I’ve never been very good at relationships. And that’s been pretty obvious over the years. Especially in school, where I often came pretty close to fistfights with the boys. Them being bigger than me usually kept me from actually becoming physical. Though I did get close enough a few times to actually hit or push them. I restrained myself though. Usually.
And now, fourteen years after barely graduating from high school and twelve after the brain injury that drastically changed my and my family’s lives, I’m doing it again. Letting myself feel for someone who doesn’t deserve these emotions directed at them.
Talking with best friend hadn’t helped me at all. Clarissa tried encouraging me to tell Andrew of my feelings. But to do that would require more than guts on my part. It would necessitate courage and bravery – two things I’d been short on since the brain injury more than a decade ago.
I am brutally honest, however, and have been reacting and saying things without thinking for a long time. Since I could speak, in fact. I’m not sure where that [honesty] is coming from most days, but the doctors told my parents long ago that any “filters” I once had were pretty much gone now. In other words…
I think what I say and I say what I think. That’s an actual [saying], right? Or something similar?
“How are you today?” The voice behind me startled me, nearly causing me to drop my camera/phone on the gravel-littered asphalt where I stood. I knew that voice. Not too deep, but not high-pitched, either. It was a [voice] I could get used to….if I let myself.
Slowly turning and facing him I found myself speechless – something new to me in the last ten-plus years. I don’t know why I used to speak without thinking so often before – in school, in church, at home – but things are very different now. I’m fairly slow to react to things and often need to think of my words before saying them. Otherwise I might sound like a bumbling idiot.
Observing his quirky smile I knew I would have to find something to say. After all, he spoke to me first, asking a question that required some kind of answer. [Something] more than a simple nod or a shrug of the shoulders.
My first reaction to him was to take a step back; I barely stopped myself from doing it. It’s a good thing, too, because there’s a gopher hole right where I would have [stepped]. I glanced down as my foot teetered on the edge, and quickly moved it forward.
Thank You, Lord. I sent up the silent words of gratitude before looking back at Andrew.
I could look at him all day, I pondered, fighting the smile that tried to grow on my lips. There was no fighting the blush creeping up my neck and over my face, however. He would probably notice and mention the [sudden] red in my cheeks. What could I tell him? I tried to think of something that would make actual sense.
I tried smiling at him in spite of the [blush], hoping it might keep him from noticing the darkened color. Somehow, it seemed to [work], because he immediately asked me about my day.
My day? It’s only eleven-thirty in the morning! I eyed him for a moment, finally deciding to answer him before he [jumped out of his skin]. Beads of sweat hovered on his brow like marathon runners waiting at the starting line. I decided to show him compassion and answer him.
“I’m good. Thanks for asking.” Then I ran out of words. Which is something unusual for me. But I can’t usually help it around him. Much of the time I feel as if my tongue is tied – as if needing to be massaged.
Ugh. A tongue massage. That’s something you don’t see every day. I could feel myself making a face at the thought of touching /my tongue/.
“What’s wrong?” I blinked when I remembered Andrew standing there. I’d made that face right at him. My [stomach] plummeted; now I would need to explain myself to him. How embarrassing!
“Oh nothing. I just thought of something I didn’t like.” I shrugged in an attempt to disengage his interest in the subject. And in me. I watched one of his brown eyebrows climb his forehead – would it go to his hairline? He obviously questioned the veracity of my explanation. In an attempt to reassure him I didn’t mean it wasn’t /him’ I didn’t like, I added – almost as an afterthought,
“I was just thinking about supper. Mom tells me we’re having Brussel sprouts.” I wrinkled my nose at the mere thought of eating the mini cabbages. In my entire life, I had never found them appealing. My reasoning? They taste bland.