It was sunny outside and the sky was relatively blue, except Frank could see a light gray cloud cover and he knew having learned the lesson, after arriving from Honolulu in 1993, that just because the sun was out it didn’t mean that it was warm outside. Frank looked down at the words Nicole had sent and he looked up too at the reality that they both must be aware. In Frank’s mind he was hopeful.
“That’s fabulous,” Frank said, “I was talking about a short story built out of this experience. It felt weird, my being physically attracted to you, but it also appears that we both have an interest in writing, unless this is a class you have to take.”
“Well,” Nicole said, “if you were to write a short story about this meeting what would you say? And no, this class is an option. I decided to take it.”
Nicole, in Frank’s eyes, was flitting about the issue that most concerned him, but he was also either ignorant that she had answered the question about her sexual interest in that there wasn’t one, or he dismissed it and was feeding off the contact she was giving. His desires were stronger than his better judgment.
“I think” Frank said, “that we’ve already said a lot: The implication of your short responses and then your grand explosion of statements, where you could finally relate, you were spontaneous. What was on your mind when you took the leap? That is what is interesting. My pressing the green button when I saw you with perhaps the same spontaneity is not. The short story, or what I would say, is to put our words into quotes going back and forth and filling in the blanks that the conversation left. There were intentions on both sides of our conversation.”
“A short story,” Frank continued, “gets at those with the intent of informing. It’s been a theme with me of late. I told my friend Lani that I felt like a dirty old man now that I’ve gotten older but my tastes in women have remained the same. As an artist, perhaps as the son of a television model, I can’t help but find impossibly beautiful women attractive. That would be something I might explore. What about you? What would you want to say? I pictured you laughing at the absurdity of my trying to maintain a conversation. It must have felt trying. Was it uncomfortable? ‘Why is this guy writing?’ you may have thought? ‘Is he crazy? I was just kidding. I’ve got a boyfriend. Doesn’t he know this?’”