July 19, 2019

Peplum Diary: The Vulnerable I Like You

By George Ojema

She’s seated in the warm embrace of the armchair, still wearing the sweat pants and jumper. The night has slowly crept past her windows and the movie she put on is starting again. She raises the wine glass in her hand and gives it a sideways examination. A little pink fluid rests at the bottom in a pitiable puddle, making no suggestions. But it’s not in the nature of a good Rosé to give suggestions; it allows you to make your own way.

She reaches for the wine bottle on the coffee table and lifts it. It feels light. It too is lifted for a sideways examination. Against the faint light from the television screen a small portion of wine is gathered, awaiting consumption. She decants the liquid into the glass but it doesn’t quite fill the glass. She chuckles to herself, shaking her head as she sets the bottle down.

Rule number five; Never fill a wine glass.

She cannot remember who gave her this gem but it always seems to creep up on her when she’s near a half empty wine glass. She raises the glass and takes a sip, always a sip. It’s the mark of a lady. Her eyes are drawn lazily to the television and though it’s the second time around she still doesn’t understand the plot.

The evening’s events rush back at her. The walk in the cold October night, the impromptu dinner, sitting across from him, looking into his eyes…those dreamy eyes. And that smile in its simple understated way. It all comes back to her.

The cold drink, their fingers twined around its base, the walk back.

He said he liked her.

Her heart stops again. He actually said he liked her, and not with a sly smile on his face. He looked her in the eye and sounded sincere. He put his emotions out there. That was brave.

But she’s let the moment pass! The conversation floats back to her.

“You like me?”

“Yeah. A lot”

“Why?”

“I don’t know. I just…like you”

“Wait, is that what you wanted to tell me all night?”

She knew that was the moment she blew it. She likes him but the news came out of nowhere. The setting couldn’t have been better with the stars out and a full moon. The lazy meandering walk with no clear objective. All that mattered was that she was with him and though they said nothing, she felt something.

But all that changed when he made his true feelings known. It was better when she was guessing at his true intentions but now that she knew the joy of the chase was gone. The assumption that he was smiling at her as he played his guitar was confirmed. His protective nature was explained. That curious thirst that drove their interactions could be quenched. He wanted her.

Or did he?

She forgets the bottle is empty and lifts it. With a disgruntled sigh she stands and walks to the kitchen but stops stupidly at the sink.

What does he want from her?

He had not shown signs of being a senseless human being. He seemed genuine enough. She drops the bottle in the sink and rinses out the wine glass. She sets the glass out of harm’s way and returns to her comfy arm chair. The movie has progressed a fair bit but her mind slips back to her personal drama. Why couldn’t she say it? Why couldn’t she say she liked him too?

It couldn’t be that difficult, could it? It’s not like she was committing to him for life. It was only saying ‘I like you’ not ‘I love you’. Like was just opening the door, an agreement to explore the possibility of a future relationship. ‘I like you’ is being comfortable with that person. Comfortable enough to make funny faces, send funny pics, hung out and take walks. ‘I like you’ is saying I’m beginning to trust you, but I’m not sure yet’. Saying ‘I like you’ makes you vulnerable.

But wasn’t she already? She had gone to church consistently…well, almost…since they met. They hung out after church and sometimes in the middle of the week. She’d told him things in confidence and he’d shared with her some of his secrets. But did this make her vulnerable?

Her mind had been on him for weeks and there were certain ludacris expectations she sometimes had of him. She almost always backed down from them but they were there. Did this make her vulnerable?

He could make her feel better just by being there and always seemed to know what to say to brighten up her day. Did that make her feel vulnerable? To him?

She looks up at the television screen. The movie has ended and the credits are rolling. She really hasn’t watched this movie and probably never will. The alien thought intrudes her mind, ‘Would I watch it if he was here?’

She steals a glance at her phone and in an instant it’s in her hands. Without thinking she succumbs to her deep seated vulnerability. Then she pauses. What do you say to a man after you dash his hopes under a most picturesque full moon?

She agonizes as the credits roll on the screen, perhaps alluding to the grim end to the bliss that might have been. Then, in mock defeat types,-

‘Hi.’

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