He’s waving his hands around, trying to get her attention. It won’t matter if she looks at him or not. He’s going to talk no matter what. He doesn’t care about how she feels. He’ll just keep talking. She knows this. She’s known for a while. She just doesn’t have the heart to tell him to shut up. Too harsh. Too crass. Too… confrontational. That’s right. She’s not going to be the bad guy in this story.
She tilts her head up, leaning back into her chair. She relents; she lets him have the stage, if only for this one time.
“So…” He starts. One sound. One syllable. One idea, to eventually branch off into the usual tirades of a deranged man. The world, the planets, the universe, and – inevitably – his ego.
He says something, but she doesn’t listen. She doesn’t care. She’s just blankly staring at him. No synapses firing off. Barely a pulse. She’s hardly even considered conscious at this point – she’s the equivalent of a coma patient.
“What do you think?” He asks, feebly attempting to include her in his conversation with himself.
“Hm. Could you elaborate?”
He sighed a little, then cleared his throat. “I’m saying, you and me…” Oh, is it time for that again?
Romance. Time for romance. The fifth thing he talks about. “You and me.” He would always use that phrase. She would always stiffen. Always with the anticipation. Always with the fear; the aversion to that minuscule chance that he, of all people, would desire her.
“Ah, you know what? Forget about it.”
He’s not pushing the subject?
He stands up.
Does she want to bother?
Maybe she does. Curiosity’s winning against apathy today. “Hey, hang on. What were you about to say?”
His face lit up. Was he planning for this? No matter. “You and me. Subway?”
Subway? Really? Is he asking her out, or is he looking forward to eating some mediocre sandwiches with his “buddy?”
She doesn’t need him. Is she lonely? Sure. Everyone gets lonely. But is she desperate? Can she really love him? Can she, really? She’s just gonna drop everything she’s doing and start devoting her time to this guy, day-in, day-out? What’s her life gonna be like? How does her future look? Is it worth it to sacrifice her own independence? I mean, she’s got a pretty decent track record of being “happily single.” And it’s not as if she can’t find a partner on her own. She can do those things herself. She’s a big guy.
“For you, I’d like to. But I just – I don’t think I can do it. It’s not you, it’s me.”
“Oh.” He looked like a toddler who just had his favourite toy taken away from him. His heart was already broken. Any second now, the tears could start flowing. But they didn’t.
“Oh, it’s nothing to be sorry about. I’m sure you have your own reasons.”
Surprisingly reasonable. “I’m glad you-”
“But anyways, about Obamacare…”
“Annnnd, that’s my stop!” She waved, picked up her jacket, and bolted towards the subway doors. As she ran, she mumbled “It’s a justifiable reason, right? I’m not unreasonable, am I?”