Left. Turn. Right. Turn. Up. Back down. Turn right again. Turn back left. Grumble. Up. And this time, stay up.
Rub. Continue rubbing. Open. Check. Put down. Walk. Fumble. Turn on. Clean. Turn off. Get out. Wipe. Change. Wear. Lock. Walk. Continue walking. Music on. Tap. Board. Wait. Bop. Get off. Walk. Wait. Board. Sit. Turn.
Your eyes shift among the packed bus. Scanning to find the one face that got you tossing and turning over bed this morning. That’s the face.
Pounding. In your head, chest and wrists. 120bpm? Was it the song? You suppose it was (it really wasn’t). The face turns in your direction. Look away, quick! Sneak a glance. Don’t be an idiot, stop looking at him! Shift eyes. It really is him.
You’ve played out this scene in your head for as long as you can remember. You swore to yourself the next time this face appeared near you, you would say hello and introduce yourself. You swore, the next time those eyes turn in your direction — you will smile at it.
But no. Did you know how scared you were?
Walking. Talking. Laughing friends. Continue walking. Shops, lots of shops. People. Lots of people. Beer place? Eyes shift. Turn left. Looks into beer place. SHIT. Panic. 120bpm again. Maybe even more. Is it really him? Eyes slowly shifts again. SMILE YOU IDIOT, SMILE. He looks out in your direction. AT LEAST GIVE HIM A WAVE JESUS CHRIST. Face instinctively turns away. Quickens pace. Pretends to be deep into conversation with friend. Still 120bpm. Walks past. There goes your chance. Instant regret.
It’s been 5 years. All that admiration has gone to waste. The universe gave you another chance with him going to the same school. But no. That’s all you were capable of. You begin to feel useless. It’s your final year, while that face still has a couple more.
Will there be a next time? Hopes even more. Even if there is, what makes you think you’ll act differently? Disheartened. Accepts what is.
And that was what went down in my head whenever I saw him.