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Adventures of two young women.
cker for redheads?"
She giggled--and then let me help her carry the bags to her place. It was two subway stops from me, near the top of a high-rent high-rise. She and Paulo must have been pretty well-set; I know I couldn't have afforded that place, probably not even on twice my income. It must have been quite a change to go from that to nothing. I helped her unpack, and now that her kitchen was restocked she insisted that since I'd bought the food, the least she could do was cook it. And so I sat at the breakfast bar and chatted while she made us dinner. I don't know what it is she made, but it was so flavorful it was a long time before I realized it was meatless.
"Are you a vegetarian?" I asked, "I guess I should have asked if you ate meat before I bought any."
"It's OK. I'm not a strict vegetarian; it's just that I don't usually need meat. I'm sure I'll eat everything eventually."
Somehow it was after nine before I headed home. And as she sent me off, she gave me a hug and peck on the cheek. I eschewed the subway and walked the whole way home, completely unaware of the rain drumming on my head.
I thought of her the whole week, but I couldn't think of a good reason to call her. Friday afternoon I was sitting in my office in a most unusual state for me--I was counting the minutes until quitting time. I thought of the Fridays before, and that this week I had no plans whatsoever. I wished I would be seeing Brianna. That voice in the back of my head returned. Stop sitting there complaining and do something about it! You have her number, for crissakes. I knew what I wanted...I just felt sure she was going to refuse. Well...maybe if I was proactive about it...
"Hello," she answered when I rang her phone.
"Hey Brianna, its Mike. Any news?"
"Not since Monday. More bills, no interviews."
"Hang in there," I encouraged. "Say...maybe you can help me with a problem."
"After all you've done for me, the least I can do is try. What's up?"
"Well...I hate eating alone, yet that's what I do every single day. I know this person that I think is also be eating alone--it would make sense that we join up for dinner, ya know? But there's a problem--she's a little short of cash these days, and she won't let me pay her way because she feels I've done too much for her already. So how do I get this person to join me for a friendly little dinner without having to arm-wrestle about the fact that it might cost me five bucks?"
"Ooh, that is a tough one," she answered, pretending my question was hypothetical. "You see, girls don't like to feel like they owe a guy something. Or maybe I should say they don't want a GUY to feel like SHE owes HIM something, ya know what I mean? A girl doesn't want to be in a situation where she might feel pressured into doing something she otherwise wouldn't choose to."
"You know, that makes perfect sense," I responded as if we were debating a point, "but what about the guy? He can promise up and down until he's blue in the face that he doesn't feel like she owes him anything--she's not really going to believe him, is she?"
"Probably not," she agreed.
"She's too afraid of what might happen down the road. But that pretty much leaves the guy screwed, doesn't it? I mean, that pretty much means there's not a damn thing the guy can do to convince her he just wants to go to dinner, and not anything else?"
"Oh, he might be able to convince her of that in the short run--but what if it changes? What if it keeps happening? At some point, doesn't the man start to feel like maybe she DOES owe him something?"
"Maybe," I agreed, "I could see where that might happen. I could also see where it might NOT happen. Either way, it's a future outcome--something not knowable in the present, right? Isn't there an old saying about not crossing bridges until you come to them?"
"Yes," she said softly, "but we don't want to hurt a man's feelings by rejecting him. It's better to just not go down that road."
"There's one problem with your logic," I countered.