Girl Across The Hall

by Mitchell Harding

Early Spring 1999

Me: [Writing play. Girl sits down across hall.]
Girl: [Makes eye contact with me.]
Me: [Unable to break eye contact. Smiles. Laughs.]
Girl: [Looks nervous, doesn't smile.]
Me: [Sensing awkwardness, looks back down and keeps writing.]
Girl: [Looks up at me again, either curious or scared.]
Me: [Stares earnestly at notebook.
Girl: [Studies her book.]
Me: [Surreptitiously glances at her.]
Girl: [Definitely paying attention, but not being too obvious.]
Me: Look. I don't know why, when we made eye contact, I laughed. You weren't smiling, it was awkward, so I laughed. I looked down so quickly because you seemed to be embarassed or confused or nervous or something. Then this whole thing snowballed out of control. And finally I decided to say this, because it seemed like some crazy pressure was building up between us, and eventually I had to speak. So I'm sorry if I caused you distress or worried you or anything. I was just trying to give you a friendly smile, and now here I am.
Girl: [Doesn't speak and just looks at me.]
Me: And now here I am.
Girl: [Same.]
Me: I'll write my play, then.
Girl: [Same.]
Me: [Writes play.]

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