Monday, December 20, 2004

Asking Carole Out — Part Two

He Takes His Second Shot

Even as he spoke to distract her, his senses tracked another course in his body. He continued to experience the unreasoning physical attraction he'd been feeling for her for so many weeks now. He wanted to ask her out, but he was afraid to. Afraid she’d say no, afraid she’d say yes. What if she was too serious? What if he was?

“Now, now!” some voice screamed at him silently. He needed to ask her now!

The time and place were right, more or less. The Hardee’s fast food place was about as private as he’d been with her so far, so it’d have to do. He'd made up his mind to ask her out days ago, and still he couldn't. He felt a stirring in his pants now, and then a terrible sense of panic. The stirring was why he wanted to ask her and at the same time the reason why he was so afraid. He knew it didn't make much sense, but he hadn't felt that utterly involuntary stirring in his penis for so long, it scared him. He liked it, of course, but somehow it made his heart beat too fast. Would it do all his thinking for him? Was he too old for this?

She was thirty, he was forty. Her frequent talk of bad health put him off slightly. He worried that she might be a woman who had too many problems, too many nameless illnesses. Maybe she was a hypochondriac. Maybe her problems were real. Either way, that could be a problem.

“Goddammit, everybody's a problem and everybody talks about health problems too much,” he told himself angrily. “You can't have relationships without problems and people who chatter too much!”

But on and on they went, talking about her symptoms and whether the doctors would call her with the test results. He wanted to snap at her, “Go get well so I can ask you out!” But that wasn’t it.

He stood there, feeling foolish, speaking sympathetically, still discerning that slight stirring. He wondered what it’d be like to kiss her small straight mouth! He wanted to take her hand. It felt like he'd been standing there forever. Only three or four minutes had passed, in fact. Soon he was telling her goodbye, that he'd see her on Monday.

Did she hear what he meant or only what he said? He expected a lot of her. He prayed she was able to sense his cowardice and his hope, that she'd find some reason to excuse him and not to lose all interest in him. For some stupid reason, although he was acting so brainless, he felt that she was still interested.

“It'll keep me from feeling dead this weekend to imagine that, anyway,” he thought.

Big deal. Once again he’d failed to ask Carole out.

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Abandon hope, all ye who enter here! (At least put on your socks and pants.)