Me and my big fat mouth.
I take it back: I want to be suave and sexy and uncaring again–not a quivering mass of insecurity!
I thought I’d changed. I thought I’d matured. Nope…Adolescence 2.0, here I come.
* * *
If there’s anything to learn from Hollywood, it’s that less is more, especially in relation to terror. Take Jaws, for instance. When you actually see the shark, it looks more like something you’d let your kids play with in the pool.
The shark is terrifying when you can’t see him. Because when you can’t see him, he could be anywhere. Even, as unlikely as it seems, in the seat behind you at the movie theater.
The basic principle is this: If you can see the monster, it can’t jump out and grab you from behind. The unseen danger is the most terrifying. This same principle applies to girls.
And not just those of the Annie Wilkes variety. Pretty girls too are perfectly capable of appearing out of nowhere to paralyze with a look.
Such as today. A girl I met a few months ago came into work tonight, said hi, and flashed a smile that could dim stars by comparison. The subsequent cardiac hiccup caused my heart to try and climb into my eyes to see what all the hubbub was about.
She ordered ice cream.
A few minutes later, I realized, with sudden horror, that she was nowhere to be seen. She, like an enormous rubber animatronic shark, could be ANYWHERE. She might have left, or she might have been sitting in one of the dining rooms.
If I had known, that would have been one thing, but the element of the unknown was disconcerting. There are few things that are as terrifying as a girl who may or may not be hiding just around the corner.
In horror movies, there’s a strange sort of relief that comes when the film’s boogeyman, be he mortal or something other, jumps out from the shadows. It allows us to be merely scared, rather than terrified.
Not so in real life, though. I saw her again as she left, realizing that she had been there after all, but that there was no further conversation, no closure. It was like discovering that Freddy Krueger has been sleeping on your couch for the last week, and you didn’t notice until he got up to make breakfast.