The Girl You Knew Wasn’t Perfect


You see her dominating the conversation; her story is funny and personal in a self-deprecating kind of way. You now know more about her than the girl you’ve spent the last twenty minutes trying to chat up. You find yourself losing interest in the girl in front of you, and you ears linger to what this new female is saying.

She’s smart, you can tell that straight away. Her confidence intimidates you and her conviction makes you know that what she says is true. She’s in control. You watch her manipulate the men around her. She’s interested and engaged in their responses, but firmly retaining the role of primary interlocutor.

She sees you watching her, she holds your gaze. She doesn’t smile, she rarely will.

But she’s noticed you.

The conversation is redirected into something she doesn’t know or care about. Her aura diminishes; the powerful atmosphere that surrounded her dissipates, she retreats into herself. You keep watching her. She knows you’re looking, she knows you’re trying to figure her out. She won’t look up at you now, not when she’s like this. She takes out her phone in the middle of everyone and starts to scroll through Facebook, she’s alienated now, she’s alone, she’s detached.

She’s beyond your grasp.

But then you spot her come to life once more; she heard something to which she could reply with a witty quip, she takes control of the conversation again. Everyone’s looking at her, they’re nodding, her phone is back in her bag and they’re all laughing and her gestures are large and her voice fills the room and then she stops again.

And then she retreats. She leaves to go to the bathroom. She didn’t need to pee she just wanted to get away for all the people she didn’t know, from all the people she had to present to. She’s been presenting a version of herself she knew you’d like, that you’d respond to.

She sits on the toilet seat and scrolls through her phone; she looks at herself in the mirror and reapplies her lipstick. It’s bright red. It compliments and contrasts with her green eyes. You want her to look at you with those eyes.

You wonder if her affection oscillates as readily as her attention.

You aren’t sure which version you like more, the domineering extrovert or the alienated introvert. The one terrifies you and the other one you want to save.

She doesn’t need you to save her.

Eventually she comes to talk to you. She knows you’re interested. She knows she has you. You looked at her across the room and wanted her to smile.

You know she’s a contradiction. You know it’s all for show. But you can’t pinpoint which version is real, she played both with such conviction.

Her glass is empty and she doesn’t want another one. You wonder if she’s often drunk, if she’s ever out of control. You don’t think that she is.

She’s got you and she knows it. Her pauses are a little longer than they have to be and she holds your eyes a little longer than she should but not long enough to make you feel uncomfortable. There’s something about those eyes and the way they almost, but not quite, glare at you. A part of you feels like she doesn’t like you at all, that you’re merely being tolerated.

You wonder if those eyes often cry, you think they do.

You realize she’s a person of extremes. You know you won’t have balance with her. But you don’t think you’ll care. It won’t be easy but if she chooses you she’ll give you everything. She’ll probably never walk away.

You don’t know which version you like more, but there’s an aversion to find out.

She’s complicated, she’s messy, she’ll always be right and that scares you.

She’ll take no prisoners if you go to war.

She’ll cry when you aren’t looking.

You look at the contradiction in front of you and imagine the tumultuous love affair that will ensue if you ask her for her number.

You’ve imagined what her tongue would taste like even though you know she’s not going to kiss you.

She looks at you with those olive green eyes and she runs her finger over her brow so you can’t help but notice them. She brushes her fringe from her face.

She takes out her phone and checks the time. It’s late and her attention is waning.

She walks away and you do too.

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