Got on the bus this morning. No Goth Girl. So no material for the day.
OR SO I THOUGHT.
A few stops later, Goth Boy got on the bus. No Goth Girl. I have never seen him when she is not on the bus.
And then HE SAT NEXT TO ME!!!
Unfortunately, he was a little bit stinky. He needs better deodorant and could probably wash his t-shirt. And - this sounds really mean but it was true - his breath was a little bit bad. I suspect he rolled out of bed, threw on his clothes from yesterday, and walked out of the house without bothering - or having time for - with the things that the rest of us feel compelled to do as grown-ups: we take a shower and brush our teeth not because we like to do so but because we fear ridicule and the impact to our careers. Some people, of course, are so good at what they do that they can be horribly ungroomed, but the rest of us are pretty fungible and must conform to the non-optional (mostly non-optional) social conventions.
I sat reading my book, wondering what to do. Should I put myself in the story? A good reporter doesn't do that.
But I am not a good reporter. I am not bound by those rules.
I put myself in the story.
Me: Do you not have school every day?
Me: Sorry. I'm nosy. I notice who is on the bus and who is not. Sometimes you are on and sometimes you aren't. I just wondered if you have school every day.
GB: On Tuesdays, we have classes online.
Me: Oh! And I have never seen you on the bus before without that girl.
Me: She is very cute.
GB: We're just friends.
I could swear he said this sadly. He was not smiling when he spoke. I am not that great at reading body language, but I guess I am better than some people. My boss started having weekly meetings with everyone in the office. He told me how much everyone loves the meetings.
I answered, "Are you kidding me? They HATE them!"
"How can you tell?" he asked.
I answered, "Because half of them sit there with their arms crossed and won't give you answers other than 'fine' when you ask how their work is going. Two of the people don't even sit at the table, even though there is room. They sit at the chairs against the wall. You cannot have everyone at the table unless they are literally at the table!"
He seemed perplexed, but this is the same guy blesshisheart who on my first day of work, when I moved to the conference room because my desk was right next to the radio, turned the radio off and then told my new co-workers that I didn't like the music. This was after he had asked why I didn't just turn it off.
"Because I do not want to be the new person who comes in on Day 1 and tries to change the culture," I said.
Yet he still turned the radio off. And blamed me.
"Do you realize what you did to me when you turned the radio off and told people it was because I didn't like it? It took me months to recover," I said.
He seemed surprised.
So maybe I am not so bad at reading body language after all. I could be a lot worse.
GB: We're just friends.
Said sadly. Without a smile. He likes her. She does not like him back. I want to tell him that it wouldn't hurt to bathe and wear clean clothes, but that probably wouldn't help him with her. It will just help him with other girls. If the chemistry is there, it's there, even for a slightly stinky boy. Stinky is ephemeral. She just doesn't feel the same way about him that he feels about her.
Me: Hang in there. Nice guys do win in the end. They do.