I don’t usually notice girls.
Okay, you got me, I notice girls. But not so much that I’ll stare at them for several moments before I can drag my eyes away. When a girl catches my eye, I usually stare at her only long enough to note several things: (a) what her face looks like, (b) what shape her body is, and (c) whether she’s smiling or not. Believe me, the whole smiling thing is important. It tells me that they’re approachable, and might be worth talking to.
So when this particular girl walked into The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf this afternoon, I wouldn’t have given her another thought if it weren’t for one thing–she had under her arm a copy of the fourth Percy Jackson book, the Battle of the Labyrinth. I don’t usually care what other people are reading, but this particular book is my favorite in the series, and I don’t know a lot of people who read Percy Jackson. Most people I know just watched the film and actually liked it. Sure, Logan Lerman and Brandon T. Jackson were great, but the books were way way better.
Anyway, the girl walked up to the counter and ordered a drink and some cake. I couldn’t hear exactly what she ordered–not that I was trying to, mind you–and, after paying and grabbing the CBTL pager, she looked at me and walked in my direction. At least, that was what I thought she did. Apparently, she was eyeing the empty chair at the table next to mine.
She sits on the empty chair and sets her things down on the table neatly. By that time, I was already staring unabashedly. Sure, the book might have been what caught my eye at first but despite that, this girl is a veritable head-turner. She wore skinny jeans that weren’t black but also weren’t quite gray, a black shirt, a pink cardigan, and a pair of combat boots. Maybe, when she was choosing what to wear, she wanted to be ready to either charm someone’s socks off or stomp their face in–whatever the situation warranted.
She caught me staring.
As I’ve mentioned in my last post, I had a copy of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods at the time. She looked at me, then at the book I was holding, and she smiled. I thought my brain would melt.
I’ve known terror. I’ve been in pretty horrible situations–I’ve ziplined over valleys, dived from cliffs, and been chased by rabid dogs. Who knew that a pretty girl dragging her chair to my side would incite so much fear in me?
She sat beside me–I thought my heart would jump out of my mouth–and she said, “Nice book. Pretty long, pero maganda pa din [but still great].”
I think I said something very intellectual like, “Hmm-hunuh mupah hnnggg”.
Instead of giving me a look that proved I was being an idiot, she actually smiled at me like I was a lost puppy that needed love. Her hair was in a messy ponytail, and a few loose strands framed her face on both sides. Her eyes were coal black, filled with laughter and warmth. A mole, lonely and out of place, stood out on her neck, just below the jawbone.
She pointed again at my book. “I said that’s a good book. Much like the one I’m reading. Same premise, right? Gods from different cultures still exist and all that?”
Only with extreme effort was I able to answer. It was worth it though. We talked for hours on end. I talked to her about my favorite scenes from the Percy Jackson books–how Percy met Calypso, Annabeth being jealous, Mrs. O’Leary, etc. She talked to me about how college is treating her, what she’s gonna do after graduation, her favorite scenes from American Gods, other Rick Riordan books, etc.
We met at about half past one in the afternoon. The sun was starting to set when she finally said that she had to go, that she was already running late for a class. While she was saying goodbye, she kept dropping hints that I only interpreted when she was already long gone.
I forgot two important things because I was so distracted by how awesome she is, and I’m never going to forgive myself. Of all the things to forget, I forget those two. I know, I know, I am an idiot. As Percy Jackson might have explained it, I felt like one of Apollo’s sacred cows–slow, dumb, and bright red.
I forgot to ask her what her name is. And I forgot to ask for her number.