a snapshot story by Miles H. Rost
“I am interested in you.”
Sheila looked up from her journal and blinked. She didn’t register the words at first. They smacked her in the face, but it took many seconds for her to let the words absorb into her mind.
She looked at Martin, her good friend and former co-worker at her company. The expression on his spectacle-clad face was more serious than any time she had seen him. He was there with determination, his blue-grey eyes boring into hers with an intensity that she had never seen in the year and a half they worked with each other.
“You’re…interested in me.”
Martin put a hand through his hair, and took in a deep breath.
“I’m interested because you have made me interested. You have displayed different properties about yourself, different characteristics that appeal to me. Your faith in Christ, and your way with working with children intrigues me. The different aspects of who you are fascinates me.”
He’s trying too hard, she thought.
“I am interested in you because I know a lot, but I don’t know enough. But I also feel like there’s a chance that if we explored this, that we may find out that we’re a lot more alike in ways. And I would like to take that chance to explore this.”
Sheila looked up through her glasses, her face not betraying the fact that she was as nervous about this as Martin likely was.
“In short, you want to go out on a date so we can get to know each other more.”
“Yes. I’d like to go out on a date with you.”
Martin sat back in his chair, and blinked. He said nothing, but blinked, as though her simple one word answer was the longest book in the world. He finally drew a breath and smiled.
It was Sheila’s turn to be shocked. Thank you? What?!
“Sheila, I’ve been nervous about asking you out for nearly a year now. I have been spending so much time in trying to find the right words to ask you out, to see if you’re interested.”
“And me saying no is something great for you?”
“Because you were willing to say something.”
“What do you mean?”
“You didn’t string me along for weeks.”
Sheila blinked, and slowly nodded.
“You also gave me a firm answer. This allows me to move on, and to keep you as a good friend. Something I have only a few of. No promises that need to be kept, too.”
“Well,” she replied, taking in a breath, “I guess I should say ‘you’re welcome’. But I still don’t understand why.”
“You gave me an answer. You didn’t string me along. That means a lot more to me than anything.”
Martin smiled, as he stood.
“Sheila, I’m happy. I like being friends with you. This helps by getting any romantic interests out of the way.”
Sheila looked up at him, as he was gathering his jacket and hat.
“I hate this.”
“That you put everything out there, and all I could say is ‘No.’.”
“It’s what I wanted and needed to hear, though. Don’t hate what is true. It is freeing.”
Martin smiled, as he put on his hat.
“I mean, I am going to hurt a little bit, because I was in hope about everything. But that you told me the truth, and I can accept it while still thinking of you as a real good friend.”
Sheila raised her eyebrows.
“That tells me you’re worth more as a friend.”
He gave her a smirk, bowed, and walked down the stairs of the cafe.
Sheila was alone, the sounds of “proto-jazz” bleating across the speakers. She sat, thinking about the simple words that she said, and how they impacted her life, as well as the life of her friend.
She looked down at her journal, and write in some new words on the bottom.
“One word can change the course of a human’s history.”