An awkward conversation

With too many spaces between words, the talk turns into a battle of silence. What are you thinking, I wonder, as sparrows skip across empty patio tables. A game-after crowd hops in and out of chairs, yelling over conversation layers as they spill into back slapping.

“Guess who’s the flavor of the week?” one of the gaggle giggles.

Whoever he is, he’s just a number I figure as I lose the disco dance of her words.

I wish I knew what that was like. I could stray into drink and trash talk, instead of engaging in the serious business of shyness.

How do the shy, boring people talk? But are we boring, him and I? Introverts find it too hard to translate into language the inner rollercoaster of quiet, reflective observations.

How can I tell him that words are how I breathe, the written ones, not the ones I wish I knew how to sling into the comfort of being with another.

I start telling him a story, but it goes nowhere, and I feel stupid. That’s how I often feel, but it’s not exactly an emotion. It’s more of a sad-edged embarrassment that sours my tongue.

I ask him, “Are you bored?”

No, no, it’s okay, he says.

I lower my head and stare at my plate. I lift my fork and taste discomfort, afraid to look at him. I think about lists of questions and wait for the sound of his voice. I look up, seeing that the stillness of my breath makes shyness scream in my ears.

And I smile. He smiles back, almost as if he were frowning. And we begin to talk about something of little importance, what I can’t remember. All I remember is the bitter taste of bad conversation tightening my chest as I forget how to relax and just be myself.

I don’t know how to do that with someone who’s more of an introvert than me. But then I feel lucky that I can talk, strike up conversations and get the surprise that other people don’t consider me shy.

Tags: , ,

4 Responses to “An awkward conversation”

  1. Fay Ulanoff says:

    Everyone has been there, even the outgoing

  2. Samantha says:

    I don't think of you as being shy, Shelley! You are a vibrant, funny, creative woman!

  3. Shelley Widhalm says:

    I am hearing that more and more, that I'm not shy. Hmm, maybe I should rethink my shyness blog. ???

  4. helen says:

    Modeling. Reading poetry in a public venue. Dating.
    Not a bad gig for a shy person.
    Keep up the good work.
    You're doin' just fine!

Leave a Reply