pleased to meet you 

when he would look back at this moment, he would remember it in slow motion--frame by frame. she was lovely. it was a displaced loveliness, like the commercials hawking tampons or nature's most gentle laxative where beautiful settings and beautiful people get used to set the stage for not-so-beautiful things. everything about the way she looked appeared so natural; her look was a given. as if her beauty was not a hypothesis, not a long-standing theory, but a concrete, empirical fact. if anyone were to be standing next to him at that moment he could ask, "isn't she lovely?" and receive the person's nonchalant reply, "yeah... duh." by just posing such a question, he would prove that he stood on the periphery of what was popular science.

he focused intently on how he was feeling. he wanted the butterflies in the stomach feeling, regardless if it were cliche. what's wrong with a cliche? he didn't want to miss out on whatever other people were commonly feeling. from what he had heard, love was a common sense, and during his entire life up to this point, he had none of it.

paul, his least favorite beatle, had once known the right question to ask:

some people wanna fill the world with silly love songs
and what's wrong with that? i'd like to know

he waited for whatever his sensory organs would give him. would he hear music? see fireworks? was he feeling sparks? or, is it gas? if it's gas, is that love?

his best girlfriend (a friendship with the platonic strength of steel) once told him how a former lover's presence always gave her indigestion. she found those moments early in their relationship exhilarating--even though they were followed by three years of drama and two years of regret, "and one year of expensive therapy," she would add.

if it is love, he thought, he couldn't wait to share with her all the things he kept to himself: that his favorite word was, "subtle," and that he always got a kick out of pronouncing its silent "b." that given the opportunity to laugh until he collapsed to the floor or doubled over with pain from overworked abdominals, he could so easily weep out of simultaneous sadness and happiness that the moment of hilarity was soon to be over. that the animated ghost appearing in the "be right back" commercial segues of the scooby doo cartoon series used to frighten him as a child. that when he wrote, words always gushed out of him--as did his variable emotions--into run-on sentences and that was the reason why he never got into any graduate program in english. that he had never been in a proper "dating scene," but had an open and eager mind to "wing it," and "learn the ropes" as they so commonly say.

cliches were really helping him during those fleeting moments as he watched the vision of loveliness walking by. she was walking up to one of her girlfriends and giving her a hug. he was dying to know what the conversation was about. did her friends appreciate her as much as he felt he could?

"would she ever walk up to me like that?" he wondered. he was determined. for the first time, he was going to try and make someone love him. but first, he would need to get her to know his name.