I wonder, has it always been this way? Or is it this day and age? Then, in that same thought, I realize, it does not matter. It was going to happen whether or not it happened previously.
I could flee this place. Move away. Go missing. Find friends elsewhere. Meet new people in new and exciting areas of this planet.
But I choose to remain. There is a reason I remain. A reason why the last few hours I have chosen to endure forced, meaningless eavesdropping. Sitting here trying to pass the time. Staying so it can be my turn. My turn to say, “Hey....”.
To see the smile. The smile which I know has not shown itself for a very long time. Maybe an eternity. Then! A free moment. A moment I can steal from the girl. The girl who all these youth are so flocking on.
I steal the moment.
“Hey. How are...”, I do not get any further than this. I am speechless. Standing there, absurd and searching for words. The seconds pass like years, but it is enough for her to notice me.
“I thought you had forgotten our deal,” she says teasingly. “I didn’t think you would...”.
Then a moment comes and goes, because she too is at a loss for words. The world begins to spin. Begins to be again. Others emerge out of this spinning. Others want to say, “Hey.” I am pushed away. Pushed, while I am silently whispering, “Congrats.” She must have heard me, because she turns her head my way and smiles.
Smiles for the first real time this evening. But not with her lips. With her eyes.
Instead, she uses those lips to say, “thanks.” For a moment, I forget myself. There is no one else around me. I’m alone in the room with her. No nonsense or mumbling words. I forget everything. Forget everything but that smile.