The Girl I Met
The water raged in defiance, a force uncontrollable by me or anyone else around. I was surrounded by a few dozen people, mostly sitting on rocks and dipping their feet into the water. The stone sat unfazed by the crushing current, touched with a splash of glimmering water on top. A cool breeze filtered into my nose and tickled my neck. For a few short moments, I couldn't tell the difference between the waves or the laughter coming from people playfully pushing people off the edge. It was funny how people were separated. The hopeful stood tall next to their hope with an unwavering confidence, while the hopeless sat with their eyes gazing at their lost hope, overcome with an eerie aura of melancholy that perforated whatever was left of their dreams. A couple sat a distance from us all. They captured the snickers and envy of the rest. The past, present, and future were all here, mixed in an awkward cauldron of things that shouldn't have happened and did and things that should have happened but didn't.
In my daydreaming, I hadn't realized the figure standing next to me, until she couldn't take it any longer and broke out in a lunatic laugh that almost had me stumbling. She gave me that weird smile, the one that I can't seem to draw anything from. My mind fizzed in complete disarray, unable to decide between speaking or walking away.
"Whatcha doing?" she said in the tone you'd expect from a character on a television show.
I turned to her and hesitated. What do I say? If I said "not much," it'd be too boring. But how do I explain all the things I was just thinking about? There was no good answer to this. "Not much" I replied.
She made a sad, pouty look, almost to say that I didn't trust her with the truth, which I didn't. I tried cracking a smile but it probably looked nothing like it should have. She averted her gaze onto the ocean and stood quiet for a few seconds. Suddenly, she plopped down on the cold rock and tapped her hands on an empty spot next to her, motioning me to sit down. I quickly glanced around around me, gave a subtle sigh, and gave in, sitting down pretzel-style.
I don't think she noticed the sigh because she didn't ask me about it. We sat for a little while with little regard for the people around us. To me, all I could imagine were the stares our backs must have gotten. Yet, when I took a look back, everyone seemed to be off in the own world, unconcerned by something I would have given a double take to had it been for anyone else. At this point, I was probably the one taking away hope from the hopeful, except, at least I hope not, this wasn't my hope.
"The weather's pretty nice today" she quipped up to break up the silence.
"It hasn't been like this in a while" I said. "Every time I come up here, it's either raining or hailing. Maybe you're my good luck charm."
I think she giggled at that remark or maybe that's just my mind playing tricks on me. It was the best comment I could make because it was neutral and daring at the same time. There's no better way to describe it but to call it a whimsical thing said by the heart and mind. The question now is how she would react: with her heart or mind?
"I guess I am. We should come back next time and see if that's actually true" she said, to which I immediately began regretting having mentioned her in anything with a relation to me. Rookie mistake.
Unsure of what to say next and having little desire to add fuel to the flame, I didn't respond but it was almost as if she was expecting it, as she looked away without any notice to whether or not I said anything back. She was ahead of me in every aspect of this game and there was little I could do to win, if I could call it that. There was so much I could have said, from what the hopeless would want to say to what the hopeful probably said. I could have counted at least ten responses but only one made sense and maybe in a bad way at that.
I finally said something. "How were the burgers earlier?" Man that was stupid to say, I immediately thought to myself. "I really liked the ones that came out of the new grill. There was just something about the material they used in making it."
She gave me a long stare, a raising of an eyebrow, then broke into one of her lunatic laughs again. "What did you just say? Are you really going to comment on burgers right now?" Her response stung my heart for a little bit, knowing it probably wasn't the right thing to say at the moment.
"Well, I care about your well-being and the food you eat to nourish yourself. I think I should be commended for that."
With a surprising burst of strength, she got up from where she was sitting and said "you're a funny friend" and stalked towards a group of girls.
Friend? That's what she thinks? A part of me eased to that revelation, in relief to the obligations I made up on the spot on any other assumption. The other part stiffened in complete resistance to what seemed like the end. All that this was became a battle between two sides with one wanting to win and the other needing to win. One team fought with experience while the other swore on emotion. I was deep in thought.
"C'mon, let's go that way" she chimed in a relatively high-pitched tone, suddenly next to me and pointing to the family of rocks still left.
Do I go or not go?