From two tables down, I am able to get a optimal view of Scott Avery as he talks with Jeffrey Tompkins and Dayne Elliot in muted tones. I never would have thought of Scott as the sort of person to frequent the vintage coffee shop on an early Tuesday morning. I can picture him at the pizza barn, talking loudly with friends about the football game they have just seen, or possibly getting drunk with the community college kids in Goldsville. But this . . . this is not the Scott Avery that I have been discreetly watching.
Oddly enough, I am making it sound as though this is a bad thing. But you must understand that it is not. Yes, it is unexpected, but it is the most wonderful kind of unexpectedness, like a deliciously cool sunshower on a hot July day, or a phone call from an old friend. I have had a fairly limited view of Scott, a focused, narrowed-in idea that is not quite real. He is more complex than I have given him credit for, and that is utterly my fault.
I have finished my café latte—I’m not a real coffee drinker—and I now pull out my handy notebook/sketchpad from my tote. I keep it handy at all times, as I jot down observations and quickly sketch certain moments that must be preserved. Though I must not make it look obvious, I am carefully sketching Scott.
It cannot be a normal drawing, I quickly realize. A sharp, fairly detailed sketch of him cannot do him justice, because that is not the real, complex Scott. Just as I have realized that my perspective of him was skewed, I cannot merely put the pencil to the paper and transfer Scott to it. And so instead, I keep everything blurry and light. It is not distinct, it is not focused. One cannot tell just how dark his eyes are, or whether or not his jaw is square, or what kind of nose he has. It must be as unfocused as the idea and character of Scott Avery is.
And so I spend the next half hour sketching and thinking about Scott. It is obvious that I am enamored of him. Though it sounds shallow, it is indeed in part because of his looks. There is a certain manliness to him, but it is balanced out with a subtle undertone of . . . tenderness. I have seen it before during our junior year of high school together, when he stopped to help Marissa Ritz when all her books fell out of her locker, or when he comforted a little boy who’d fallen off the swing at the park. It’s somewhat strange, I realize, because he is the quintessential all-American teenager: he is athletic, drives his own car, and could very easily have whatever girl he wants hanging on his arm. He could be so one-dimensional, but he chooses not to be. And I’ve committed the egregious error of thinking of him almost in that light.
Eventually, I put my sketchpad away, content for the moment. I spend a minute or two staring at the crazy wallpaper and mismatching pieces of furniture and light fixtures that are somewhat reminiscent of the 40’s, then get up to leave. As I pass by Scott, I do not look at him. He keeps on talking. While I would like to think that I’d have it no other way, I know that that is not true. I am awkward and ugly, not pretty like the other girls. It would only incur humiliation if I tried to talk to Scott. It’s too bad, though, that someone like him wouldn’t even dream of giving someone like me the time of day.
But that’s life.
To be continued.
Less than three,