I don’t even know if SoCo and ginger ale has a name. All I know is I like it, maybe too much. It’s a barrier: I can’t shake your hand with a drink in one hand and the other in my hair, I certainly can’t respond to you if I have my face in a red Dixie cup, and when all else fails, pouring it on myself so I can run away to clean it up always works. I don’t want to know you or anyone else in this room, I just want to pretend like I’m not uncomfortable standing here.
I am not the face of social anxiety. I am confident, I make direct eye contact, I smile when I should, I never wipe my palms on my jeans. You make me the opposite. Just thinking about you is tantamount to standing in front a crowd naked. I sit there and wonder if you’re sitting there reading my thoughts. Sometimes you smile at me like you are. But then you ignore me when I get to the good parts. I am stupid for thinking you think of me at all. You’re probably smiling because you love some other girl who isn’t me. She’s probably perfect like you. I’m not. You don’t think of me. I think of you. That’s how it is.
I drink my SoCo and ginger ale by myself now. The color it makes reminds me of this one summer when it didn’t rain for so long that the river turned red. I have no idea why a drought would turn a river red, but there’s a lot of stuff about life I don’t know about. I don’t know how to get you to love me. I love you. I love you so much that I’m going to stop drinking this before I get all weepy and get embarrassed even though I am by myself.
I would do anything to have touched your face. One time, when we were close to each other, the wind blew by and I smelled your laundry detergent mixed with the salt water and my perfume you like. How pathetic of me, to lay in bed wishing that would happen again. One time, you touched my hair. One time, I wanted to touch yours back. I still would never see you again. I regret not touching your hair. What would it have changed? I will never see you again, but at least I would have the memory. This is my life. My life of regret about not touching your hair, I am pathetic.
I never took a picture of you. I don’t need one. I close my eyes and you are burned into the back of my brain. I know you know I stared. You know I know you stared back sometimes too. I bet you were just thinking of some other girl and how much better she is than me. Or you were thinking about the space-time continuum. I don’t know. It just seems improbable that you were thinking of me. There’s nothing about me to like other than if you were to kiss me, and you like liquorice, you’d be pleased because I use Tom’s of Maine fennel toothpaste. I have no idea if you like liquorice. I’ll never know. I know if you kissed me, I would have stopped you because I am not worthy of your affection. You are perfect. I am not.
I will never see you again. I still love you. And I always will. I don’t know if I am loved. I don’t know if someone just wrote this about me. But I hope you know you are loved by someone, even if you have no idea the someone is me.
© S. Amanda Clevinger