“I love you.”
He imagines the relief of finally telling her, the surprise registering in her beautifully narrow but clear eyes, her forehead slightly strained in displeasure. A warmth extends from behind his neck to the front of his face at this very idea.
If he can muster the confidence, he’d tell her after her work shift on Friday. Doing it on a Monday would set the tone all wrong. She might not be able to focus on her job all week. That wouldn’t do.
With a slight start, he shifts in his seat. His phone had fallen off his lap with a loud thud. In the shower, he finds himself staring at the bar of soap, wondering if he’d washed himself, or if he hadn’t (he had). He lathers himself with soap and thinks, with some conviction, that it’s better to be safe than sorry.
That strange sensation of relief and humiliation hits him again. It’d felt more real than things have felt. More real than staring blankly at job briefs. More real than watching his conniving colleagues and how their mouths move. More real than his recent bank statement.
Never mind that he’s only met her twice. Both times she’d walked over to say ‘hi’. He thinks, with worry so slight it’s nearly non-existent, about the ambiguity of her expression and of risking a confession. If not for the outcome, then perhaps for the chance to feel something. Something, anything, to break the past monotony of his recent days.
The energy cuts off. He finds himself alone, cold, naked, slippery. Vulnerable, and covered in soap suds.