Dear Girl From Across the Room,
I want to make this short and sweet. Let me explain myself so that you understand that it’s not what you might think it is. Last Sunday, my friend and I went to lunch at Portillo’s in Willowbrook. We were telling stories and laughing our asses off, and probably being a pain in the neck to everyone around us. If anything, we gave off the impression of the douchebag-frat boy type that the Sunday family brunch crowd tries to avoid.
Anyways, I saw you walk in with your family—or people who looked like your family—and I watched from my table as you all sat down on the other side of the room. I wasn’t creeping or anything—it was that simple people-watching kind of look that a person does, done passively or without any conscious thought. But I remember paying attention to the fact that I was paying attention to you. Truth: in the few seconds that this all went down, I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing or what I looked like, sitting here staring past my friend and at you. But I immediately grew conscious of EVERYTHING after I realized that you noticed me—me looking at you. Sort of how when you’re driving on the highway for a while, then zone out and daydream about something else so sweet, forgetting that you’re in the driver’s seat until you need to hit the brakes and find yourself off that normal route and past that exit you were always supposed to take. Something like that.
I don’t know why I’m writing this except that, right after we made eye-contact, I knew that I felt bad and want to make sure that I didn’t hurt you. I think that I may have hurt you because, right after you saw me staring, you turned to the girl beside you—your sister, maybe— and whispered something that made her switch places so that I wasn’t in your direct line of vision. So that, if you looked up—by incident or whatever—there wouldn’t be that risk of me looking at you.
But that’s not how it went down, and let me just put it bluntly: I wasn’t staring at you because of your cancer. Hell, maybe you don’t even have cancer. Or maybe you do, and then I pray you’re doing okay and the prognosis is a good one. If it’s cancer, then I hope you feel loved and are fighting it all for the world. This sounds so half-assed and disingenuous but I want you to know that I WASN’T EVEN THINKING ABOUT THE CANCER—not until it became awkward. In fact, my eyes were fixated on you because I thought you were absolutely beautiful. I don’t need to tell you that, because you don’t need anyone to say it to you. But I’m just going to say it because I want it to be said out loud. You are beautiful. I thought your blueish-green eyes, that bright red lipstick—everything about you including (yes) your bald head, was beautiful. You caught my honest human eye. That is all.
I’m sorry if I made you feel more visible than you want to be, and I hope you didn’t even notice me, if that’s how it would have made you feel. I’m praying that I’m entirely wrong about the situation, and you don’t even know what I’m talking about (and that I’m just being awkward as usual). I hope you had a great Sunday with your family and friends who appreciate you and make you feel loved and beautiful like no one else. I hope I’m just ignorant and that you don’t actually have cancer and, if you do, you’ll survive to share—that beauty and everything else you have to give—with the world. I hope you’ll mean the world to someone for a very, very long time. And please, don’t waste a second thought on the supposed douchebags like me.
But, for what it’s worth, your beautiful eyes captured my passive, desensitized heart for that one split second and—even though you might not have even noticed—I’ll remember that moment.
I hope you are at peace with yourself.
Your Admirer from Across the Room
(Published originally at Medium: https://medium.com/dear-blank/7282965f10b9)