Ch. 4: Maybe it’s time to go.
- Ch. 1: Maze Runner in Firenze? The walls are closing in on me and the eyes are watching.
- Ch. 2: Is seeing believing or do you have to believe it to see it?
- Ch. 3: If this is a game, I’m losing.
- Ch. 4: Maybe it’s time to go.
- Ch. 5: Do you believe in something greater than yourself?
- Ch. 6: This is what intuition feels like.
- Ch. 7: So this is how it starts.
I’m the first one in a scary movie to advise the hero that it’s just time to leave.
But I couldn’t seem to give the same advice to myself.
“I really just need the WiFi password,” I said as innocently as I could.
She smiled again, but this time it was the slightest bit less warm. It was almost polite. She craned her head slightly so that her head pointed towards the board again. It was clear, I’m a slow learner, that she wanted me again to choose a receipt.
Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to advise others what to do than it is to give and accept advice yourself? I thought of my kids in this situation and what I would have suggested they do at this point. I could even hear myself calmly explaining it in rational terms.
Now, it seems like it was time to tell her that you’re done with her little puzzle game, but that you really just needed the WiFi password. If that was too much trouble, you’re terribly sorry to have inconvenienced her this morning, but you’ll just have to find another cafe and you bid her a good day, you stand up and you make your way calmly, confidently and coolly towards the stairs to the exit.
It was high time to take my own advice.
“Prego,” I started out. I thought I was already doing well because, one, I was speaking at all and, two, I was speaking Italian.
“I’m so sorry, miss, but I really just needed the WiFi password so I could finish my work this morning, but it seems that you have other things in mind,” I paused to see what kind of effect that collection of powerful words would have on the cafe barista. I waited for her reaction, but there was none. Just those mesmerizing chocolatey eyes with the swimming sea salts. Yeah, I thought, been there, done that, I gotta get going.
“You probably don’t understand a word I’m saying, right?” and I paused her to give her a chance. “But I’m going to leave now,” I kept going as I was on a roll. “I’m just going to walk up the stairs and get my bag and go,” I was now sort of blabbering but I couldn’t stop the waterfall of words out of my mouth and I thought that maybe she didn’t understand a single word anyway, so I just kept at it, getting more and more nervous as she didn’t react. At all.
‘Yeah, so it’s been fun and real and all,” I couldn’t believe my own ears at the mindless blather that was coming from me, but at this point, I had to finish it off. “But it hasn’t been real fun. You know what I mean? It’s a saying, you know, real and fun, but then you put the words together, but not real fun. See how it works?”
Nothing. Just staring. It was time for action. I stood up from the chair but was quickly reminded that her hand was still on my forearm. For the record, it wasn’t just resting on my arm, but it was grasping my arm to the extent that, if she wanted to, she could hold on and it would make things a tad more difficult for me to walk away with her attached like that. Stay calm, stay friendly.
I took my left hand and moved it slowly, as if going in to pet a cat I didn’t know, and I put it on top of her hand. I just let it sit there for a few seconds. Her hand was very warm. I started patting it softly as if to indicate that I was thanking her and was ready to move my hand.
I tugged a little with my right arm that was under her hand. At first, it budged but then I felt her grip tighten. I pulled a little harder. She tightened her grip a little harder.
It was time to go rational and direct, to bring out the big guns and let her know who was boss here.
“Could you let go of my arm, please?” I asked, finally saying what I had been thinking for however long it was that I had been down here. On that note, had it been ten minutes? An hour? I was usually a good judge of time, but now I had no idea. It was really time to get moving.
She smiled, but I was getting a little tired of her smile. Her eyes were still the pools of pudding complete with shimmering flakes, but hey, I got things to do, ma’am. I pulled a little harder.
I pulled a lot harder. Her grip increased to the point where it almost hurt.
I looked at my arm, her hand on my forearm, my hand still on top of her hand. What did she want? What did this all mean?
As I looked back up to her eyes to really let her have it with my forceful and serious self, I shuddered as not only was there the single yellow lionness eye, but now two of them were there.
I’m the first to admit that I don’t know much about hypnotism and that sort of thing, but I literally couldn’t look away. I wanted to speak, I wanted to tell her that I had to go, I wanted to pull my arm away with a very unfriendly jolt, but I couldn’t do any of those things. I couldn’t move my head, blink my eyes or have much of a thought. I was frozen.
Snap out of it! I shook my head or at least tried to shake my head. Now I couldn’t even tell if I shook my head or I just thought I shook my head. I really wanted to shake my head and I again tried with all my might to shake my head and my mind directly informed my brain that it was shaking time, but it was like the communications systems were down for repair.
She blinked, but when she opened her eyes this time, they were the cat’s still. My first thought I didn’t like. I thought about how I felt just a few short seconds ago that I was the boss, but that’s not what I was feeling now. It’s so cliché, it’s so cheesy, but I didn’t know how else to describe it: she had me under her spell.