A smile might just be enough

A stranger’s approval is all I need to spin off into incomprehensible trains of thought. Just one look. One suggestive glance; a gaze that’s held for more than a second. I’m desperate. I’m looking for things that aren’t there; I’m finding meaning in things that are meaningless. I’m grasping at whatever vague possibilities I see.

All it takes is a smile, and I’ll be in love. “At first sight.” At the first hint of daylight, I’m already in full bloom. “Come get it,” my heart says.

“Hold up,” my brain says. A smile isn’t enough of a sign, I think to myself. It’s just a greeting; nothing more. But I can interpret reality in different ways. I can extrapolate entire lifetimes from a smile. If she sits’s sitting next to me, I’ll look statue-still. I’m diverting all of my mental power into not embarrassing myself in front of her and imagining our future lives together. I’ll be thinking of how we’d share our phone numbers.

First, I’d introduce myself with the highest level of charisma achievable by man. Then, she’d giggle. Maybe blush a little; I wouldn’t be able to tell through the chill. Oh, forgot to mention. It’s wintertime. Christmas lights are hanging in between the lampposts, and it’s twilight. My breath fogs up the glass.

She looks at me. She’s silent; expecting me to continue the conversation.

I wasn’t prepared, but I improvise anyways. I say something cheesy about her eyes, then back it up with self-deprecation. She laughs even harder. I grin. Everything in this conversation has lined up perfectly. I prompt her with a question: “So, what do you do?” Simple. Classic. Impossible to get wrong.

She tells me that she’s a biologist. I have nothing to say about that, so I tell her what I do.

“Computer Science? Like, programming? That’s so cool, I never…” She goes off, acting impressed. It doesn’t matter if she’s genuine or not. If she’s feigning interest, she still wants to keep the conversation going. If she’s really interested… well, I’ll take that as a compliment.

I play it off. I act coy. I tell her about inner fulfillment, and how I “like problem solving.”

She’s looking at me with wide eyes. Is she really listening, I wonder. It doesn’t matter anymore. Nothing matters beyond this point, because I’ve already done all that I needed to do. All that’s left is buying condoms, I joke to myself.

I accidentally flash my smile at my own dumb joke. She asks me why I’m smiling. I don’t tell her the truth. “Sorry, being around you just seems to make me happy.” I tell her.

She’s stunned. She’s speechless.

It’s time for me to take my leave. Like George Costanza in Seinfeld – leave while your image is still good. I tell her that I have to get off on the next stop, but I give her my number. She gives me hers. I walk out to the aisle of the bus, and take one last look back at her. I wave with a smile. She smiles at my childish gesture, and waves back.


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