Touch – by Noel N.N. John (Adult)

He heard her voice approaching the room, greeting the boss. He held his breath, his heart skipped a beat. Here we go, he thought. She glided into the room. The flowers on her flowing skirt appeared to dance around her long legs.
Most heads turned ever so slightly. His head whipped around so quickly, you could hear the crack of the neck. Their eyes met for a millisecond. A nervous smile was evident from her. He remained cool, or so he thought. His feet tapping constantly, his hands clasped together and his mouth pursed tightly as if to hold the secret in.
What exactly was the secret? Yes they had flirted the last time they had seen each other. Yes she had very drunkenly blurted out her apparent feelings. Yes they had held onto each other as they danced. The touch had felt real. Yes they had kissed. A couple of light lip touches. Nothing intense, but definitely real. A sort of experiment to see what was there.
For him, there was something, although he was not quite sure what. He didn’t know what she felt or if she had even remembered. The day pressed on as usual, him and her attending to their own mundane routines and tasks, until they assembled to watch the general rehearsal at 11. There were not enough chairs so a few had to stand, including him and her.
As the play entered its 3rd and final act, they shuffled gradually and painfully slowly towards each other like a sunflower leaning into rays of light. A hand touch would have been risky and perhaps unwanted. The rejection would have destroyed him. Both stood uncomfortably with arms crossed. They both shifted, their forearms touched. They remained touched. Neither of them moved until the final applause.
They sighed, smiled briefly and went about their day, their week and the rest of their lives.

Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Nutshell Narratives 2019-04

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