She drinks coffee for breakfast. That is, her breakfast consists of nothing but. She’s walked out of a scene from Stars Hollow. She captioned a selfie, “Second breakfast.” I can see her peeking from behind a cup of joe as she sits in her parked (I hope parked) car. The lilt of her voice carries an innocence bordering on admirable and diabetic. She’s the most selfless person I’ve met. Whenever she talks to me of an act of kindness, there’s a tug within me. She’s beauty in this ugly world.
She tells me it’s just what people do, whenever she talks to me of her kindness. Maybe, but I’ve never heard of someone going to great lengths to bring a smile on someone’s face. Or stand by someone’s side when things are bleak. And if the people in my life do, they’re not vocal about it. They tuck it away as if it’s a weakness.
“Coffee isn’t breakfast,” I tell her. And she doesn’t care for my opinion on the matter.
She remarks, “It is when you put protein mix in it.”
We’re sitting across from each other at Barnes and Noble, though I’m sure she’d rather be somewhere else. I’m told often that I avoid eye contact with others. It makes me come off as aloof and uninterested in the person before me. I’ve mentioned this several times before to her through text messages and telephone conversations. The bottom line is that social situations that most people take for granted leave me shuddering with anxiety. My eyes dart at the space around her. I notice the man behind her as he eats something he should really second guess. I zero in on the books she’s chosen which include a suggestion I made to her. I look at my chocolate banana smoothie because, for some reason still unbeknownst to me, I thought it sounded like an excellent drink to try. And with my awkwardness I’m sure I’ve made her feel uncomfortable, uninteresting, and so forth.
She’s far from it, though.
I met her as I meet a lot of people these days. Online. There’s less room for my awkward banter and inability to look at a person while I talk to them. Some might say that online communication has eroded my social interaction skills, but I never had them. Meeting people online does have its pitfalls. The major one being that when people want to meet me in person, they expect a talkative, well adjusted member of society. Although, what they get is me—the socially awkward, introverted-kinda-soul, real me.
The important thing to remember is that I chose to meet her today. And that’s a giant leap because I do like her. And I do think she’s a great person. And I do wish that I could just turn my visual attention toward her and just take in her words. It doesn’t work, though. And I know I’ve hurt her.
A week later, she sit beside me on my couch as I feed her something solid. We’re talking again and my eyes dart around at my bookshelves. She positioned herself that I can only see her, but still, I look away. Get it together, man. If anyone is worth direct eye contact, it’s this girl sitting beside you. This girl who does kind and altrustic things without expecting anything. Anything outside of the knowledge that she’s made someone’s life a little better, that is.
She makes me smile. She frustrates me. And I smile when she frustrates me. She’s fun. She’s nerdy. She’s loves to read. She loves Doctor Who… Well, we all can’t be perfect. And while I still have trouble looking her in the eye when we talk, I know that I’m willing to fight to make sure she’s happy.