I was attending Catholic mass
at St. Hugh's parish, in Carmichales, PA on a warm Saturday evening - the evening before I was to move into my dorm in Pittsburgh
. I chose to sit in the 6th or 7th pew from the back of the Church, as I do every Saturday evening. Nothing was particularly special about that pew
, the pew I was occupying; but, the pew behind me was quite special indeed
I had seen the girl before, in that very same Church, sitting direcly behind me, only weeks before (and probably other times as well). I did not know the girl, yet I often do not know those about whom I dream. The first time I recall noticing her was earlier this year, in that same pew, wearing a light green shirt, and perhaps wearing tan pants. At any rate, when I saw her today, sitting behind me and to the left, she had on a deep pink shirt, dark blue pants, and I seem to remember a brown purse draped over her shoulder. Her wavy hair, a light shade of brown, was pulled back, and she was alone - just as she was the time before.
After I noticed her, my stomach began to fill with knots and butterflies. Who is this girl? She sure is nice looking. Would she talk to me? I've seen her more than once, is it okay to say hello? When could I say something to her, while in a Church? I then felt that, as I thought of these things, I was being condemned to hell. Of course, I should not think about talking to a girl - in Church! A Church girl, to boot! It's the second time this has happened to me.
As mass progressed, I kept my mind on other things - books, stories, even the sermon - but I had to not think about the girl. Almost time for communion. I can make it. No! It's time to shake hands, and wish peace to everyone! Is this my chance? I go to Church alone, so I generally have no one with whom to shake hands - it was the perfect opprotunity. The elderly people to my left were busy shaking and kissing, and I had no one to my right; no one to the front. There was just the girl. Everything else faded out, and it was me, the Church girl, and a distance of about 5 feet between us. Time slowed, I turned 90 degrees to my left, and looked in her eyes. I saw her eyes. I was too nervous to remember anything contextual, like the color of her eys, but I believe they might have been hazel. I gazed into her eyes, and it seemed she was begining to extend her hand. I could touch her! My heart fluttered. My hand jerked...
...it jerked in the wrong direction, and I turned around to face the front of the Church.
I could not do it. I could not reach out to shake this girl's hand. It was as if I was stuck outside of a great Faraday cage, and could not extend myself further than a few inches. I did not shake her hand. I was a coward.
"The mass is ended; go in peace."
And so we did. I made to exit on the left of the pew, as I anticipated she would do the same (she was sitting at the end of her pew). She did no such thing! She was running from me! Sigh. I exited the building, but I watched her as I walked, until she was out of my sight. When I was outside of the Church, I saw her coming out of the side door. One last look at the Church girl.
I climbed in my vehicle, and pulled out of the parking lot. I drove a few blocks to the gas station, and filled up the tank. Tomorrow is Mother's Day. I need to buy Mommy something. Flowers! Not only does she like them, but they are easy to buy, they smell nice, and they look attractive. I would simply stop at the Giant Eagle on the way home.
The Giant Eagle is a few miles North of the Church, on the way to my house. I parked my car in the lot, got out, locked the doors, and headed towards the entryway.
I walk into the store.
I see her.
She is buying flowers, presumably for her Mother, too.
A second chance to introduce myself - but how? OH NO! If I would have shaken her hand in Church, I could have EASILY introduced myself to her now! WHY? WHY DID I CHOOSE NOT TO SHAKE HER HAND?
I felt the angst of the situation, yet, there was still a chance. I could say "Hey, I saw you in Church a few times" and make a stalker of myself, or, I could wait for her to say something. She had to of seen me. She must have!
I picked up a bouquet of carnations, and to stall time I searched around for more flowers. I ended up purchasing half the flowers in the store. Oh! She was no where to be seen! I'll check out.
I headed to the checkout line - the one in the flowers/crafts area. Unfortunately, I was waited on immeadiately. Drat! I can't stand here and wait forever. No! There she is! She walked out from behind an aisle, and sauntered off into the flowers. She was carrying a bouquet, similar to the one I was purchasing.
She disappeared. She was moving so quickly. Was she as nervous as I? Why was I nervous?
I signed for the purchase, and picked up my mass of flowers, and made for the exit.
She was gone.
I was leaving.
I got into my car, and made for home. I looked at the store as I was pulling out, half expecting her to run out of the doors, chasing after me, wanting to introduce herself.
It didn't happen.
During the short ride home, I tried to justify my cowardice by telling myself that she is probably in a relationship already, or, perhaps she did not even see me. I needed a way to rationalize my inaction.
As I write this, just as I thought as I was crossing the bridge to get to my home, I thought to myself:
I should have shaken her hand.