The Moment

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"It's getting late, I should probably..."

"No! I mean-- can't you just stay like... five more minutes?"

"Five minutes...?"

"Five minutes."

"Well, in that case... Okay. I'll stay."

"Thanks."

"For what...? Staying?"

"...thanks for not leaving."

"Uh, sure. No problem."

This was it. If there was ever a night where I was going to make my move, it had to be tonight. "Make your move." What the hell does that even mean? It's not like I haven't been trying to move this relationship forward since the day I started having feelings for her. And yet, here I am. Here she is. Here we are. And look outside the window. Do you see those things way up in the sky next to the moon? Those are fucking stars, man. And for the first time in what feels like forever, those stars have aligned. No, they're not aligned for you. Don't be selfish, after all, this is my story. Yes, that's right, the stars have aligned for me. But just for tonight. This one night. So I better not--

"Do you have any water?"

"Yeah, sure thing."

Why does she want water? Is the room too hot? Am I too hot? I'm funny. I'm sensitive. I'm the all around nice guy that every girl will want to be with. You know, eventually. But not now. No, not yet. Is she an exception? She's staying an extra five minutes so she has to be an exception, right? When's the last time you had a girl back in your apartment this late at night? Never? I should ask her if she wants ice. After all, she's trusted me with being the bearer of her water. The water that keeps her hydrated and furthermore, the water that keeps her alive. I mean, if you really think about it, she's trusting me with her life in a weird sort of way. I better not fuck this up.

"Ice or no ice?"

"No ice. Just water, please."

She doesn't need ice. She's too cool for ice, anyways. She always has been. Why is the water taking so long to fill up this cup? Doesn't the water realize I only have five minutes to "make my move" and seal my destiny with the girl I've liked for nearly 8 years now? We're a team, water. We're a fucking team. You quench her thirst, and from there on, I'll hopefully quench her heart. So work with me here. Work with me. Please, just work--

"Hey, are you okay?"

"..."

Here she is suddenly right next to me. She looks concerned. More importantly though, she looks concerned about me. She cares about me. She cares about our friendship. We have such a good friendship. What am I doing? I can't possibly screw up this friendship.

"Yeah... I'm just-- I'm just a little.. it's been a long day."

"I'm sorry."

Her hand goes on my back. I can't move. Paralysis. I can't interpret the moment. Is this the comforting touch of a friend that's seen the best and worst of me the last 8 years? Or is this the touch of a friend who wants to be something more with me? God damn it. I hate this fucking game. I learned how to read in kindergarten, but what they should have been teaching us was how to read the language of girls. Because I'm lost. I need an interpreter or something. Water, help me out already. It's your turn to contribute to the conversation.

"Well, here's your water."

"Thank you."

"Hey... Jess."

"Yeah...?"

Here it was. My defining moment. The last 8 years have both progressively and painfully led me here. I've waited patiently. I've done everything that was ever asked of me. And all that was left to do now was to vocalize everything I had been feeling. The king was in check. All I had to do to finish the game was simply make my move. Come on, idiot. Those stars aren't going to be aligned forever.

"There's something I've been wanting to tell you for a while now..."

"Yeah...?"

Say it. Do it. Scream it. No, don't scream it. You're a few short words away. Think of all the words you've said to this girl. Millions. Millions of words. So what the hell is three more going to do?  I like you. I like you. Just say it. I like you. I like you. You're not saying it. You're not going to say it. You can't say it. I'm saying it! I have to say it. I like you. I like you. Friendship. Gone. No. Can't deal with. Not tonight. Not any night. Never. I like you.

"I'm glad to have you in my life."

"I'm glad to have you too. But it's getting late and I have work tomorrow.. I'm sorry, but I need to get going."

"Yeah, no problem. I'm pretty tired too. I'll walk you out."

"Thanks.."

It's pretty dark right now. You know, considering that every star that was in the sky just fell to the ground laughing at my failure. I don't know why I didn't say it. Fear. Anxiety. Nausea. All of the above. The door closed and who knows when it will ever open again? If it will ever open again?

"Well, thanks for everything tonight. I had a really good time with you."

"Yeah of course. I had a good time with you too."

"Hey, can I ask you something this time?"

"Sure, what's up?"

"Why did you ask me to stay five more minutes?"

What the hell is this? The lights are back on and somehow I'm still moving forward. Maybe this isn't over yet. Maybe I still have a shot. It's the fourth quarter. Only a few seconds left. Do I throw a hail mary and try and win the girl? Or take a knee and come back after I've had a bit more practice..

"Why wouldn't I want to have five more minutes with you?"

She's smiling now. Wow, she's really smiling. That worked. That actually worked. It's not exactly what I planned on saying, but somehow the words just rolled out. It was smooth. Holy shit, that was smooth. Where did that even come from? Was that the water speaking for me? It wasn't direct. It wasn't indirect. It was a balance. I had achieved balance.

"Goodnight, Zack."

"Goodnight, Jess."

I close the door. But for the first time of my life, I feel like I have the power to open up the door again. I feel confident. I feel in control. I feel like I'm a fucking champion. Tonight may not have given me the answer I had wanted, but it did give me the reassurance that I wanted. And sometimes reassurance is exactly what we need. Because in the end, everyone needs reassurance at some point or another.

I go into the kitchen to turn off the light. And then I notice it. Staring right back at me with its clear eyes is the cup of water. Full to the brim.

She didn't even touch it.