Three to four times a week we run into each other at Floyd’s Cafe in Oldtown. “Run into each other” is perhaps not the most accurate of phrases. Three to four instances a week, we happen to be in the same place at the same time. Floyd’s is that place. Three to four times a week, I lose whatever slice of self-confidence I may have possessed to start the morning, and I turn into a quivering mess of lemon flavored jellyfish.
Needless to say, we’ve never spoken.
The best of intentions and the most fantastic of plans are quickly forgotten as the only thing I can think of is, “you’re pretty.” I stutter in my head as she orders her latte and chats with her beautiful friend. She smiles at the baristas, she smiles at old ladies, she’s even smiled at me a time or two; picture perfect pixie smiles, the kind that melts hearts and inspires greatness. Beautiful by any standard, yet with a kind face colored by the hint of mischief, I’ve named her The Cutest Girl In Portland, or CGIP for short.
We’ve sat next to each other once or twice, two random strangers in a crowded café, and even then I’ve barely mustered the courage to steal a glance in her direction. No, instead I turn off the punk rock, but leave the headphones in; I listen to the music of her voice as she chats with her beautiful friend. The constant drama of office politics never sounded so good. I keep my eyes straight ahead, and type type type my life away while cute girls engage in mindless small talk just to my right. Focused and hard working, cute perhaps, but sadly and completely anonymous to her.
I had a dream three nights ago where I said hello and for once I was on the receiving end of that glorious smile. She’d been waiting, three to four times a week, for me to say hello. I smiled in response. We talked about Portland and about dreams, our time together in the city was short, but we were both desperate to make it last. We walked along the waterfront and held hands, made big plans for the future; we were fire and passion, taking life by storm. Discussing our shared love of border-collies and needing only each other, we smiled at the sunset and never took prisoners.
I have never felt such unrestrained hatred towards an inanimate object as I did towards my alarm clock that next morning. With blind fury I slapped the snooze and shut my eyes tight, desperate to bring her back, but tragically, The CGIP was gone. I took a cold shower to deaden my fire and calm my nerves. I found a sense of peace and resolve…today would be the day. My Portland adventure is drawing to a close, and I have very little to lose by saying hello, today would be the day. I wore a nice shirt, and practiced my smile, I felt like an idiot, but today would be the day.
Two hours later at Floyd’s, she came, she ordered her bagel, she left. Never once glancing in my direction.
We make the grandest of gestures in our sleep, and tomorrow’s another day.
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