John’s head rested against the cool polished wooden tabletop of a Texas Institute Library study room table, his brown hair wild and furled by his frustrated fingers. His omitted a childish whine, partly for show, but for whom he didn’t really know. The who did make herself known though. Katie, his friend of the past year, called his name out in obvious mock concern.
“ Johnny, what’s wrong?” She said in the motherly way that she perfected. To those who knew her, her words were laden with sarcasm, but for those who didn’t, her words had a genuine note of caring.
“Don’t call me Johnny.” John whimpered, his face still pressed against the tabletop. Katie sat across from him and made a feeble and halfhearted attempt to tame his crazed hair. Running her fingers through his hair and trying to find its long forgotten natural part.
“What’s the matter, John?”
“ Beth stood me up.” John croaked, lifting his head slightly, so as to make some sort of eye contact with her. Katie held in a laugh and instead started petting John’s hair, like it was an old cat. Katie had predicted this to be the issue. John was one of the few men she knew who had the ability to honestly fall completely head over heels in love with a girl he just met. She knew men who claimed such feats, but ultimately were proven to have hidden agendas. But time and time again, the slightest smile, chance wind blowing her scent toward him and he’d be ready for marriage, but with men like that, they either find the one or torture themselves again and again.
“Beth wasn’t all that great, I hate to tell you. She has a weird nose, it’s like a guy nose or something.”
“A guy nose?”
“A nose a guy would have. Guy nose.”
“She does. Take a good look at her, the next time you see her. Total guy nose. It’s creepy.”
“I have been looking at her. Her nose is fine. She is fine, she’s more than fine and she doesn’t like me. She doesn’t even like me enough to give me a chance.”
“If she didn’t give you a chance, then it’s her loss. Forget her.” Katie said, shaking John’s shoulder.
“It’s creepy when you echo T.V moms. And really, it’s not her as much as what she represents.”
“What does she represent?” She asked lazily, knowing she’d shoot down whatever idea john had formed in his little head.
“She represents the rest of my life. She represents an endless string of quiet rejections. She is a blaring, screaming sign saying ‘I’m destined to die alone.”
“So… Signs scream…now?” Katie said, letting a smile form on her lips.
“In the metaphor I’m using, they scream their heads off. They scream like banshees.”
“ Signs have heads?” Katie asked, her smile becoming toothier by the second.
“For the purposes I’m using, yes. I’m going to die alone and all my so called friend can do is make jokes.” He said, propping himself up and putting his hands flat on the table.
“Cool down, you’re not going to die alone. You’re a great guy and you’ll meet a great girl. Johnny, I promise.” Katie said, placing her hand on his.
“Don’t call me Johnny.” John moaned, dropping his head into his chest. Although John’s eyes were away from Katie, he somehow knew she’d stick her tongue out at him, like the child she could be. “And how can you promise something like that. You don’t know the future.”
“Excuse me, You don’t know the future. I’ve seen your lifelines and all of them intersect…”
“Wait. You don’t know how to read palms…”
“For the purposes of this conversation I do. You are a great guy and I don’t need a crystal ball or tarot cards to know that.” She said, looking in his eyes. “And besides, you’re young, stop looking for the one so hard. This crazy quest you’re on to find someone is making you miss life. You don’t have fun, why not go out tonight.”
“Go get drunk, go have fun doing something. Taxi Driver’s out. That De Niro guy is supposed to be good in it.” Katie said. John made a face like he was about come up with a reason why he couldn’t do any of that, but that quickly faded and he bleated out a resigned, “Okay, Taxi Driver does sound good. Come with me?”
“Can’t. Date Night with Kyle.”
“Why do you go out with that guy?” John said, holding back a note of disgust for the man.
“He’s fun, he’s stupid and he’s pretty. He’s the Katie holy trinity.”
“He’s psychotic, he’s an asshole and he’d probably drink bleach if you dared him.”
“ That’s not true.”
“It’s the fact that you like him, that prevents me from testing that theory. He’s beneath you.”
“I know that. If he makes that terribly apparent, then I’ll drop him like …something that gets dropped.”
“Making comparisons isn’t always easy, leave me alone.”
“Wait, what time is it.” John said, looking at his bare wrists. “I thought I had a watch.” He said, pulling up his sleeves and then patting his pockets down. “I think someone stole my watch.” He said opening his book bag.
“ You don’t wear a watch, John. 11:40am.” Katie said, looking at her old braided strap wristwatch, she had since she was 12.
“Shit. I was supposed to be in class 15 minutes ago.” John said, standing and starting toward the door.
“Do something fun tonight!” Katie called after John as he disappeared out the door and down the front steps.
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