by Savannah Rush

If I could be selfish with him, I imagine it would look something like this:

We’re at a random bar on a Thursday night, except they close at eleven instead of ten, and we have time. 

I take slow sips of my gin and tonic as he reenacts an encounter he had recently, with all the carefully chosen details and theatrics of a top-notch storyteller. There are several moments when his delivery has me leaning back in laughter, and he smiles as I pull myself upright, resting my arm atop the bar while I catch my breath. I savor the chill of the marble against my skin that’s now flushed from the liquor, even more so from the sound of his voice. 

I’m captivated by the sight of him in a simple black t-shirt and am just tipsy enough that I consider telling him that. Instead, I settle for a different truth, a confession that has less to do with the way he looks and more to do with how he makes me feel.   

“I really love that you make me laugh,” my voice is quieter than I expect, but he hears me. This is when the witty and subtle, flirty banter should kick in. But I don’t want the desire that starts in the eyes to remain there, so I don’t wait for him to answer. “I know I’m not good enough for you, but I want to be.” He looks away for a moment, no doubt caught off guard and probably a bit surprised by my admission, before looking back at me. 

“What makes you think that?” His voice is soft—softer than I deserve, so I tell him everything: how my first love shattered me, and all the damage I’ve caused on the path to healing. Every selfish attempt, every lover who reached for me, and every time I pulled them in as if I had no intention of letting them go. 

How reckless I can be in the pursuit of love. 

Can be.

He says nothing as I steady my elbow on the counter and rest my cheek against my palm, feeling somewhat vulnerable but also exhausted. We’ve never been here before, a step beyond the familiar but still on the cusp of something new. This is why I look down, away, anywhere but at him because I can’t even imagine how he would respond. But I do know, deep in my heart, what I would want, and it’s this very yearning that shapes what happens next. 

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Author Bio

I’m a small-town writer from New Jersey eagerly pursuing an MFA in creative nonfiction. When I’m not struggling at the keyboard, I can often be found wandering the city or making new friends on the T, but I’m almost always consuming an overpriced coffee while doing so.