I had my first swimming lesson at the YMCA in my neighborhood and I swear to you- my swimming instructor is my new inspiration for Josh, the good guy in my work in progress. He’s completely different from how I thought I’d play him. I was going to go with a handsome mix of black and Korean, college student, son of her optometrist. But, after meeting my swim instructor I was totally smitten by his attention and kindness for each of us. The new Josh is a tall, skinny, normal good guy 18 year old- the total opposite of sexy green eyed Troy. He’ll have graduated a year ahead of Libby. I wish I had a picture to share. Here’s a part of what I wrote today.
Again, the tense is all over the place because its the first draft. I’m all over the place because its the first draft.
“I haven’t been avoiding you. I’ve just been really busy.” Really busy, avoiding you.
“Yeah, doing what?” He sat in the chair across from me, his back impossibly straight and arms folded in front of him. He looks genuinely interested in what I have actually been doing. I probably shouldn’t mess this up by lying to him.
“Causing my world to fall apart.” Before I could think better of it, I am spilling my guts to her about the events of the past months. His face remains still except for his eyebrows which change with each degree of concern (when I tell him about the fight Michelle and I had) or shock (when I tell him about walking on Troy and Carmen). His only vocal contribution is the guffaw that escapes when I tell him about Troy’s grandmother’s attempt ot feed me and refusal to allow me to leave after walking in on Troy. His laughter begins to melt my resolve to stay angry with myself for ruining my own life.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” I said, “This wasn’t how things were supposed to go.”
Josh simply nodded his head and said, “That sounds really difficult for you.” He didn’t even offer an “I’m sorry to hear that.” Irritation tickled the back of my throat, but I wasn’t sure if I was irritated at him for his lack of concern or myself for sounding like a whiner. “But I think I’ve found you at just the right time in your life.”
The irritation turned from a tickle to a scratch. Hadn’t he just heard my story? How could this be the right time of anyone’s life? I had no life.
“Hear me out,” he continued. “I know your dad is against you receiving any kind of treatment or resources, but I was wondering if you’re interested anyway.”
The mention of my dad only worked to remind me of his Rapunzel stunt of keeping me from the dance which allowed Troy to cheat on me. “Sure, yeah, I’m interested.” I tried to smile at my form of defiance.
He looked at me skeptically. “Don’t you want to know the details?”
Oh, yeah. “Okay, hit me.”
He tapped his fingers on my hand. “Done.”
I couldn’t help but smile. “I didn’t mean actually ‘hit me’ I just meant…”
“I know what you meant. I just wanted to see you smile.” I smiled again.