Loose lips sink ships...
I sit up a bit straighter, pasting a solemn frozen smile on my face while I wonder if he's going to start crying or be sick or both. Moment after moment turns into minutes and I sip my third twenty-two ounce beer. Typical, I think. I've gone too far again. He glances up again just for a moment, then his eyes crash closed and I've lost him again.
I shrug and clear my throat and say sotto voce, "The reality is one in four women, one in six men."
"I know," he nods, eyes still avoiding mine. I'm staring intently at him. I feel badly, and think that this is why I don't tell anyone. Their safety is just as important as mine, so let's just keep this secret from a few more people, ok? I'm fiddling with a tortilla chip and replaying that night again in my head when he looks up. "I ... I just..." He is stuttering and stumbling over words - something he never did in high school, largely thanks to Academic Sports League and Academic Decathlon and rigorous training from our coach, "the Duke". "I just want... I want to say I'm really sorry it happened to you." He purses his lips in a tight smile and I nod and duck my head out of the limelight.
The awkwardness ensues for another few minutes, until I excuse myself to the restroom, as much for his sake as for mine. I wash my hands and stare for a moment at the pale girl looking back at me with wide ice green eyes. The entire night has been dubbed surreal, for this and for the fact that we're sitting here in this bar at all, and I dry my hands and slide back into our booth.
We go back to laughing, joking, talking about serious things and silly things, each admiring how far we've come in seven years.
Seven years. I can't believe it.
(x-posted to personal journal)