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Published in the Fall 2016 Issue of Cellar Door

you sit alone in your room at 3:04am scrolling through the dozens of little squares on the screen of your phone. a message or two come in. a few more. you ignore them and send messages to people who dont respond. a guy who lives at the next apartment complex over. a guy youve already hooked up with. a guy from your intro level biology class from two semesters ago. a few of your friends you might jokingly message. a couple of your friends you might jokingly message but hoping it would actually go somewhere



youre waiting for the bus or youre in a class with two hundred other people or youre pretending to study. youre on your phone swiping left and swiping right. left more than right. half of these people youve already swiped left or right on before. theres a list of dormant matches. you might have messaged some of them and some of them might have messaged you and then one or both of you dropped out of contact because keeping a conversation alive with a stranger youre attracted to is exhausting enough in person, let alone by the fragile connection you share through your phones. but you keep swiping anyway because theres always that chance the next one could be different. even if you dont have a reason to believe that



youre at a bar with your friends. its loud and crowded but not so much that you cant move and your group is having a good time and so are you. there are laughs and smiles. condensation collects on glasses and in rings on the wood countertops. a bartender you know is happy to see you and gives you your favorite drink at the daily special price but its not one of the daily specials. you see someone you know at one of the tables on the other side of the room and he is with his friends. they are laughing and smiling. youve had a class together or you were at the same party last weekend or you know who he is by mutual friends. you want to go say something but you dont. if you were asked why you wouldnt say its because you are afraid or nervous. you might say it just wasnt right or didnt feel like a good time. you might say that if it had been a different time or place you would have but you were just tired or didnt want to bother him. a part of you somewhere knows its because you dont know how. but instead you will say to yourself that you are waiting, and you check your phone and you wonder what for

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