Today I am in Denver, Colorado joining other writers at the Writing For The Soul Conference. Please pray for safe travel, good weather, and that each one of us in attendance is somehow used and directed by God. From February 16 – 20, I will be reposting some old posts. All comments will be replied to on Monday, February 20.
It is a first or second date; or it is not a date at all, but a chance meeting; not so chance by observing the boys maneuverings. He is sitting with a girl who is thin, young, and blonde. The boy is dressed in a slouchy tee-shirt and shorts. I am sitting in the coffee shop with a pen and paper. I am free writing, but my mind attaches to this conversation. They are sitting next to me. The only tables available out of the sun are sandwiched between this perceived couple and two guys talking business. Both conversations are creeping in on my creativity.
Three discarded papers later, my mind is still spinning around the boy and girl sitting next to me. It is hard to write freely. I am paranoid about the boy noticing my interest in their conversation. She is trying hard to maintain the conversation, but it rolls into mundane topics like what cell phone coverage they have and the difference between a contracted phone and the pay-as-you-go phones. Am I sitting in on a commercial? The only personal question or topic comes from him.
“Did you meet your friend?”
“No. He is working.” She talks about her mysterious friend and his job for five minutes. He says nothing about himself to the girl and the girl does not ask. She laughs as if she is thrilled to have a boy pay her his undivided attention. He is also very nervous. I wonder if she was suppose to have met the mysterious friend today, and instead the boy approaches like a shark moving in on a seal. She seems intelligent somehow, but the conversation is awkward even to me—a stranger sitting nearby. They know each other, if only irregularly, but they are a bad match. My pen stumbles again. I scribble, and then tear off yet another sheet. A brand new sheet awaits my next words. The girl excuses herself from the table to use the restroom.
“Sorry. I go a lot.”
“Yeah, you do. Quite a lot.” He is quick to reply in a humorous voice. She is in the bathroom texting her friend again: Are you coming down? He has not responded to her last two texts—all done in the bathroom. This time he does respond. No, he texts, I am working; Maybe next time. This last text is disappointing. She walks back to her table. The boy has moved to the suddenly available comfortable chairs near the window and leaves her purse unattended on the floor. She grabs her purse and sits in the other chair. The conversation turns to technical jabber. I lose some of the conversation, but he asks her about her laptop.
“I can go get it.” She leans her head against the back of the chair and turns sideways to talk to him. I leave the coffee house. In forty minutes, I acquire a slice of their life and let imagination color in between the lines. I can imagine she is probably settling to spend the afternoon with this boy. Her plans were canceled because her friend is working and cannot break for lunch. I think she is thrilled with the attention, but not interested in anything long term. I think he is cleverer than he appears by maneuvering to sit with her at the coffee house, asking about her phone, playing with her phone to get more information, and asking to see her laptop. He’s interested in this girl, but she is more interested in her other friend. The friend has a great well-paying job, a condominium, a nice car, and he is always busy. This boy has a sometimes working car; lives with his mom; skate boards with his friends on Saturday nights; and has too much free time. He graduated high school last year, but only attends a few basic classes in college.
She is in her second year of college and about to get a two-year degree in the liberal arts. The girl is two years older than the boy and met her mystery friend in an art show a couple of years ago. They are still dating, but they do not live together. She rooms with her friend—a girl who likes hard rock, smokes menthol cigarettes on the deck, and is rarely home because she ends up crashing at other houses after partying too much. It is like living alone. I wonder how much time the girl and boy spent together this afternoon. I wonder if the friend who could not find time for his girlfriend knows another moved onto his territory. Now it is your turn. Finish their story. What happened between the girl and boy and what happened with the friend?