Checking Out

He was definitely checking me out.

He looked me up and down before focusing on my boots, smiled right into my face and said,

“Nice boots.”

I think maybe I scowled and kept on walking.  I was on my way to work, after all, and in no mood to entertain the foolishness of a random dude in the Time Warner Center.  It had been fifteen hours since I’d felt the sting of heartbreak and I was just trying to get through the day when all I really wanted was to crawl into bed in a silent, darkened room and feel so, so alone.

But I’ve been thinking about boots dude.  I’ve been wondering what would have happened if, instead of brushing him off, I’d smiled.  Said thank-you.

If “nice boots” had led to “so what’s your name?”  And “what are you doing for New Year’s Eve?”  If that had led to coffee, or dinner, or a kiss at midnight and a whirlwind fling, like all the rest but different, I swear, and letting down guard and becoming that couple everyone hates because we’re just so damn cute all the time. 

To becoming inseparable, to becoming insufferable, to needing a breather just for a minute!  To wondering “what the hell is going on?” and “why is there all this distance?” and “why have we run out of things to talk about?” 

The idea, the thought, of letting another person get anywhere near that close right now makes me angry, nauseous, sad. 

I think the heart is like a library book.
Every time it gets “checked out,” it returns back to the shelf with a little bit of damage done to it.

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