Easing into Conversation

I can’t ease into conversations anymore.

I told a stranger this, after he handed me a miniature sunflower. He held it out to me with a boyish grin that, had I been someone else, anyone else, probably could’ve been the mark of a newfound friendship, but because I’m me, I hesitated and let his hand linger in the wide air, while my brain got plummeted with 5 different ways this could go wrong or could be the worst mistake I’ve made so far.

What if he hurts me? What if he asks me out?
If I take this sunflower, does he think that means I trust him?
Why is he giving me a sunflower? What’s he hiding?

I gave him what I hoped was a friendly smile and took the flower, because sunflowers are my favorite, because I wanted to get rid of the awkwardness I caused us both, and because I wanted him to go away.

He didn’t.

“What’s up?” he asked, more curious than annoyed or upset or any other “negative” emotion.

I shook my head in a vain attempt at control. “Nothing,” I said, with a sheepish grin. “Just overthinking.” I forced a laugh. “Sorry,” I said, and actually meant it.

“It’s ok,” he said. “Really. What are you overthinking?”

“Telling you the truth. Or which truth to tell you, rather. I can’t ease into conversations anymore. Not like when I was young. So I usually end up telling people the truth, bypassing all that pretentious junk. I make people uncomfortable, especially when I tell them the dark side of the truth.”

He raised one eyebrow, pondering my words. He spoke gently, “There’s a dark side of truth?” he asked me.

“There’s a dark side to everything!” I said, laughing.

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