Prose, poetry, fiction, and rambles from people with a bit too much time on their hands.

Heart to Self

“I really wish I was like you,” she says, in a matter-of-fact tone.

The man across the table simply looks at her. His hazel eyes don’t pierce her, don’t examine her, and don’t question her. They simply look. She is used to this. Without any interrogation from him, she continues to expand her statement.

“Well, I’m sort of like you, I think…maybe…” she trails off, trying to collect her thoughts into something tangible and communicable. This is one of her worst problems. There is silence. The man has a gaunt face topped with short brown hair. He’s as skinny as a stick; it’s obvious through his thin, black cotton shirt and his smooth gray slacks. He is leaning back in the metal patio chair provided by the Mexican restaurant, under the glare of the spring sun, entirely comfortable. Finished plates of food sit on the table waiting to be cleared. The woman is still silent, with a face full of thought. The man still looks at her, expressionless.

“You see, it’s just like this, like right now. I’m so unsure of myself. You’re never like that. No, you always know what you are doing and you are always sure of your own competence. I have trouble just stringing sentences together sometimes,” she takes a pause. She has more to say, but just as she opens her mouth to talk a waitress walks by to collect the emptied plates. The woman is flustered by this. As soon as the waitress is turned to head back towards the kitchen, she resumes the outpouring.

“You’re so self-defined. I get the impression that you sincerely don’t need anyone in your life except yourself. I’m like you in the way that I want to be alone sometimes just to be alone, but I always break down, I always need people. I doubt that ever happens to you. If you were the last person on earth I bet you wouldn’t even give a damn. You’d live life with the same mindset that you have now,” she is speaking rapidly, consumed by the subject, “You’re so indifferent to everyone around you yet you are the happiest person I have ever known. Why can’t I be like that? Why can’t I have your perfect, solitary soul?” her voice is loud, sad, and saturated with longing.

The waitress returns with the check and then scurries off, afraid to interrupt. The man takes out his card and fills out the check, then looks back up at the woman.

“I don’t love you. All I love is that icebox you would call a heart and I want it for myself,” she finally stops. She’s trembling. They sit quietly until the waitress returns the check and scampers off again. The man grabs his card and stands up, clearly with the intention of leaving.

“So you’re just going to say nothing, huh?” she says coldly.

The man is putting on his jacket and he’s not looking at her. “If you keep feeling like this, you’ll become everything I’m not. You’ll be a shell full of nothing but melancholy,” he says calmly as he finishes putting on his jacket. He then turns and looks at her with an expression in his eyes that could be described as an attempt at emotion.

“I think I love you. I can’t entirely tell. I don’t need you. I hardly think about you. But I feel something for you, no matter what emotion you may feel for me.”

“I…” she tries to say something but she ends up just smiling a sweet, perplexed smile. The man silently looks at her once again while he stands next to the table, the strange look in his eyes now gone. After a minute or so, he walks off to his car.

In the car, the man thinks about the woman’s appearance. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t properly picture her face or her clothes. Colors blend in his imagination; he’s looking at something half-formed, something that is not completely defined. He sighs and turns the key in the ignition. As the engine roars to life, he wonders why anyone would ever want to be just like anyone except themselves. He really can’t comprehend that.


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