By Miguel Asistio |
Living alone didn’t present much opportunity for socializing, but for me it didn’t matter. A crummy single-room apartment and barely making money to pay the rent was more than enough on my mind than making friends. I didn’t want to drag anyone down with my problems, seeing as I was keeping all my emotions inside all the time, I would feel like giving the chance to socialize will just turn into a glorified, one-man pity party.
I never found the urge to talk to anyone I saw outside before since I moved out, until I saw this girl walking her dog. I didn’t think that the girl nor the dog was anything special then, but something awakened inside me. She was always someone that I could see from the corner of my eye, but even from that little corner, it was enough to make me look. During the Christmas season, I saw walk her dog. During the New Year season, I saw her walk her dog. It was a pattern and I was beginning to notice it as much as I noticed her.
She actually looked amazing, and words would always get trapped in between my lips. I had always wanted to blurt out a hello, a greeting, anything. I wanted to stub my toe so I would find a reason to yell something incoherent, and she’d be forced to look at me, and best tend at me. I felt like I was desperate for attention. Her, lone, undivided attention.
As time went on, her slight gazes were enough to hypnotize me. Her every move was enough to captivate me. Whenever I tried approaching her, my feet would freeze, leaving me unable to move. When I try calling her name, my throat would get clogged up, leaving me with nothing to say. I would observe her, watch her every move. She was someone different enough and it wasn’t long until she caught my heart, and we barely even knew each other!
What if I sang her a song? But I didn’t even know her taste in music! I’ve never seen her with earphones on anywhere. I wonder what music she listens to? I don’t think she listens to the Bouncing Souls. What movies or TV shows does she watch? What’s her favorite food? What is she like?
… is she everything I’ve ever hoped to be?
I decided to man up, and all insecurities aside, I approached her one fateful Friday as she was all alone sitting in the park bench, reading a book. The soft wind was blowing through her brown hair which reached to her waist. The look in her eyes, I could tell she was very interested in what she was reading. Her eyes flickered quickly from left to right, with the occasional slight nudge of the finger onto the bridge of her thick-rimmed glasses. The fact that she wasn’t holding a smart phone was enough to win me over. She was different enough in that regard.
I sighed heavily, she was truly an angel. “I think nothing would ever make me love her less.” I said to myself. I sat beside her, a few inches’ distance, and watched her as she turned a page. I could’ve sat here in this spot and watched her forever if she’d allowed me to. God, this is all so cheesy but I’ve never really felt this way about anyone before. It’s amazing how a girl I barely know could make me feel this way.
She’s really something, I told myself. I took glances all over the park, the trees, the people, the color. Anything to find something to talk about. After all, the girl was reading To Kill A Mockingbird. I could’ve started the conversation by the news about the author making a sequel, but I felt it would be too obvious. I sucked in air in between my teeth as I started feeling warm. I honestly was afraid of talking to her. I’ve never been this afraid of anything else. I knew this wasn’t being afraid out of fear, though. This was being afraid out of doubt.
I managed to steal what seemed like a millisecond of a look at her I.D. card that dangled to the side. I wasn’t able to make out the rest of her name, except for her first name which started with an M. I wasn’t able to get anything else as her picture was what took my attention.
I’d be damned if I was walking away a disappointed man today, disappointed at myself. I took a deep breath, and gathering all the courage I had in this fragile shell of a man, I said “Hi.”
My voice cracked at the utterance of the greeting.
There was a silence. She didn’t respond. I coughed to break the uneasy silence, and tried saying it again.
A little fazed, she looks at me, and smiled at me radiantly, showing her shining teeth. She placed her book in her lap and her hands moved near her forehead to form a slight salute.
“Um, how are you doing?”
She then opened her hand, with all fingers stretched out and shakes them with her thumb facing her chest.
“I feel fine too.” I tell her.
She can lip-read.
I take a deep sigh, knowing what was going on now. This was the perfect time. I point to my chest several times, then pounding it. I then flash my hand to her, with the middle and ring fingers bent down, and then I point to her.
“I love you.” was all I could say.