Nashville, TN, Valentine’s Day, 2012

Yesterday was February 13 and when Lewis got home from work he asked me, “so did you get any dates for Valentine’s Day?” I hadn’t. “And you?” I said. He hadn’t either.

I spent most of the morning and the afternoon of the 14th writing. Not this, but something else. I am starting to feel as if I don’t get out enough, but I’m not sure of what to do instead of staying in. Don’t worry, there have been times in my life when I faced the opposite dilemma. Whichever way it is flipped, it remains a dilemma. If only peace would just enter my soul.

Before heading out to run errands I wanted to take another stroll up Lover’s Park and have thoughts about loneliness, but there wasn’t enough time. Now you’re spared from those thoughts.

My errand was to ride my bike over to 12th Ave South and visit Savant Couture, the vintage store where the pretty girl works. Ostensibly I was there to follow up about employment. There were two young girls there, among them the girl from last time. The other girl warrants no special remarks, other than that she had bright red hair. The owner wasn’t around. The first girl, the one from last time that is, reminded me that her name was Anna and greeted me pleasantly, shaking my hand. She was happy to see me.

I had schemed, admittedly (why wouldn’t I admit it?), about asking her out, but I didn’t have a plan. The presence of someone else disconcerted me. I didn’t, and still don’t, want other people to see me flirting and playing my games. I see myself through their eyes, and their eyes see a fatuous, indelicate person with his head in his ass.

Since the owner wasn’t there, I wrote down my number on a piece of paper and handed it to the the other girl. Perhaps I should have handed it to the first girl. I said, “how is everyone? It’s valentine’s day.” I knew I could use this to start up a little banter. “I’m okay,” one of them said halfheartedly, I can’t remember which, which seems like an important detail. The other responded in a similar manner. “How are you?” Anna said. “Oh, I’m fine,” I said, as if it didn’t bother me at all that I was alone on Valentine’s day. The thought occurred to me that they might have assumed I was fine because I wasn’t single. I dropped the bomb, so to speak. I considered about running with the whole V-day thing some more, but my store of clever things to say was empty; and besides, the other girl was there, still disconcerting me.

Instead of simply leaving I went upstairs to look through the men’s clothing, where perhaps, now alone, a witty remark or a charming line would come to me. But my store was still decidedly empty. I need to work on restocking it. I looked at myself in the mirror several times and fixed my hair. I looked okay, but would have liked to look better. When I got back downstairs I said goodbye and stood there a few moments, hoping for a last minute flash of inspiration. Nothing. Then outside I stood in the fresh winter air, contemplating the matter. Did I even want a date, after all?