by Benjamin Jacob Blattberg

“So, what do you think?” she finished her speech. Her voice and her manner were just as sweet as they were in real life. The speech she had just finished had a definite theme to it: she had a crush on someone, and it wasn’t me. This person was a friend of mine, and that was what had won me the honor of this phone call. She didn’t even know him, but she had liked him for years. She asked me if he likes girls, which I had to answer truthfully:

“No.”

But I had to explain that, damn my conscience.

“I mean, like, he does, but not in a practical way. Like, he doesn’t want a relationship, or anything even close. Sorry.”

“Well that’s okay.” Doubtful that she meant that. “It’s just that I wanted to see if I should give up.”

“Yeah, but you know you won’t. I could tell you there was no hope, no chance, but there’d still be a part of you that said there was hope.” Experience told me this was true. “You want me to tell you that there’s nothing you can do, s o you won’t feel bad when you do nothing. ‘Cause whenever you see him, there’s gonna be this yelling voice that’s like screaming at you to do something, to walk up to him, to talk to him, to do anything.” Why did I say this? Why? “But there’s always t his equal and opposite reaction, fear, that’s like telling you not to because it won’t work, be cause you’ll make a fool of yourself, because something won’t go perfect. You want me to tell you there’s nothing there so you won’t feel bad. But it doesn’t matter. Every time you see him you’ll go through that. And every night, before you go to sleep, and after you go to bed, you’ll have these dreams, these daydreams, not real, like, subconsciously fashioned dreams, but hope dreams, the things you want. Those dreams where he’s lying next to you in your big, empty bed, and he’s holding you or he’s kissing you, or he’s touching you, and maybe more. Or maybe you’re just thinking about tomorrow-maybe you’ll see him, and you’re thinking that he’ll drop a bo ok, and you’ll pick it up, he’ll smile and introduce himself-like you don’t know his name already-and you’ll start talking and he’ll reveal that he dropped the book on purpose, so he could talk to you, because secretly he’s liked you forever and then even tually you’ll end up in each other’s arms. Or maybe you’re reviewing today, thinking what if I had done this or this. But this is just a dream. It’s all like that.” I paused, reviewing all I had said. “Sorry.”

The other end of the phone line was quiet for a time. And I knew everything I said was true, not only for her, but for me. And tonight I would dream of her soft, warm skin, but that was as close as I would ever get.