You look around.
"Yeah, you. Is that so hard to believe? Or is it just distasteful to you?"
You shake your head.
"Don’t worry. I’m not asking you for anything."
"Really! I’m not. Nor am I expecting anything. I’m no fool!"
You gaze at me silently.
"You always were the quiet one. And you know what they say, don’t you?"
Your smile is wider this time.
"Yes. Silent river runs deep. I just wish I knew what you were thinking!"
You raise the drink to your lips and sip.
"I guess it doesn’t matter, though. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s not about me."
You throw back your head and laugh.
A bell jangles somewhere, and I blink. Shit! This is getting worse and worse. I cannot keep doing this. Making up one-sided conversations between me and you, the man I’ve been crushing on this whole year is not the way to win friends and influence people. Nor you, for that matter. Especially since you don’t even know I exist. None of those gestures or smiles were even aimed at me, for goodness sake! These people must think I’m crazy! It’s a wonder they haven’t called the insane asylum to come get me already.
I turn my eyes back to where you’re sitting with your friend. He says something to you, and you laugh again, and turn your head. Our eyes meet for the first time in recorded history. I gape like a fool, and then you break the contact. You call for the bill. I ease myself out of the booth I am sitting in, and hurry to pay for my own meal. This first real contact has rattled me. Rushing by your table, my head in a whirl, my eyes focused on the cash register, I fail to see you check me out.
Maybe I need to stop coming here for lunch, I think, as I rush out to my car. I can bring a salad or a sandwich with me. Or go to MacDonald’s. I don’t need to eat at a fancy eatery. It’s not like we know each other, and now that you’ve seen me, if I show up tomorrow, it’ll look like I’m stalking you. I ignore the voice that asks “Well, aren’t you?” Shut up, I tell myself. Just shut up!
"You dropped this," it says.
I turn around, startled, to see who is speaking. You’re standing there with a slip of paper in your hand. I look around.
"Yeah…you," you say.