Antisociable - A Tale in Free Verse

by Rhyana Fisher

Every time I turn around
you are there.
A glance from the corner of my eye
and I see you staring
At what?
I'm nobody
but you ARE staring.

I check my skirt.
Is it tucked
in my nylons?
I check my face.
Is there egg left over
from breakfast
spotting my chin?

Your eyes follow
my movements.
I drop my notepads.
Papers fly everywhere.
Red of face,
I scoop them up
and rearrange them.
Still you watch.

I toy with my pen
It flies across the room.
I sink into my chair
and pretend it wasn't me,
knowing if I check
you'll be grinning.

Frustrated and antsy,
I wait impatiently to escape,
growing angry.
You have no right
to upset my equilibrium.
I daydream
of scathing remarks...
but in the end
I'll just ignore you,
as usual.

Time for lunch, finally!
I reach for my purse
only to drop it
and watch helplessly
as it gets kicked across the room
in the mad stampede for the door.
This really isn't my day.

The room clears out.
I pounce on my wayward purse
and rush to escape
only to be stopped
by a hand on my shoulder.
"This is yours I think."
Warning bells clang deafeningly
within my skull
as I turn.

It's you, of course,
holding my best black pen.
Amused brown eyes with gold flecks
meet mine for a moment.
I look away,
snatch my pen,
mumble a thank you,
and leave...
walking fast.

Not fast enough.
I glance back
to make sure I escaped
and suddenly trip,
startled by your proximity.
You snatch my arm.
"Careful, if you fall here
you'll be trampled."
Like it's any of your business!
Fuzzy tinglies race up my arm,
making it hard to think.

Warning bells clamor to a halt
only to be replaced
by wailing sirens.
I attempt to step away
but you won't let go,
you just step with me.
I need distance.
Don't you know
you're stealing my oxygen?
That's why
I can't think straight.

Thru the din,
I realize you spoke.
Questioning, I look up
"Off to lunch aren't you?"
I nod
then curse silently,
realizing my mistake.
But lies come not readily to me,
usually a good thing
but not now.
"Good, me too."

You chatter on
as I listen with half an ear,
desperately searching
for a way to extricate myself
without being rude.
Too late,
we're at the lunch room.
Finally you let go.
I breathe a sigh of relief
and slip away,
snag my food,
then make my way to
my usual corner.
You disappear,
engulfed by your friends.

Free at last!
Surely my day
will go back to normal now!
I pull out the latest book
by David Eddings and grin
my first real grin of the day,
happy to be immersing myself
in Pol's intrigues
instead of worrying over
what reality
will throw at me next.

Bad mistake.
As I swallow
a bite of sandwich,
scanning the page,
a hand touches my shoulder.
You again!

I gasp,
Can't breathe,
can't even cough...
just wheeze
and turn purple.
Purple never was my color.
While I struggle for air
wraps their arms around me.
A quick jerk,
I cough up the sandwich,
able to breath again.
Thank God
for the Heimlich Maneuver.

"Are you ok?"
Worried brown eyes
staring (again) intently
but I'm busy studying the floor.
The only good thing
about turning purple
is that at least now
nobody can tell
I'm turning red.
I mumble something
about being fine
and thanks for the Heimlich.
"It was the least I could do."
True enough,
it was your fault in
the first place.

Everyone finally stops
with the staring
as things go back to usual...
you sit down next to me
holding out my book.
It must have gone flying
while I was thrashing.
To think I started out
with such high hopes.
"I didn't know David Eddings
had another book published."

a conversation starts
as we begin comparing authors.
By the end of lunch
my usually empty table
is full of people debating
the merits of Andre Norton
versus Anne McCaffrey.
despite the inauspicious beginning
I'm almost enjoying myself.

There may be hope for this day yet.


Author's Note: Something written about ten years ago to cheer up a friend who was having a bad day. One of those "it could be worse" scenarios. Per usual, needs heavy revisioning.

Posted on 07/16/2011
Copyright © 2021 Rhyana Fisher

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