Floating Ladders1
By Steven Hendrix

“That’s me,” she says, circling her head with her hand,
“A no guy zone.” And she laughs at her joke.
And her friend laughs, too.

I don’t laugh. I stand paralyzed by an unsolvable conundrum,
trying to determine what exactly I am.

I had come to celebrate her birthday with her (without her),
invited by my friends who were her friends,
and I liked to think that we too were friends,
because it made me feel better
about who I was and who I could be.

I watched her all night from a close distance
without letting her see I was watching her,
without being creepy about watching her (if that’s even possible).
My friends left me alone to watch her,
she left me alone to watch her (which perhaps made us friends after all).

Her friend’s question that had prompted her response:
“Really? No guys have asked you on a date in months?”

I had asked her out last week.

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