A California Interaction

I’m hesitant,
a little anxious and
I haven’t talked to anybody
at all this week
except when
I buy coffee
in the mornings, I thought
to myself.
But that doesn’t count.
It was ten o’ clock at night,
I was walking home
the usual way, like
I did every night at
this hour. Routinely.
The difference this time was
this girl, dressed in black
and sitting by herself on the
lawn in front of the apartment complex.
Stopped me in my tracks,
not due to beauty but just
the mere fact it was something different.
A break from the routine,
not too different from
the excitement felt when finding a dollar
on the sidewalk.
Usually, people find a dollar to be neat.
Unusually, people find it to be god-like.
Me, I find it neat.
So I harbored no extraordinary reaction
towards the darkly dressed girl, just curiosity
as I overcame the hesitation
heavily lumped
in my throat to talk to her.
“Hey, my name is Parker.” I said.
She looked up. I didn’t
realize she was on the phone.
Giving me a sort of quizzical look,
she suspiciously eyed me up and down
before saying,
“Can I help you?”
“Well…not really. Just wanted to say hi
and introduce myself. What’s your name?”
She pointed towards her phone.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I could wait until you’re finished.”
I said as I twiddled my thumbs
behind my back,
trying to maintain my composure
and take it easy.
I honestly didn’t know what
the best thing to say was.
She sighed as she rolled her eyes.
“How about I’ll see you later.”
She said to me, ushering me to leave
with a double jut of her chin.
“Yeah, whatever.”
This was not a pleasant interaction
like I had hoped.
I had no ill intention,
I did not want to worship her.
I only wanted to think
“Hey, that’s neat. Maybe I’ll take charge
and change this day for the better,
if only by a little bit.”
I wanted a friend,
not a lover,
but I could tell
the moment I opened my mouth
and she eyed me up and down
that she thought
“What does this guy want?”
and then she jumped through
three bullet points in her head:
—He’s after sex
—He’s after my money
—He’s going to harm me
So I had no chance. I
walked away in shame
after my terrible decision
and thought
perhaps, no matter how hard
I try, I will always come off
as a creep.
They say that the best clowns
are the ones that don’t know
they’re being funny.
Maybe the same is true
of creeps.
Maybe the same is true
of me.
I don’t want this. I try
hard for this to not
happen to me.
But the more I try…
I shall stop trying.
Just like I had already
been doing this past year.
Nobody thought
I was a creep then,
just a miser perhaps.
And I walked on home,
wishing that
whoever had dropped that dollar
would have picked it right back up again
or had never dropped it in the first place.


Anxiety, California, Contemporary, Free-verse, Parker, Social parker'spoetry

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