The Girl Across the Room

Glasses of water and wine circled the table, laughter and conversation drifting over the rims. I was sitting with my friends, talking, enjoying the evening, when I noticed a girl across the restaurant staring at us.

She looked lonely, a desire to join us flashed behind her eyes. I smiled at her, and she smiled back but it was the type of smile that comes out looking more like a cringe. We locked eyes, until finally I looked away.

I tried to forget her and enjoy the time with my friends, but I couldn’t help occasionally glancing over just to check if she was still watching, and inevitably, unfailing, she was always there. Her eyes locked on us with a jealous longing and a look of misery and pain consuming her face. The sight of her was nearly revolting, and I found myself becoming angry that my pleasant evening was being ruined by some creep in a back corner booth.

As our spaghetti arrived, so did hers, and we slurped up noodles at the same time, though we sat separated by the expanse of the room. The conversation at my table quieted as people filled their mouths and stomachs. The girl across the room looked slightly pleased, perhaps she had just been hungry. But every time I glanced her way, she still had one eye on our table.

The dishes were taken and replaced with conversation once more as we waited for the little chocolate mints that would accompany the bills. And again, that girl sat staring at us, mulling and brooding over some dark, depressing thought it seemed. Her looks alone bothered me, but whatever she was thinking about was enough to deeply disturb me. Her stare crept under my skin, behind my ears, and to the tips of my fingernails. I realized my nails were digging into the bottom of the table.

When, finally, my party was ready to leave, I stood up—maybe with too much haste. I needed to be rid of the stare of that creepy girl. She looked like she wanted something, something from the world, something from me. But what could I give her?

But as we stood and adorned our coats, she too stood and put on her coat. As my group walked toward the door, she crossed the room and walked directly towards me.

I turned to meet her, unsure if I should greet her or confront her. As she approached me, she stopped.

She said nothing. I said nothing. We each stood there staring at each other.

Then, her face began to change into an expression of confusion? Anger?

I started to say something but she opened her mouth, so I stopped. No sound came out.

She lifted her hand as I reached out mine, and our fingertips met in the air. Her skin was smooth and hard and cold.

Then, the girl’s face reddened in embarrassment as I realized I had been looking in a mirror the whole time.

*Based off of a dream/daydream


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