Sitting Cross-Legged on the Floor

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Boy meets girl, boy likes girl, girl is complicated

Submitted: May 28, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: May 28, 2016

A A A

A A A


She’s sitting cross-legged on the floor strumming her red guitar. Her hair is a complete mess. Her feet are caked in crusty mud. Her right hand is covered in dried blood. And her blue dress is torn on the left side.

She was jogging up the stairs to the stage when the hem of her blue dress snagged on a protruding bolt. The momentum threatened to pull her back down the stairs. In that instant, she reached out in an effort to regain her balance, only to locate a sharp exposed edge that proceeded to slice open the palm of her right hand.

Her blue dress snagged on the nail as a result of the gusty winds kicked up by the thunderstorm, which bullied her dress, and her hair. The thunderstorm, which turned the field into a mush of mud, had made the staircase leading up to the stage slippery, and treacherous.

The show, anticipated to be a triumphant homecoming, instead turned into a thorough disaster. There was a chance of rain, but no one anticipated the deluge that ensued. A crowd of hundreds was expected, roughly three dozen showed up, including a few drunken idiots who whistled and cat called her, which she furiously hated. But she didn’t allow them, nor the weather, nor her injury, to destroy her gracious smile. Oh, that gracious smile, I knew it well.

*****

A few months ago I happened upon an article regarding her band online. Unbeknownst to me at the time, she had been a musician her entire life, and was pretty well known. The article told of a recently released album of theirs, which I looked into, and purchased. Her lyrics were personal, and raw. They revealed to me that she had loved, and lost, struggled, and gotten bitter. I soon began making appearances at their shows. I watched her, studied her. I observed, what seemed at the time, the impenetrable walls she had erected. The first time I talked to her, she flashed me that gracious smile. And in that gracious smile she revealed what she assumed of me, that I was just another guy. Just another guy who witnessed her long black hair, those brown eyes, red lips, and soft hips. Just another guy, who saw her playing guitar on a stage, became captivated by her physical beauty, fell in love, and pursued her.

Did I find her intoxicatingly beautiful? Yes! Was I furiously attracted to her? Of course, but I wasn’t in love with her. I was still observing her, and those observations were beginning to reveal that infatuation with her physical beauty was pointless. She’d heard countless times how attractive she was. And while I personally witnessed how much she truly appreciated the praise her music garnered, I’d begun to notice her growing impatience on stage, even some hints of anger. I’d see her off in the dark recesses of the stage arguing, visibly animated, and then walk back up to the microphone, back into the spotlight, put on that gracious smile and the audience would be none the wiser. I’d begun to wonder what happened after the songs were played, when the audience went home, and there wasn’t a schedule or set list for her to follow, or a spotlight and hundreds of eyes following her.

I vowed to myself that our conversations would no longer be burst of brief small talk. So at their next show, I waited impatiently for her on the side of the stage. My heart began to race as they announced what would be the last song of the evening. My throat became dry as she placed her guitar into its case, and began to walk towards me. I took a deep breath, and with absolutely no idea what I was about to say, opened my mouth, and ended up standing there looking like a fool as she pretended to be distracted by something, the purpose of which was to take her focus in the opposite direction of mine. It was all an obvious act, but it served its purpose well. She was not the least bit interested in me, or anything I had to say.

Yet, as the last of her band, their crew, friends, and family, leave the room, it’s just the two of us. And there she is, sitting cross-legged on the floor, strumming her red guitar, with her messy hair, and the mud, the blood, and her torn dress. She never looked more beautiful to me than at this moment.

*****

Time passed. I still went see her play now and again, but after the minor spectacle I had made of myself, I sheepishly stayed out of sight. I realized, though I clearly looked the fool standing there with an outstretched arm and an open mouth gesturing toward someone who pretty much did an about face when they realized I wanted to talk to them, that I would have a complete ass of myself trying to talk to her that night in some feeble attempt to portray myself as some kind of savior. So I simply went to the shows, stayed in the shadows, enjoyed the music, didn’t attempt to analyze anyone, and went home.

Then, one day, standing in the checkout line of the grocery store, I felt a punch in my back and heard “Hey”. I knew that voice. I turned around, and there she was, smiling. Not the gracious smile, actually smiling. She had seen me, and could have easily walked by and I would have never known but, for some reason, she came talk to me.

With nothing to lose, I seized the opportunity before me. I moved in close, looked deep into those mesmerizing brown eyes of hers, and said, “There’s something I want to tell you.”

She frozen momentarily, a look of regret over having come talk to me came over her face. She drew in a deep breath, and held it anxiously.

“You know, I’ve never just simply told you how much I admire you, and respect you. I think you are a fascinating woman, and……..and I just wanted to tell you that.”

She stared up into my eyes. She seemed to be searching for the sincerity of my words. She then exhaled slowly, reached out, and without saying a word, embraced me. Oh, how she embraced me. I put my arms around her. It felt good, it felt needed, warm. I closed my eyes. I smelled her hair. We let go, and when I looked into her eyes again, they were red and moist.

She said, “Thank you. You have no idea how much it means for me to hear that.”

She then laughed, and began to wipe away the tears from her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” I said awkwardly, “if I would have known you would….”

“Oh, no, no, no,” she said. “If you only knew, oh God, if you only knew. It’s a long story. Long story.”

And now, she’s sitting cross-legged, on the floor, right there in front of me, strumming her red guitar.

*****

Late one afternoon, as I was sitting with her and her band during a rehearsal, she blushingly asked if the chord she had just played should have been an A, which was what she strummed, or an A minor. When she was informed that it should have been the latter, she was thankful, some might say vulnerable. But, on another occasion, when she was corrected concerning a chord sequence in a chorus, something in her became unhinged, and it was not pleasant to witness.  Vulnerability gave way to insolence, and at times such as these, whatever she said it was, it was, and to all concerned, that was the end of that. So that afternoon, the chord sequence in the chorus was played incorrectly for the remainder of the rehearsal.

After all these months of watching her, studying her, and now that I was that much closer to her, I was now fully capable of negotiating her minefield. I’d seen what one false step could lead to, and how when that occurred, she was not at all pleasant to be around. And I believed it was for that very reason she liked having me around. 

*****

And that’s why now, right now, with everyone gone, it’s just the two of us. She’s sitting cross-legged, on the floor, strumming her red guitar.

Without looking up, she solemnly declared, “I want no memory of this night.”

Looking down at her, with her messy hair, and the mud, the blood, and her torn dress, I whispered, “I will remember this night for as long as I live.”

She stopped strumming her guitar, and looked up at me. There was no gracious smile. She was not amused.

“What the fuck would you ever want to remember this night?” She demanded.

“…..this was the night that I fell in love with you.”


© Copyright 2017 DougHebert. All rights reserved.

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