The next day, we decide to try that beer-tasting place Scott suggested. Since driving with Lindsey didn’t work out quite as planned yesterday, I ask Scott if I can try again today. He agrees as long as there’s enough hours in between that I’m completely sober again. That’s why we go pretty much right when the place opens, around eleven in the morning. It’s a bit early for beer, but it’s a new experience for me, and I’m trying to step out of my comfort zone a bit.
The whole time Scott keeps doing things that make me laugh. I find myself wondering if he got funnier in these last five years, but then I think about his explanation to me, describing how he can be playful now that he’s healed from Christian’s death. It seems right. He was never this funny when we were together before. But he was pretty goofy before Christian died. That's one of the reasons I fell so hard for him.
And yeah, of course I’m attracted to it, but every time I start leaning into that, my brain reminds me he left me for five years. Five years where I wondered what was wrong with me.
But nothing was. He’s been making that fairly clear at least. He’s been putting everything on him. As he should be.
That’s what I’m thinking about as he holds up a pint glass to his eyes and crosses them behind it so they look silly. I do it back, so we’re both staring at each other through pint glasses, and his smile shines, and I want this for the rest of my life.
Too bad we live about a thousand miles away from each other.
A few hours of sobering later, I’m at Lindsey’s school again, picking her up. We do the same dance as yesterday where I let her take over the driver’s seat, and I take hold of the ceiling handle. She pauses, her hand resting on the shifter. It’s so long of a pause that I finally look at her. She’s staring down at where her hand is, then glances up at me.
“Are you still up for paying for my ice cream today?”
I watch her eyes dart away, embarrassed.
“Of course,” I answer, a little shocked at the notion of her wanting to go get ice cream with me after what transpired between us yesterday.
“Cool,” she says, starting to drive out of the school parking lot and mastering the stop sign as we pull out.
Is it possible something I said actually reached her?
We arrive at the ice cream shop safely, parking in the same spot as yesterday, but we choose a different booth when we walk in. I still opt for the banana marshmallow sundae, and Lindsey goes for one with raspberries and chocolate. After we order, I decide to let her start talking first.
It takes her a minute, a minute of checking her phone three times and staring at me awkwardly, but eventually she says, “You asked if you could read some of my stuff.”
I nod. “Yes, I did.”
“Do you still want to?” She puts her hands under the table, no doubt nervously fidgeting. I think she feels the need to hide those natural things to seem as put-together as possible. And to be honest, she definitely inherited that from Christian.
I keep my voice even and calm. “If you’re willing to share them with me.”
She hoists her backpack up from the floor, and it suddenly makes sense why she brought her backpack in with her. “There’s only one that I think is decent enough to share.”
“I doubt that, but I’d love to read whatever you’re willing to give me,” I reply as she rustles through different papers until she finally yanks one out.