah reached the stairs first and bound up them, stopping at the top she peered down at me. "What's wrong?" she asks.
"Nothing," I reply, slowly ascending the stairs.
"Liar," Hannah accuses.
"Okay, okay," I say relenting. "The guy at that booth, the one with the milk jugs, remember?"
Hannah nods. "What about him?"
For a moment, I feel foolish and say, "Nothing."
Hannah stares at me dubiously then shrugs. "Whatever. I'm beat, let's head to bed."
I nod my agreement and we slip silently into the sleeping house. Bypassing the shower, I slipped my damp shirt over my head and shimmied out of my shorts, hanging both over the shower curtain.
Pulling on an old, oversized tee shirt I climb into my bed and turn my iPod on, allowing the rush of music to pound against my eardrums so it can whisk away all the incoherent thoughts bouncing around inside my skull.
In my head, the words melt together and William’s face came to mind as the tingle or jolt or whatever you want to call it washed over my nerve endings for the thousandth time this evening. William never made me feel that way. He was as comfortable as a holey pair of sweatpants and who wanted comfort? Not me, that was for sure. I wanted excitement and unpredictability.
I wanted to wake up each day and not know what was in store, not wake up to face the same routine day after day until it became so mundane that I went absolutely stir crazy.
I think back to the day I told William I was going to Seaside for two weeks. He angrily slammed his fist into the table and with a trembling voice said through gritted teeth, “We were supposed to go to San Francisco to see my brother, remember?”
I remembered, but I really did not want to go to San Francisco with William. I love William’s brother to death – he’s funny, vivacious, and flamboyantly gay, but he’s so…alive. It almost makes me wish he were straight because I could definitely see myself loving a man like that until the day I die. He is literally everything William is not. Instead of telling William this, I gently set my fork down on the edge of my plate and said in an even tone, “I do not wish to go to San Francisco. I am going to Seaside with Hannah and that’s pretty much all there is to it.”
William’s lips moved however, the only sound to escape was an incomprehensible sputtering. I picked my fork up and dipped the tongs into the caramel drizzled piece of cheesecake that was as close to heaven as I’d ever get and broke a piece off.
That was the first and last time we spoke of our plans for spring break. The morning we left, William knocked on the dorm room door and bade me farewell and best wishes for an enjoyable trip. I thanked him, dropping a stiff kiss on his cheek and that was the end of it.
Once more, my thoughts drifted to game booth guy. Find out who he is, my subconscious urges. Go to the pier tomorrow and introduce yourself.
I smile in agreement. It sounds like a good plan, I think. I think I’ll just have to do that.