He Said, She Said, I Laughed
Written November 2005
Synopsis: A sly comment from Fin leaves the narrator wondering, “What did you mean?”
Disclaimer: The characters within are property of Wolf Films, Universal Television, Studios USA, and other corporations. No infringement is intended.
My lips are numb but not from the cold. They simply refuse to form the words I need to say. I had walked her to her apartment door, and now she is turning the key in the lock. If I don’t say it now, I can’t bring it up again because it will be too late.
“Thanks for inviting me tonight,” she says and smiles at me over her shoulder. The door cracks open. “I had a good time.”
I nod, still unable to form a sentence. Her foot takes a step, bringing half of her body into her apartment. Say it! my mind screams. She hesitates before swinging inside, and I blurt out, “What did you mean?”
She looks at me, her brow quirked. “Uh, I meant that I had a good time and I was glad you invited me.”
“No.” I take a deep breath. “When Fin said we spent so much time together that he didn’t know why we weren’t dating, and you replied, ‘Yeah, why aren’t we?’. What did you mean?”
Her head rests against the door as she continues to stare at me, and I feel like an ant under a magnifying glass with the sun threatening to fry me. My cheeks are on fire, and my hands are shaking so bad that I balled them into fists. I can’t meet her eyes, afraid to see amusement or rejection.
Our relationship had always been so innocent that her comment surprised me. Sure, we had lunch together and drinks together, and we had been to the movies a couple of times to indulge in cinematic classics on the big screen. So why not the squad holiday party? We went to those functions together anyway. It was no big deal.
Until Fin commented on it. And then she did. And then I laughed.
Yes, I admit it. I laughed. I didn’t know she was serious! Or maybe I did know and chose to ignore it. Or maybe she wasn’t serious at all. But it got me thinking. Had I missed all the signs? I was always happy when we were together, liked to hear her voice, smiled when she came in the room. Did she feel the same? I didn’t equate it with anything beyond friendship because never in my dreams did I think she would be attracted to me. We did kiss under the mistletoe long enough for the obligatory blackmail photo, but it was absent any passion. While it made my pulse quicken, she gave no indication that it did the same for her. In fact, she laughed afterwards.
I chose to blame Fin for my whole situation. If he hadn’t said anything, she wouldn’t have said anything and I wouldn’t be stuck wondering what the hell was going on. For the rest of the evening, I found any excuse I could to badger him for information. Why did you say that, what do you know that I don’t. His reply was, more often than not, an exasperated roll of the eyes. Well, what did he expect? He planted a seed that was determined to grow into the biggest tree in Manhattan. ‘Man, just go with it,’ he said. But at that point, I wasn’t sure where it was going.
Which left it up to her. Which brings me to where I am now, standing in her doorway, wondering what she’s thinking and why she’s not speaking. When did this become so hard? I lift my head and before I know it, her lips brush against mine. The kiss lasts not nearly long enough but holds a promise that in my cynical mind I do not deserve. I open my eyes and immediately blink to see if she’s still there or simply a wonderful figment of my imagination.
“There’s no mistletoe here,” she says as she meets my gaze, making sure I understand what she is telling me. I do.
“Goodnight” comes out as a whisper, and she backs into her apartment and closes the door. I linger for a moment, hoping she’ll come out again. I pull out my cell phone and dial as I head to my car. He answers on the second ring.
“Fin, about what you said–”
I smile. “Thanks, man.”