A Moment in the Life of Esme & John
"Do you think I'm fat?" John asked, unexpectedly.
Startled by the question, Esme stopped stretching her legs and rolled over on the bed, still clutching the phone. "What? Are you kidding?" she asked incredulously. This sort of question only came from her girlfriends. "Of course not! You're muscular! For crying out loud, you're a soccer player!" she added.
He remained silent on the other end of the phone.
"John?" she said. "You there?"
"Yes, I'm just thinking," he answered.
"Well that was a weird question," she said. "OK, if you want to know the truth, I think you're..." she swallowed for a moment. They were just friends, and when someone is of the opposite sex, it's sometimes difficult to treat them exactly as you would treat a girlfriend. "I think you're... er... I think you could be described as sexy," she finished lamely.
"Hmmm," said John, which was not exactly encouraging. Esme winced to herself. She had flubbed it up somehow. This strange tightrope which they were walking between "relationship" and "friendship" was difficult to navigate at times.
Esme rolled back over and started stretching her legs again, pointing her toes to the ceiling as they talked.
"What are you doing right now?" asked John.
"I'm stretching my legs," she answered truthfully. "I wonder how many women do that? Lay in bed and talk and point their toes to the ceiling? Hey, do your legs get a little dent in them in the front when you do that? Do it now, and tell me if you get a dent that runs from your ankle to your knee!"
John dutifully did it. "Nope," he reported. "It's just you."
"Leave it to me to be different again," sighed Esme.
"I'm scared," he said unexpectedly.
Esme stopped pointing her toes. "What?" she asked, uncertain if she'd heard right.
"I'm scared," he repeated. "There are some days I don't even want to speak with you again. Did you know that?"
"What?!" she said, in surprise. "Why?! Is it my B.O.?"
"Oh be serious for once," he snapped. "I'm scared because there are times that I don't want to know you any better than I know you now. I might start feeling more, and I'm not sure that I want to. We've been friends for so long, it could be disastrous. What if we lost even that? Our families know each other. Perhaps someday we'll meet again at a family function and you'll say "Oh hello, John," and I'll say "Hello, Esme," and you'll ask me how I'm doing and then you'll drift off again. I don't think I... nevermind."
"Go on," said Esme, who was now completely drawn in.
"No, nevermind," said John truculently.
"You know, you sure have a hard time finishing your sentences," Esme said waspishly.
They both were quiet for a moment.
"You know, you have a very nice bellybutton," he said. "On a scale of one to ten, I'd say it was an 8.5."
"My bellybutton is only an 8.5?" asked Esme, incredulously. "What would it take to be a 10? Who's got a 10?"
"No, no," said John hastily. "An 8.5 is good!"
"A 10 is better," Esme pointed out.
They were silent again for a short while. She concentrated on pointing her toes to the ceiling again while she turned things over in her head.
"What are you wearing?" he suddenly asked.
"Wrinkled pink silk yoga pants and a lavender spaghetti strap top," she answered. "Hey, I'm no fashion plate at night. What are you wearing?"
"Grey... wait a minute... Grey Calvin Klein boxers," he said. There was another moment of silence.
"Do you think I'm fat?" asked John.
"You're sure you don't get a dent in your legs when you do that?" asked Esme.
Esme & John, Part 1
Esme & John, Part 2