Your heart beats so hard you’re sure you can see the feathers of your necklace moving,
and so you try the Buddhist technique of noticing three times
I am nervous,
you acknowledge to yourself gently.
I am nervous,
I am nervous.
But your heart is still pounding, so you turn to your default technique and that is to just not show it.
It’s OK to feel nervous, you say to yourself (treating yourself as you do now with kindness and grace). Just make sure you don’t show it.
And so you put on what you hope is your most pleasant smile and you breathe deep,
As you wait for not him,
but his best friend,
to join you and yours for dinner.
And he comes and you two are introduced,
never having formally met,
though having known two very significant people in his life for years you know way more about him than a stranger would and you wonder if it’s the same for him,
yet never having formally met you extend your arm for a handshake,
which he grabs and pulls forward into some kind of you-sitting/him-standing awkward hug
and you wonder if this is because he’s heard so much about you,
or if he’s just a warm person
(but your brain tells your heart it’s the latter).
And so you find yourself sitting across from a now-noticeably empty chair
as they talk about shared history and God,
(him having undergone some sort of spiritual awakening recently).
And as you listen to him talk about atoms and Adam and Atun, the first man,
you think of one man, though you hope your face looks pleasant, or at least neutral.
I hope he tells him he saw me, you think, never having got your moment, as you so deserve, where he realizes he was a fool for having let you go.
I hope he tells him I look good.