Once securely back inside the bar, they noticed their table had been infringed upon. Thinking on their feet, the small group noticed an elevated table next to the main exit of the Dragon. The table was small and of a circular shape. Sitting at about bar height, the table was surrounded by four bar stools. One side of the table nudged against the large tinted window, providing views of the parking lot, and the main street of their small country town. Their drinks were placed on the table and the three hopped up onto their stool. Anna sat between the two friends, they were joined by a third patron, and conversations began again. The third fellow appeared to be buddies with Jason, Todd reached his hand across the table to meet Billy. With noise surrounding them from the bar, it would be challenging to talk across the table. So, for the time being, their interaction would conclude with the handshake. A tray full of fries arrived for Anna to enjoy and she had more questions for Todd.
The body language between Anna and Jason continually appeared friendly. They had broken the physical contact barrier, appearing to have moved their flirtation into the more physical realm. So, with them seeming to be drawn closer, Anna still wondered about cerebral palsy in Todd’s life. She asked Todd, what was the most challenging thing he did on a daily basis? Anna was also curious about the easiest thing Todd felt he did each day? Todd was startled be the two specific questions posed to him. It felt like the first time he had been asked questions so directly about life with his disability. Todd said he needed a minute to think about the answers. He hadn’t ever really thought about cerebral palsy from that point of view. He reached for his drink sitting on the round table they had occupied. With his cocktail now half drunk and still being balanced by cubes of ice, Todd could pick up the glass, rather than sliding it across the table. He kept the glass balanced as it rose from the table. Taking a sip through the red straw, the time was used to ponder the questions.
Following the shallow sip from his tall glass, Todd returned it safely to its origination point. He turned toward Anna, who used the momentary pause to munch a French Fry. She hadn’t moved her attention, waiting curiously for Todd to formulate his response. After a few minutes of introspection, he told Anna the easiest activity of each day was probably driving his car. That was probably the simpler question to answer. Todd thought of the most fun thing he did daily and figured it was probably the easiest too. Coming up with the most challenging task he performed on a daily basis took more thought. There were many things during Todd’s day made complicated because of cerebral palsy, it was difficult to pinpoint one. However, after some time, he felt the most challenging thing was shaving each morning. When the brief inquisition ended, Anna simply smiled patiently as Todd finished his thoughts.
The brief conversation of Anna and Todd ended, as Todd momentarily drifted back into his own thoughts. It was unusual to be asked such specific questions about his disability. When thinking about the conversation, he couldn’t remember having one similar. The interaction left him with further curiosity regarding Anna. There seemed to be rarity in finding people with the maturity to discuss the effect of cerebral palsy on someone’s life. Todd wondered if he would have the courage to ask himself similar questions? As his attention moved away from his own thoughts and back into the table, the flirtation continued between Jason and Anna. His friend seemed to be laying it on thick this evening. The comments full of sexual innuendo continued to ricochet around the table periodically. Occasionally making their way to Todd, as Anna pulled him into the banter. Reaching for Todd’s arm at one point, in an unexpected display of flirtation. Usually Todd would be uncomfortable with the touch of someone new, but he took the interaction in stride on this night. Before long, Jason and Anna were headed out to the patio for another cigarette. Instead of joining them, Todd chose to keep his seat, and enjoy his drink.
Billy also decided to stay seated at the table. Todd leaned across to begin the conversation following the departure of Jason and Anna. It continued to be loud inside the Dragon, making it challenging for any substantial conversation with someone not seated close by. It would also be difficult to know if Todd was being understood. Talking over the crowd and across the table was challenging enough, not to mention his slurred speech. However, Billy seemed to understand fairly well, and the two men shared a friendly exchange. Todd found that Billy hadn’t known Jason very long and had met him while hanging out at the bar. He inquired about Todd’s friendship with Jason, which Billy learned had been formed during childhood. Billy worked in construction and was a few years younger. As the conversation stalled, Anna came walking through the patio door, turning toward the table. Jason could be seen following her through the same door, but his stride carried him toward the boys’ room. Seemingly on a mission, Anna paced back to the table. Once making her way safely across the bar, Anna didn’t reacquaint with the bar stool. Instead, asking Todd for his phone number, then disappearing, with the number entered into her phone, through the main door of the sports bar she went, and into the cold night.
Jason made his way back across the bar from the restroom. Todd noticed an inquisitive look engulf his facial expression as he reached the table. Jason climbed back onto his bar stool and asked where Anna had gone. By this point, the chatting with Billy had reached its conclusion, and Billy had wondered to join other friends. When Todd gave the information that Anna had gone home, he could sense disappointment coming from Jason. That slight slouch of non-verbal communication didn’t encompass his friend too often. Jason had often been gifted at controlling his body language, causing internal dispute as to what he was really feeling. But, even for him, the communication would be hard to misunderstand. Jason had spent the evening becoming more smitten with the girl, than Todd had totally understood until that moment. So, the two friends sat around the table, finishing their drinks and the half tray of fries left by Anna.
It felt as though some of the air had been taken out of the night. Anna was occupying much of the attention inside the group. As the conversation continued between the two friends, Todd found it difficult to keep his mind from wondering. He tried concentrating on the small talk with Jason, but was faltering. The thought of being asked for his phone number continued floating around inside his head. He also felt lost in understanding why he provided Anna with his phone number. The night was seemingly designed to highlight Jason, whom in the view of his buddy, was taken by Anna. It was an unusual situation and one not often faced by Todd. Normally women had gravitated toward Jason, maybe enjoying the interaction with Todd, but not asking for anything further. Plus, he had just been out the night before, with someone who had been captivating him lately. He wondered what was truly going on in the world. Things seemed to be shifting. Todd could have simply turned down the request, protecting his friend Jason and his crush Lindsey, who was now probably sound asleep, before boarding her flight the following morning. However, the inquisition had been quick and flattering. It’s not often someone attractive asks for his number and seems to look past his disability. Still, there was nothing to say he had to respond if the number were used. Todd suddenly felt compelled to open up about the inquisition Anna made before she had gone home.
Even with the plan of opening up about his interaction with Anna, Todd wanted to wait for the right time. Inside the crowded bar, talking over music and conversations, didn’t seem the ideal time. So, Todd chose to hold off until they departed from the Dragon. Their drinking and commiserating lasted just awhile longer. They finished up their drinks, heading for the exit just an hour before closing time. Todd was afforded the opportunity to discuss Anna without bringing the situation up in conversation. While walking around to the rear of the bar, where their cars were parked, Jason wondered what Todd thought of Anna. The question was abnormal for Jason to ask. In normal situations, Todd brought up topics involving women, as Jason normally kept his thoughts close to the vest. Jason had often been able to read Todd pretty well, while Todd had normally been open about his thoughts on women, usually asking advice from Jason, however this night seemed less straight forward. Anna appeared to show interest in both men, causing another abnormality. Todd took the question and hit it head on. He revealed thoughts of attraction to Anna, she seemed kind and sweet, while revealing she had taken his number before leaving the bar. Todd still felt unclear on how to handle the situation.