He didn’t have any money, but he knew She wouldn’t care.
When she’d walked into the bar with freshly cut hair and painted nails, his heart sank, but after the first round of drinks his fears faded as the girl talked openly about heartbreak, hiking, and finding freedom in nature.
He’d wondered about her for months, ever since she started commenting on his Instagram posts, and when she finally reached out to him, it was like a small token from the universe after all his years alone.
His red truck squeaked on the right side, and emitted a low rattle as his pulled it into the driveway. “Just took a power washing job. Not used to working fixed hours, but I need the cash,” he explained.
She followed him up the shaky wooden staircase to his flat, the floor of the apartment welcomed her with a moan. Her eyes scanned the artifacts of the space, searching for clues. It was all thrifted. The coat rack, the green velvet sofa, the broad, aging desk. He was so proud of the 350 square feet, “All the windows," he grinned, "I couldn’t pass it up.”
She sat down on the green velvet and listened to him continue their conversation from the bar, diagraming his theories for her on a the back of an old poster. He was full of strong opinions.
She’d thought about him for months ever since she first came across his Instagram account, and began fabricating stories to compliment each picture, conjuring up the man. He was somehow less substantial now that she’d met him in person; not the image she’d created from following his posts. She’d expected him to be thicker, more judgmental, slightly brooding even. But he was more like a willow branch, flexible and kind. She watched him shuffle through the trinkets on his desk and fought off the need for him to be any certain way.
They shared a brownie. He pulled the small white napkin of a side table up to the green love seat at a diagonal, slicing the space between their knees. “That water is for you by the way.”
He wanted to do something with her. She’d sat across from him all night, at the bar and now here, gesticulating with every word as she spoke, and nodding her amber head as she listened. He took his ideas of who this girl might be, might be to him, and painted her with them. He took her hand, ran his fingers across her palm, and looked inside of her for what he’d been seeking.
When she got up to leave, he lifted her off the ground. A controlled slow lift wrapping his arms around her body in a squeeze, then setting her back down, he let his hands linger on her ribs just a moment before dropping them to his side. He’d been doing this all night; placing his hands on her elbow, hand, forearm - whatever he could reach from across the booth. However he could touch her. His touch taking hope and shaking it to life.
When she stepped toward the taxi, all he could manage was a kiss on the cheek. The heart is not always so bold, and the head says “you don’t know her.”
“But maybe..” the heart whispers back, “maybe.”