"At times I think my coffee and tea addictions truly drive my artistic energy. It’s a small sacrifice for the greater good."

Prompt: Bicycle

Posted: 12/23/12 | Written by Jeannie | Labels: , , , , ,

He stood in the doorway, eyes pleading for me to remember and I could not. Tom looked at us both, half smiling and half quizzical of the conversation. I had just gotten off my bicycle when this young man approached looking for something I could not give him, a memory of a moment I could not remember.
    “You have to remember,” he said.
    “I honestly don’t. I’m sorry.”
    “But…I’ve, for so long.”
Tom leaned back watching the scene unfold. His hand rested on his chin. The young man’s eyes darted to him and he shook his head as if to say, ‘its all yours.’ My eyes narrowed, Tom—my longest friend had somehow contrived this meeting for his own jest.
    “I wanted to be your roommate.”
    “Us? That’s wouldn’t look right. After all, we weren’t dating. And in all honestly, I barely know you.” I didn’t mean for the words to come out so harshly. That poor man’s body slumped as if I cut him at the knees.
    “Let us take a little walk,” Tom jumped in. “Do you mind terribly if I steal her away for a while Josh?”
    Josh shook his head ‘no’ and turned for the door. His hand rubbed the back of his neck and it made me feel horrible.
    “Jenna,” Tom smiled and held out his hand. I pulled my bicycle between us as we walked through the alleyway towards town. “You know he’s been in love with you for a while.”
    “He has not,” I replied. The sound of the chain on the bicycle clanked with each step. It filled the void of an awkward conversation.
    “He adores you. And you know it.”
    “Josh is adorable, I give you that. But I’ve never thought of him as more than just a friend.”
    “You have a funny way of treating your friends.”
    “Do I? At least I treat them all the same.”
    “Do you?” Tom tilted his head. “I don’t think you do.”
    “Tom, what can I say to him? I—there—why do you men always do this?”
    “Don’t blame me!”
    “Why? I’ve never been one of those women who pressure men into relationships. And now, now that I’m on my way out of here—all of them are trying to get me to stay. If they wanted more, why wait until now? Until I’m about to move?”
    “You’ll be in my old stomping grounds you know.”
    “Yes. Excellent way of changing the subject Tom.”
    Tom laughed, “Honestly not my intent. Please continue on your man bashing. You know how much I love it.”
    “Not what I meant,” I laughed. “Its just. The one I want doesn’t want me. And while the others are sufficient substitutes—”
    “Its not the same,” Tom cut in.
    “So, go. Have fun. He’ll come around, and if not, at least you’ll have a story to tell at the end of the day. If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen. You know that better than most.”
    “But if he doesn’t figure it out. Do I just move on?”
Tom slowed to a stop. I turned and looked up to him. He smiled softly and bit his lip. His fingers brushed away the bangs that were in my eyes.
    “He has. Circumstances though, they are the universe’s answer to happiness, and unfortunately they conspire against his.”
    I can feel my cheeks fill with a rosy hue and my eyes gloss with tears wanting to spill forth, but I just blink feverishly trying to keep them at bay.
    “So, I move on?”
    “That is a conversation, I think, for another day.” He puts his hand on the bicycle seat, fingers resting slightly on mine and we continued walking.