I am terrified.
I am sitting across the table from someone I've never met. I look at him and I size him up. Does he see beyond the smile I wear? Does he know I've lived through a lifetime of pain?
He is talking to me. I've heard it before. Just a few days ago, I suspect. Different restaurant, different face, different words. But still — I've heard that song. I've been here already. I take a sip of my water and I let myself listen.
I spot a hint of a flaw and I smile. Why didn't I see that before when I spoke to him online? I watch as his lips continue to move. In my mind we have already broken up. We've fallen down the rabbit hole and we're on the other side. Why live when you can extrapolate? Why bleed when you can anticipate?
But I long to reach over. And it frightens me. These butterflies I tried so desperately to net in my youth — I know better now. This lurch in my gut that makes my insides churn, it's the fear of unrequitedness. Fuck.
I need to run way, I need to hide, I need to just be me.