At least you asked!
Katie’s words. It’s not the first time I’ve heard them, or a variation of them.
You’re so brave.
I think it’s awesome when a girl asks for what she wants.
But now you know, there is no more what if.
I just want to stop right here and say this isn’t a pity party. So change the tone you’re reading this in right now.
Rejection. It’s inherent in our lives. Our ideas, our words, our attempts at kindness, our attempts at rudeness; they get deflected. Someone looks the other way, someone pretends they didn’t hear you, they are too caught in their own world to even notice or register the dejected look on your face.
The first time I got called brave, I was standing opposite an espresso machine. I was already shaking, both from withdrawals of the copious amounts of Rekorderlig and Corona consumed the previous night and from the adrenaline of the beautiful boy that stood on the other side of the machine, steaming milk for my latte. He was seeing someone he’d said. I gave him the out, I intentionally placed the clause into my advance so that I could save us both an awkward moment. Yet I felt so awkward I was shaking for at least thirty minutes after. I know he felt awkward too. I refused to avoid that coffee shop, I couldn’t let him think he was the only reason I was there. He moved away eventually and that was the end. We’ll never know what he really thought.
You never know if you don’t try. I actually said those words. To him. My attempt to alleviate the situation. The pride of being told I was brave drastically outweighed the embarrassment of rejection.
The subsequent times, in the face of failure, I got the same reassurance of my bravery, but each time there was an inkling of understanding of why these people standing on the sidelines and calling me brave were in fact, on the sidelines.
The coffee date, ugh, what got me more was the intentional ignorance to my existence afterward. Living in the same suburb, bravery doesn’t always get you the upper hand.
But this one, this one goes out to all of you. To the boy that made my coffee, to the boy who chose his lonely bed over mine, to the boy who was suddenly seeing someone else, to the boy whose botched coffee date erased my existence; this one is for you. Because if any of you were to make it to The Book, this one will always be the one to remind me just what joy you can find in a rejection.
I was the important one. It was a writer thing.
I hate being the important one. I never want to take advantage. Half of the time I sit there and say how I’ve always wanted to visit this place, then I question my professionalism.
They were attempting to pamper me and I was just trying to get the story, but since it was a hot night I said I’d sit for a wine. I turned to pick a table, an intimate one in the corner, unassuming, I don’t like being assuming. That was when I saw him. I don’t think I really heard another word that they said, and I hope they didn’t notice because they really took such good care of me.
I thought he was leaving and I saw my chances going out the window. I was reminded of the two other times I saw a celebrity and didn’t ask. I couldn’t pass this one up. He’s my favourite singer.
And there he was; the man bun and the beard. He had his Listen Out t-shirt on, he was a dead giveaway.
As he walked by my table, I stumbled over every single word. I didn’t know what I was asking when I said excuse me, and it just all came out at once. When he said no, I had foreseen the answer. And I instantly wished I’d played it cooler. Why didn’t I just say hey, love your work and leave it at that? Who asks for a photo these days? Fan girls, that’s who. I thought you were cooler than that.
If I hadn’t already asked the doting waiter for a glass of Pinot Gris, I likely would’ve bolted then and there. The local family next to me silently judging. Him and his mate directly in my sightline.
Look important, be a writer now.
So I did. And when I finally drained the last drop of wine, I thanked the staff for their kindness and I ran into the nearest taxi, and away from my risk of running into anyone that I might have to acknowledge.
But as I sit here now and I contemplate whether the words spoken directly to me, and the look into my eyes are actually a win in the face of it all.
And I have to ask… who paid for their bill that night? I know I didn’t. Does that make me the bigger deal?
Until next time Chet.