Sweet and Shy

I barely remember her. She was attractive, not a knock out, but who would want a knock out, being ‘pretty’ is a real handicap if you ask me.

I could describe her, I could tell you her hair is brown, neck length, soft with a bit of natural curl, but that might spoil it for you. I could tell you she is thin, not skinny, but you may prefer plump to pert and so your imagination would be tainted with my imaginings, your memories stained by my mine and no longer your own. I could speak of her eyes, but you know how it is with eyes. So I won’t describe her, but to say she is smart, and sweet, and a little shy. I like smart and I like sweet and shy leaves time for love to grow.

I think about her now and then, and I think of what might have been but never was. It never was because I was young and stupid and missed all the clues. It wasn’t until years later when a snippet of conversation reached my consciousness, and I heard her say “you should come over sometime and give me a ride on your motorcycle,” that I gave her a second moments thought.

What was it occupying my mind at the time that let the invitation enter my consciousness and leave just as quickly? Where was it stored, and why is it now, years later, that I recall that moment? It was an opportunity missed. I sometimes think of how it might have been different. The first ride, a casual friendship, hours spent sharing our interests, and then in time would it turn to love. I don’t even remember her name, but I could probably find the street she lived on if I were to look. I’m sure I could find the street she lived on.

He’s right he could probably find her street, though it’s doubtful she is still there. She is much older now forty plus years older with memories and regrets of her own. Does she remember him? Her memory may be better than his. He did after all go to her house, and he did give her that ride on his motorcycle, and she did invite him into her home after the ride. Her parents were not a home at the time, but it wouldn’t have mattered. He was too shy to have taken advantage of the opportunity. He was too shy to initiate any physical contact at all. He was too shy to even reach out, to show an intent, to turn an interest into something more lasting.

She could have done the reaching, but she had already reached; she had suggested the ride. She had already left him with the memory of her arms wrapped tightly around him, and her head nestled there at the junction of his shoulder and his neck. She had heard him sigh, the this-is-perfect sigh. She had done her part and left it to him, and he had failed. She made further efforts to promote the friendship; she was always there with her sweet smile while his muddled mind was always somewhere else.

Why had he forgotten the ride and sitting on the edge of her bed babbling about things now long forgotten? Was it the pain of a missed opportunity, or the failings of memory that come as one gets older, for like he said, forty plus years have passed since that time.


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