succinct, pt. 4

He is not so good at confrontations or sometimes even conversations, especially with his careful girl, who is confident and competent and knows what to say. He is not inarticulate, but he is succinct because he lets other people talk over him. He thinks that rehearsing what he will say will help him.

"What do you want to be called?" he is saying to himself, and then he says, "I will call you that." Mostly he says this in his head. Occasionally he says it out loud, though quietly. He is on the train to meet her at Miracle of Science, where she has said she is hanging out with a few of her friends.

It is crowded when he arrives but he finds her in a large group in the corner, and goes over. She greets him with a little more enthusiasm than he expected. "You came! Have you had the burgers here? You need to order a burger, it is the best burger you will ever eat," she says. She introduces him to her friends. He says hello.

The conversation is too fast for him, so he sits and hears snatches and occasionally injects something--too little, too late. But she was right about the burger. To an extent.

She is drunk by the end of the evening, but not too drunk: she is careless with her language and a little unsteady, emotionally and literally. He has missed his chance to talk to her. They walk home--she insists on walking, though he is willing to pay for a cab--and tonight he offers to stay with her. She is out like a light as soon as she hits the bed, and he decides to leave quietly in the morning.

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