Dear Jennifer

Dear Jennifer from the Washington Street Chick-fil-A in Tallahassee, Florida (The tall one with dark hair),

I uh... don't want to come off as some sort of, you know, weirdo or anything. I swear I'm not one of these creepy, stalker types. You can ask any of my ex-girlfriends- they'll tell you I'm a pretty laid-back, healthy, normal guy. Well, they might not all have the best things to say about me, hahaha. Just kidding. Well, maybe not. but I mean, you wouldn't actually be asking them or anything, because that would be weird. And I'm not weird. And anybody... well if you knew me you'd know that. And I know you don't, but I just want to reassure you. Which is just what a psychostalker would say, right? Hahaha. Just kidding. That was probably a bad joke to start off with. Since you don't. I just... I'm not usually like this. Not nervous, usually. I mean, I talk to girls all the time without even giving a shit... well, let me rephrase that, I don't talk to girls all the time; it's not like I'm a player or something; and I care. I said I don't give a shit, but I just meant that I'm usually really relaxed and calm, cool, and collected- not like as in I'm really arrogant, or look down on women or... I... let me start this again.

You probably don't remember me, or maybe you do (I hope you do) but I came into Chick-fil-A last Saturday with two of my friends (I was wearing the yellow t-shirt) and my friends ordered and then they elbowed me while I was still looking up at the menu, and Paul whispered something like, "Give this angel your order" and I looked down and you were standing on the other side of the counter, looking at me. And... when our eyes locked it felt like answering a phone call, like cliff diving into a lake, like finding first gear on a steep hill. My thoughts drained out. Everything was slow and silent, like a man whose eyes are slowly closing as he sinks to the bottom with lungs full of water.

I couldn't say anything for what felt like forever. Paul looked embarrassed. Sean cleared his throat. But you- you smiled. That smile shuddered through me. It circulated through my veins. It danced in the valves. I thought my chest was going to cave in on itself. I thought I was going to implode, and crumble inward until I had fallen into myself, and the janitor was going to have to sweep up my empty clothes and the dust of me that was left over.

Instead I mumbled something about waffle fries. And then Sean insisted we eat outside. And I have no idea what I would have done if I had gone back in. I don't know what I would have said. Maybe I would have asked you out on a ten minute date at the bench across from the drive-thru. And I'll probably never be in Tallahassee again for the rest of my life. But I should have said something. Anything. And I didn't, because I am a coward.

Sebastian Braff


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