Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"Positively Perfect"

By Meredith LaFrance

She bit her lip. The brief moment of pain proved to be only a small diversion. The moment was still awkward.

They sat side by side on a park bench. The breeze was soft and the sun glimmered through the branches above. Amanda tucked a small tendril behind her ear and accidentally caught her finger on her chandelier earring.

"Ouch," she gasped.

"Are you okay?" Ari took this as the perfect opportunity to play the strong man coming to the aid of the fair damsel in distress. She refused to play along.

"It's no big deal," she insisted sharply. She reached her other hand up to her ear and adjusted the tangled mass of gold links. She really wanted to be somewhere else. Why had Felicity dragged her into this blind date? Ari was beyond boring. He was intolerable.

"Nice evening?" Ari inquired, as if he hadn't the wits to figure it out for himself. "The weather is perfect."

"Nothing is perfect." Amanda decided to draw an argument out of him. If anything, at least they were conversing. The silence was a killer.

"I disagree," argued Ari. "I think that perfection does exist. It may not be perfect to everyone, but I think that when someone is looking at something so indescribably beautiful, the only word for it is perfect." He flipped his hair out of his face and looked directly into her eyes.

"So you associate the word perfect only with beauty? Isn't that a little shallow?" She was playing devil's advocate. It was the least she could do.

"Well, not necessarily." He was coming back at her, rather pathetically, but persistently nonetheless.

"Well," she said. "I think that the word perfect is too constricting. For instance, is I say that this bench is perfect, then what is the Grand Canyon in comparison to this bench? How do I describe its even greater perfection?"

"They're both perfect. You're perfect." His words were sudden and struck her completely off guard.

"Ummm. Ok." She looked down at her hands and then back up into his eyes. "That's a little too forward for me, especially on a first date. You don't even know anything about me."

"I don't need to know anything about you, though," he said. At least not yet. That's what's so perfect about it." He shifted slightly and then rested his chin on his hands as he stared off into the distance. "You hate me, but I think I'm already loving you."

"I never said I hated you." She was offended by this assumption. Perhaps she was being a little too harsh, but she didn't hate him.

"You just seem bored by my presence." He was reading her like a book. She blushed slightly and turned away him. She did not want him to see the shame in her eyes.

"I just don't like that I was thrown into this blind date. That's all. I would much rather have met you under different circumstances." She didn't want to tell him that she really had been bored by his presence, but she didn't want to flat out lie either. She decided to tell part of the truth.

"Then let's pretend we haven't met yet." His suggestion surprised her.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, if it's all about the circumstances, we can change things around. You go over there to the swing set and I'll go get a drink from the water fountain. Then I'll walk over to you and we can meet for the first time." His enthusiasm was catching and she culdn't help but let a little smile cross her lips.

"Fine then," she said. She rose from the bench and walked away from him. This was definitely unlike any date she had ever gone on.

When she reached the swing set she removed her sweater and wiped away the evening dew that had formed. Then she sat down and scuffed her shoes in the dirt. She brushed her hair out of her face and looked up to search for Ari. He was casually sipping from the drinking fountain, as if she didn't even exist. She shook the heavy chains on the swing and then began to push herself back and forth. She closed her eyes and tilted her face upward.

"Hello." His voice startled her. Her feet hit the ground with a soft clump and she sat up. There he was.

"Hi." It really was as if they were seeing each other for the first time.

"My name is Ari." He leaned against one of the polls supporting the swing set.

"I'm Amanda."

"I couldn't help but notice you. I really didn't want to disturb you. You looked so happy and relaxed, as if nothing in the world mattered." His eyes seemed to see right through her. She couldn't believe this was the same boy she had been fidgeting next to only minutes before.

"I like to swing." She felt dumb the second the words escaped her mouth, but he didn't seem to notice.

"Would you like to go out?" He ran his hand through his dark shaggy hair.

"Sure. Let's go for a walk." She rose from the swing.

"Perfect evening, isn't it?" he asked.

"Yes," she said with a smile, "positively perfect."

Writer Meredith LaFrance will attend the University of Oregon in Eugene next fall. Currently, she lives in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

1 comment:

joniwriter said...

charming, delightful, "perfect" little story. it made me smile. thank you. Joan