She loves you, She loves me Not!
I’ve never been particularly good at that game. When it comes to reading the affectionate emotions of the human species, I’m pretty much an archeologist digging through the clearance rack of any second hand store going-out-of-business sale. If the emotions aren’t spoken, I don’t assume. And when I have assumed, I’ve usually gotten the ever dreaded head tilt – awe.
No worries. Good things come to those who wait – great things to those who wait longer.
As I meander through the streets, subways and byways of New York City, I have found it genuinely odd that emotions I have displayed all my life have taken on a whole new meaning in the Big Apple.
Going back to my southern roots, being “nice” was merely expected. We waved, asked how someone was doing and politely waited for an answer. Even if the person could care less about your sick chicken, they at least found a tone that soothed over your over stimulated emotions.
In grade school and beyond, being nice got a smiled returned to you, found you a new friend and even got you a free item at your favorite convenience store. Niceness was a currency all itself that reaped priceless rewards. And then I smiled in New York.
“I’m already dating someone.”
My thoughts thumped against the invisible wall I was slammed into. I check each corner of my surroundings looking for a camera, waiting for the game show host to come popping out. My thoughts twinge:
Ummm, I was just saying hi.
I watched the twisting of hips and the sashay away as if this prized pony has just won the Kentucky Derby, leaving a cloudy dust of questions in my head.
Then it happens again, and again and again. I scream from within:
What is the deal?
The bulb of unspoken rhetoric wisdom shines light on my folly:
“To smile, my naïve friend, means I want you. To say hello means I love you. And to stare a second too long practically means when, where and what time.”
I squawk at the inferences:
“I smile because, sometimes, people have lost theirs. I say hello to interrupt the turmoil that needs disintegrating and I stare because I am forming a compliment on what beauty that I see.”
Rhetoric answers back:
“No, no, not in New York my country pal. You have been single for far too long. It’s been [censored] since your last relationship and much has changed since then.”
I tilt my head:
Contemplation gives way to confusion. Confusion gives way to pouting. Pouting yields to an epiphany.
My inner dialogue breaks through:
If simple acts of kindness, as it is perceived, leads people to believe more than anticipated and I’m not too keen on reading the body language of desire, then a game shall ensue.
There is nothing like a committed relationship for the length of a subway ride.
I sit down, earphones in ears and mind dancing to the beat. I look across from me. Our eyes lock. They dart away. I muster up the courage to display a strangled smile. They return the gesture. The dance begins:
She loves me!
My eyes tear to a fake object catching my attention. I can feel my pupils smiling as the nervousness traces its way from my stomach lining and up into my esophagus. I feel her eyes tracing me as I pretend to be aloof, too cool to make the first move. The anticipation of her response is eating away at me. I mentally toss the note:
Do you like me: Yes or No?
I can’t take the wait, I look over. Nonchalantly, her body language has checked “maybe”.
I’m in grade school again. The butterflies haunt my tranquility and each jolt of the subway car makes me that much more uneasy.
I place my hands within hers as we stroll through central park, a picnic laid out for us in the sun-kissed grass. I tip the paddle boat we are in just to see the strands of hair play across her delicate features, a playful pout distorting her face. I wake up to her scent and fall asleep to the melody of her breath.
I taste the pictures of my mind as I soar through each image of our life together, every second perfectly intertwined with our love. I can hear the bells.
The doors chime and slam shut, dragging me back into reality. I look up across from me, my eyes adjusting back to the light, as I toss the note back at her, vying for an explanation – waiting to bring my imagery to life.
The paper hits an empty seat, all whispers of her fading to silence as her image is no longer before me.
I get off at my stop and take joy in the pleasures of the new meanings of niceness, ones that still escape my comprehension. I toss the relationship aside and let the last petal fall to the ground:
She loves me not!