She’s beautiful. There’s no getting around it.
Regardless of how this ends, she’ll always be beautiful, which is pretty unfair if you ask me. No matter what happens, she’ll leave here a babe.
Me? I’ll either be the guy who’s dating the babe or one more member of the fraternity of failed suitors. This girl breaks hearts without breaking a sweat. She’s pretty, but she’s cruel. Just by looking at her it’s clear that she’s done this before. She doesn’t even look nervous.
People say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, but if I have neither loved nor lost, have I lived at all? And is it possible for hearts to break both from improper use and insufficient use? These are the questions that keep me up at night, and these are the questions that brought me here today. The DTR—my least favorite acronym of all the acronyms. Right now, I feel more like I’d rather GTFO.
My palms are sweaty (knees weak, arms are heavy).
This is going to be a disaster, and I know it. I haven’t even said anything yet, but I know where we’re heading. Maybe I should just keep my mouth shut. I don’t have to say anything. Although, that would mean I wasted a lot of time rehearsing this speech. . . . I guess it’s too late to chicken out now.
Her eyes are so green. I didn’t prepare for that.
The sun is lighting up the trees overhead, and the grass beneath our feet has been freshly mowed, but everything fades into the background when her eyes look into mine. It’s as if her eyes have absorbed the color from the surrounding nature. It’s unbearable, but I can’t turn away.
“Do you have a lot going on this week?”
The perfect small talk question to get started. I don’t want to jump straight into the pool of my feelings. It’s better if we ease our way into the shallow end rather than leaping straight off the diving board. Or should I have gone straight into what I want to say? Maybe I should’ve ripped the Band-Aid off. I don’t know. I’m mixing metaphors.
She’s talking about some things she has coming up in the next few days, but I’m not listening. I’m still rehearsing. Actors rehearse their lines right before they shoot a scene, right? I bet Leonardo DiCaprio does, and who doesn’t want to be like him? If I was Leonardo DiCaprio this situation would be entirely different. I’m not Leo though. Hopefully, if this girl and I ever end up adrift on a piece of wood, she’ll let me stay with her.
She stopped talking. I should probably say something. Right about now, I’m wishing I had another small talk question up my sleeve, but this is neither the time nor the place for improv. Just two big breasts. BREATHS. I meant breaths. Focus! Well, now I can’t stop thinking about her breasts. This is great. Breathe kid, breathe. Slow down and take two big breaths. Now, say what you came here to say. No more stalling.
“So, there’s something I’ve been wanting to tell you.”
She’s looking at me expectantly now. She still doesn’t look nervous or uncomfortable, but I suppose I look anxious enough for the both of us. I’m glad she can’t hear how fast my heart is beating. Although, it feels loud enough for everyone within a mile radius to hear.
"We’ve been spending a lot of time together these past few weeks . . . ”
The wind is blowing her hair back. She couldn’t possibly look any prettier than she does right now, I swear. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I suddenly realized she was in the middle of a modeling photoshoot and I accidentally walked between her and the camera. If you put the girl I’m looking at right now on the cover of any magazine, it would sell a million copies. I guarantee it. She’s better than a magazine though. This girl deserves her own book.
The wind threw me off and we’ve been walking silently for ten seconds now. So much for all that practice.
“. . . and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you better . . . ACK!”
Oh no. I am legitimately choking. What could I possibly be choking on? I haven’t eaten all day because I’ve been too nervous for this. Did a bug just fly in my mouth? Dear God, why? I’m banging a fist against my chest as I clear my throat. I could not possibly look more idiotic (bet I can prove that one wrong). My face is bright red. Just like I drew it up, coach. This is going great! Okay, okay, pull it together, man. Get it out.
“. . . and I’d like to take you out on a date if that’s what you would someday maybe be interested in doing with me together in the near future.”
Nailed it. Great sentence structure, even better delivery.
It’s her turn for a long pause now, but unlike me she seems to be thinking through her response.
It doesn’t really matter what she says though, does it? I’ll know. And that’s the point of going through this torture—closure. At least I’ll know whether or not I am capable of tricking such a beautiful girl into going out with a moron like me. And as much as I want to know what she’s going to say, I already feel relieved. The pressure is off. I said everything I wanted to say . . . right?
Well, I guess I didn’t say everything I wanted to say. But I said most everything, and that’s close enough. All I needed to do was ask her on a date and she can infer the rest, can’t she? I’ve made my intentions clear enough. I mean I don’t need to spill out my heart for this girl. I don’t need to tell her how I feel after all.
I need to tell her how I feel, don’t I? Son. Of. A . . . But what if I say too much? What if I’m too honest? Is it possible to be too honest? I don’t want to put my whole heart out there so she can break it. Someone once told me a broken heart shared is better than a whole heart kept locked away. I’m not sure if I believe that or not, but here’s to sharing . . .
“And the reason I want to take you on a date . . .”
I interrupted her. She was about to answer and I cut her off. I’m so stupid it’s amazing. Why couldn’t I just let her finish and keep my feelings inside? I’m making a huge mistake. Boy, I’ve done it now.
“. . . is because I really like you. I like like you.”
Great, she’s laughing at me. Honestly, I would laugh at me too.
“And I know that’s the most middle school thing to possibly say. Who says ‘like like,’ right? But I do. That’s how I feel. I like a lot of people, but I like you more than I like everyone else. I also don’t like you enough to say I love you because I’m scared of the word love and all its implications, but that’s a problem I can solve with my therapist another time.”
Goooood. Keep talking about your therapist. That’s exactly what she wants to hear right now. Digress to impress, right?
“Anyway, the point is I think you’re beautiful. You make me laugh. All the things that bother me and stress me out go away when I’m with you, and I want to be with you more. I’m happy when I’m with you, and I’ve never met anyone who makes me feel the way I feel when I’m with you.”
Too much too much too much. Man, you open the floodgates of the heart and look what pours out. I was too honest, wasn’t I? I said too much. Am I going to regret this? I should’ve stayed at home. Should’ve called in sick. She’s going to say no.
I should just go ahead and tell her everything. If I’m going to open up my heart, I might as well open it all the way, right? I could tell her about how I slept with a nightlight until I was fifteen. I could tell her I can’t go more than a few days without talking to my mom on the phone. I could tell her I’ve never said “I love you” to another girl. I could tell her everything.
No. Not yet. She doesn’t need to hear everything yet, but one day she will. One day I can tell her everything. And she can laugh at my silly insecurities and encourage me through my real ones. That’s what I need. Someone who knows when to make fun of me, when to hold me, and when to talk me down or talk me up.
But right now, I need a first date.
“Sooo, what do you say? One date . . .”
Cover image by Drew Graham.