Today, I promised myself, I would be a fool.
Only a fool would be here, at this coffee shop.
I should be home, on my couch, with my cat, in the safe little nest I’ve built for myself in a lonely yellow farmhouse at the bottom of a hill. After the last time, after the time before that, after every time since the first time my heart fluttered and my face flushed and my breath caught in my throat.
After the boy at Kindergarten Roundup who passed the balloon to another girl. After Will Harman, who moved to Blair in the 5th grade and took my heart with him. My first boyfriend in 8th grade, who made out with my best friend while I was gone on Spring Break. The boys in high school who barely knew I existed.
After the monster I met my first month of college who took advantage of my inexperience with sticky sweet screwdrivers and cheap beer. The football player who whispered sweet nothings in my ear one day and slept with my roommate the next. The guy in Mexico that would have worked, could have worked, if we’d only had more time.
After the best friend in the Navy I wrote weekly letters to while he was stationed in Hawaii, Maryland, Iraq. Who flew home for a weekend, bought me too many gin and tonics, and told me he loved me, he just had to break up with his girlfriend first. He never did.
After watching my parents’ marriage explode into a million pieces, seemingly out of nowhere. Learning that that can happen. To anyone. To you.
After the last one, the one where I lost myself completely, in someone who didn’t deserve it at all. Someone whose name I can still barely hear without needing to sit down.
I am a fool for coming here. For agreeing to meet this stranger from the Internet, the one who also ate a squirrel once. The one with the kind eyes and the cat he called his best friend.
Any minute now, he’ll walk in. Our eyes will meet, quickly reconciling reality with a series of carefully selected Internet pictures. Hopefully, he will smile.
Today, I promised myself, I would be a fool again.
Photo (Flickr CC) by ClickFlashPhotos / Nicki Varkevisser