She’s giving me a look that can only mean, “I want you. I want you. Oh God, I want you. Take me now.” That’s a look I often get.
Can I blame her? No. Like so many others before her, she’s probably just attracted to my roguish grin and devil-may-care nonchalance. Understandable. But we’re in public, and this look she’s giving me is just inappropriate.
I mean, really, we’re walking towards each other in front of Lee Hall, one of the busiest spots on campus. This isn’t really the time or place. Plus, I don’t actually recognize her. Is that bad?
I’m running a catalog of faces through my head but coming up empty-handed. Is she in one of my classes? Did I meet her at a party? Did we get super wasted, declare our undying love for each other and get married? Why does that keep happening to me?
Hopefully it was a nice reception, at least.
Wait, that doesn’t make any sense. There’s nowhere in Fredericksburg that does overnight impromptu weddings. Believe me, I’ve checked.
Well, then how do I know her? I must know her, given that she’s been looking directly at me for the last few seconds, clearly on the verge of saying something. I need to figure this out, quick.
But I can’t. I just don’t recognize her. I guess that’s the perils of popularity, right? Can’t expect me to remember everybody’s name. How many people do I know, you ask? So many.
We’re only a dozen feet away now, close enough to begin a conversation. I’m resigning myself to not knowing who she is. I’ll just wing it. She starts to open her mouth.
Well, well! I was right; she totally does want me. Can’t say I’m too surprised. I’ll play it cool. Time to turn on the charm, you know? Suave.
“Oh hey there, gorg–”
But she walks right by me, into the arms of a guy who’s been walking just behind me this whole time. And just like that, it hits.
She was never looking at me. Oh no. Oh, God, no.
At least two people around me notice my mistake and start to laugh, an uncomfortable chuckle defined by pity and the fear that it could happen to them as well one day. I don’t look back to see if the couple noticed.
The harsh social awkwardness of the moment is crippling. All eyes are on me, tunneling through to my soul to find out why I would say that. I try to recede into myself.
I begin to envy the tortoise. What I wouldn’t give for a shell to withdraw into right now. Instead, all I can do is speed up and get as far away as possible, as quickly as possible.
So much for the “perils of popularity.”