Game Changer

Game Changer

Julie Gilbert

When his knee met hers underneath the table it was like magnets clicking together.

He probably thinks it’s just the table leg, she told herself, the thought snagging the rising balloon of her emotions.

She kept nodding as her other friend described the plot of a novel he was reading. She wasn’t listening. All of her attention was centered on the subtle movement of their legs, the contact she’d wanted for so long.

This was a sign, wasn’t it? Evidence from the past few months flashed through her mind: a brush of elbows at the bar, lingering glances that smoldered across a dim room, comments tinged with affection. She’d dismissed them as gestures of friendship or, at best, momentary flirtations. But this was different. At least she hoped so.

She eavesdropped on the conversation he was having with the guy across the table. Something about the local music scene, names she didn’t recognize. He had to know about the knee, right?

There was a lurch as he leaned away to hear over the horrible cover band. The movement wrenched his knee from hers. Her heart pounded even as she twisted her wedding band around her finger.

“Good night,” she said hours later, climbing from his car. His smile was tired under the dome. She watched his taillights disappear as she climbed the steps of the house where her children slept, wondering if next time, instead of saying good night, she would be daring – or foolish – enough to ask, “What now?”

*Originally published by East Coast Literary Review, Winter 2015