DISCLAIMER: So not mine.
NOTES: Thanks to Luna.


TAKING NOTICE.

This, she thought, is the good part. Not that the rest wasn't good - dates, kisses good night, sex, saying "I love you," hearing "I love you" and all the things that come after. Some people, she thought and pictured Danny, would say that those parts were better. They would rush by this part to get to the kissing and the sex and the waking up wrapped around each other. And again she thought none of that was bad and all of it was great but it was so easily spoiled.

So she intended to savor this part this time. Distinctly better with age, she thought. At her age, at her advanced age she thought wryly, there was none of the intensity or constantly looming embarrassment of high school and even college. No driving by his house and praying he would coincidentally walk out while also praying he wouldn't be home. No near tears over the wrong thing said in class or laughing inappropriately while passing in this halls. The word crush was inadequate and adolescent for this part and for today, she decided, glancing at her watch. Right now, she could appreciate it. This part she just liked, whether anything happened or not.

She would wake up and get dressed and rush around and somewhere between finding her keys and checking her hose in the mirror for hidden runs she would think about seeing him and feel a little thrill. Arriving at work, wading through the wire stories and the messages that were already too numerous, even at 6 am sometimes, she would start looking up to see him walk by. The smile that came with that notion would last even through the gaggle if the news weren't too bad. It was more than just a smile or a thrill - she felt more awake since she had begun noticing him this way. It was a twist in her tummy and an extra fast beat in her pulse. She felt funnier, smarter and better at everything when she knew he was near. And that adult, reasoned rush from this appreciation was definitely a good part, she thought, looking up just in time to see him walk by. This was not anticipation at all - she didn't doodle wedding bouquets on her note cards or plan their perfect first date - she never imagined or fantasized about him and her and kisses and waking up together. She didn't moon over him or worry that he thought she liked him too much. She hadn't even begun to wonder if he thought of her at all. She just enjoyed noticing him.

Maybe nothing would come of this - etiquette, protocol, politics and rational weighing of how would all this work might someday make her change her mind and take away all the fun. And certainly, even this part could be spoiled, she thought and pictured Danny, and then there was the thinking of the waste of time, the worry about things said that never should have been said and the realization that noticing someone meant seeing their blind spots and inadequacies along with everything else. But not this time, and not yet, at any rate, she thought as Carol poked her head in the door with the "staff in two minutes" reminder. She stood up quickly. As she walked down the hall, she saw him ahead of her walking towards the meeting and thought this feels just like a dollop of chocolate in your coffee. And it was the good part.

THE END

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