emotion#27: Embarrassment

(part 1 of 3)

Photo by the author.

“I have to say something now” — she thought.

That rule was made up by her, and she knew it. However, she still couldn’t see beyond its inevitability. She cleared her throat, tuned in to the most recent bits of conversation coming from her dinner companions, and finally gathered the courage to say:

“Oh yeah, that reminds me of…”

But she didn’t speak loud enough, and her words drowned in a sea of louder noises.

Joe from accounting, who was sitting in front of her, was the only one who seemed to notice her brave — yet short — verbal contribution.

When she spoke, he looked her way, clearly willing to hear her thoughts. But when he saw that the conversation waves wouldn’t give her voice a space to surface, he took a hurried sip from his glass of wine and awkwardly turned his gaze away from her — as if her invisibility was contagious, as if acknowledging her failed attempt was proof of his own weakness.

She saw him, and she knew it. Suddenly, a wall of tension had appeared between them, out of thin air, more solid than the wooden table that stood between them.

She could no longer ignore him; more than that, she had something to prove. He felt the pressure of her presence, a mix of repulse and regret.