An Aggressive Waltz

“I found you,” he said clearly proud of himself. “Remember me?”

I was almost too surprised to speak. “Wow. Hi. Yeah. I remember.” The night before we’d met in the bar down the street from my apartment.

“I lost your number and forgot your name, but I remembered where you work,” he said, and looked at my JC Penney name tag. In a fit of I’m-tired-of-my-dateless-life I’d agreed to let him walk me home from the bar at one in the morning.

“It’s nice to see you,” I said. I’d told him I like to dance, and he decided we should dance in the middle of the street. He knew the waltz. Now in the store he grinned. “What time do you get off work?”

Of course, he’d wanted to do more than waltz on the yellow line, but I’d said no. I wasn’t that tired of my dateless life. “Nine o’clock,” I said. When he’d written my phone number on his hand, I expected him to wash it off without thinking about me.

“Can I take you out for ice cream then?” he asked, standing at my register. “You said you liked ice cream.”

I looked to see if my manager was around, but it was a slow night. “That’s be fine. Sure,” I said.

“Great! I remember where you live,” he said. “Oh, and hey, I’m sorry if I was pushy last night. I just have an aggressive personality.”

I turned red. “Oh, that. Well, you did leave, so it’s fine. It wasn’t a problem.” I thought about how stupid I was to leave the bar with him in the first place. I knew better. Although I still didn’t know a lot–I was flattered that he’d bothered to find me.

they are thrilled I'm taking their picture in the JC Penney parking lot
they are thrilled I'm taking their picture in the JC Penney parking lot

My friends were shocked and thrilled I had a date of any kind while I wondered if he’d really show up. The word aggressive zipped around in my head like a gnat for the rest of the night.

In fiction, characters often want two contradictory things. She wants attention. She wants to be safe. In the light of a bar, one choice may seem attractive. In the light of the mall, perhaps another. The other characters may be unsure what to wish for her. Yes! Go live a little. Wait! Be careful.

Some stories have a villain who wants to stop the character from making the right choice. Consequences schmonsequences! You know what you’re doing. Then there is the villain that is the character’s own mind. Should I or shouldn’t I? Yes. No. Somewhere in all that dithering the trouble really starts.

7 thoughts on “An Aggressive Waltz

  1. Sleep is no respite from questions.
    Nor memory of actual events.
    Nor fantasy about what if.
    As i, what of a young woman enters her brother’s room to steal a bottle of marbles?

    Sleep was for before there was story to write.
    Now what passes for sleep is working on other levels.

  2. “Dithering.” One of my all-time favorite words. (And probably unfortunately, one of my — and my characters’ — all-time favorite pastimes.)

  3. I love that – the villain in the character’s head. I never thought of it as a villain, but you are absolutely right.

    I have to chuckle at what we have in common – I, too, worked in a photo shop and at a department store (twice) when I was young. All I have to say is – beware of the security guards.

  4. Pingback: Sell Yourself « writing in the water

  5. Pingback: False Starts and Unsatisfying Ends « writing in the water

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