The Not-So Stranger

We spent hours talking together again last night.

That’s three times this week we’ve spoken until 3am.

You don’t have my phone number, I just recently learned your full name. We know each other’s childhood stories, we exchange notes on museums and authors, we know religion and politics, and yet we don’t really know each other.

You know how I have a gift for faces and first impressions, you tease me and quiz me on strangers that wander into the bar. I know I surprise you and throw you curveballs, but you don’t want me to know, so I pretend not to see your blush or the slight raise of your eyebrows.

You think I’m silly and interesting, I think you’re funny and clever.

You walk me home when it gets late. It’s only recently you’ve hugged me. You’re not from a world where people hug like I am, but you noticed, so you hugged me goodbye a few months ago. For the first time, it was you that surprised me.

Every time we part at the corner, I always wonder. What could happen, what would happen, if I lingered longer, if I kissed you on the cheek, or squeezed your hand as I left? It took me so long to get more than a greeting out of you when our paths began to cross. Months have passed since then, the neighborhood recognizes us as friends now, I don’t know when my thoughts of you moved past that. I wonder if you ever get that spark, or wonder about me. Do you think about grabbing my hand when we bump at the bar? Do you wonder what I’d do if one evening you leaned in?

Or is it all in my head? Are you just quiet? Too shy to say something or uninterested in your young conversation companion.

At what point do I choose to be the one to bridge the gap? Or do I at all?

Maybe I don’t. Maybe I sit here and smile as you mock my youth and I tease a smile out of your serious face. Maybe I fall a little further as you straighten your sleeves and re-button your cuffs before you rise to leave. You’re precise and crisp in your movements as in all of your decisions. Was one of them me? Or not me?

My movements and decisions are messy and impulsive. Am I too much mess, or just enough to maybe shake you up?

That’s my messy decision to make I guess. Whether or not I shake you up one night or let you live in your crisp, defined world because my coloring outside the lines may be too much.

But we all could use some color, don’t you agree?

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