My hand skids across the table to reach my phone and I hit the home button to know how late it is. I often forget that I wear a watch and I always use my phone to tell time.
My phone home screen reads 10:43pm. It’s been almost three hours, I think to myself. I can barely feel my hands; it is freezing in here and I am not dressed properly for this weather. I look across the table and I see her, with her captivating sleepy eyes, puffing smoke gently while throwing an aimless look at the wall behind me.
I look across the room and I see a couple embracing each other like the two hydrogen atoms in water, inseparable and co-dependent, and laughing their heads off. Lucky them.
“Have you heard of Alexithymia before?” she asks.
“No,” I respond.
“It’s some sort a disorder where a person is entirely unable to express emotions. It’s not that they don’t feel them but it’s like the wires between their hearts and face are completely messed up.”
The silence lands at our table again. I observe the square food plates in front of me and realise they are not perfectly aligned with the tiles of the table. How inconvenient!
I automatically adjust them to align with the tiles direction. My eyes crawl back up to her face; it is a realm of beauty. It has been years and she has grown gracefully. We have been friends before her face decided to be that symmetrical. Now she’s a Greek nymph with an enchanting voice and a troubled existence that gives the gods of Olympia a pleasantly unsettling feeling.
“Are you happy with your life?” I ask her.
“Happy?” she says. “Allow me to tell you something; I see the world with stained glasses and a bent soul like a blurry sepia Polaroid photo frozen in time and space. I cling to my fears that are my captors like a Stockholm syndrome victim and defend them with every inch of me. The author of my character has either died or left me midway through it; I was never edited or reviewed. I am all the misspellings and bad vocabulary. I am awfully articulated in terms of humanity.”
“Uh,” I stutter.
“I’m sorry but are you going to finish your fries?” she asks while I am still pondering her answer.
“No, uh, go ahead, be my guest.” I observe her perfectly aligned teeth crushing the life out of the French fries. “Did you receive my text?”
“I did,” she says.
“What do you think I should do?”
“We use words in our texts that we are incapable of expressing in our reality not because we are hypocrites or do not feel them intensely enough but because we are trapped in this spike fence of embarrassment. Can you imagine? We are embarrassed of practicing humanity,” she says.
“Can you drop the philosophy for a minute and help me out here?” I say.
“It is emotional inertia, you do not love her anymore,” she continues firmly. “You are just feeling lonely and she is too. There is no need for any of you to take that dance again. It is like you two keep stepping over each other’s feet and tripping yet insisting to get up and dance again, it’s astonishingly pointless.”
“When it comes to love and friendships, I’ve kept everyone at distance and they simply drifted off,” I say.
“I’m glad we don’t have this distance between us then. Now. Should we order some coffee?” she changes the topic.
And I knew I couldn’t hold it anymore: “I’m actually in love with you.”