I had a perfectly engineered plan. Variables were accounted for, a plan B was laid out, it should have been smooth as silk. I had to talk myself into not freaking out throughout the ride, but I was so galvanised I even improvised a plan C. Obviously it didn’t work. One thing is clear as day to me now, I’m gonna have to get my hands dirty and work for it myself, meaning I’m gonna have to be the one to ask him out. So, I developed this strategically wonderful plan to create the conditions to be with him at least a couple of minutes and see how it may go, maybe exploit some advantageous circumstance, maybe serve an assist or catch an assist. Nope, not enough. But, I’m so sure it was a great plan, I’m gonna try again tonight.

I had hoped to drive the conversation toward my appearance, and try to steal some other compliment there, since I just went to the hairdresser, but that didn’t work out. I may even be glad it didn’t, since men never notice these details, whereas gays do.

I have no way of knowing if it was the guardian angel chime on my neck, the hummingbird t-shirt I was wearing for the first time, or my prayers to the Seven, but something worked its magic anyway. A superior power, probably Fortuna or that God who helps those who help themselves, granted me the privilege of a very nice chance.

I have always thought that being away for a competition in the same hotel would be a great chance. At least it would give me some 24/48 hours of continuous presence to exploit at best. Granted, it would not be the smartest of moves, considering I am supposed to concentrate on my performance, instead of any other thing, but when people are nervous they do need reassuring and comforting. The only problem with that is timing. It won’t happen until March. I’m gonna be forlorn by then. Let alone the fact that it may be rather hard to keep my husband from accompanying me.

Well, what do you know, they are planning a two-day-camp in three weeks. One night out of town in a hotel, no need for my husband to be there, lots of practice and one entire evening. I can work with that. Only shortcoming: it’s not going to be just the team, but the whole club, i.e. up to 60 people. I guess not everyone is going to be there, but it’s still not just a handful. Pros and cons I suppose. Now I really need a bulletproof strategy. I’m going to have to start working on it.

My magnificent plan turned to shit, but getting this piece of juicy news just lightened up the day. I was fuming that my plan didn’t even get me to see him and I entered the arena with the stride of a charging buffalo. Then the first gears started working properly when I saw him in the locker room and could casually decide to get changed there too. Although since the idiocy loop is expanding to Sunday night as well, I just couldn’t bring myself to greet him properly. I’m such a 14 year old in this. But when they broke the news, I just couldn’t stop smiling and grinning. So if nothing else, I could sincerely smile at him all the time. I guess that counts for something.

And my good luck didn’t stop there. I have learnt to take things very slowly when it comes to getting changed after training. I used to be the first out of the doors, I was literally running away to fight temptation. Then I realised there was no rush after all, and later I understood that he was always last, of course. So I started slowing down: I started finishing training last, taking a long time to untie my shoes, drinking some water, checking my phone, bagging up everything… now I take all the time in the world. But yesterday was actually the first time it worked: when luck does not assist me – that is pretty often – we end up getting changed in different places and I rarely even get to say good night. Yesterday it worked. Not only my timing was puuuuurrrfect, but everyone else – may the Seven bless their enlightened minds – decided to bugger off and leave us alone.

Now since the idiocy lingers, I couldn’t do any better than using the camp news to ask some more information. I tried to be as cute and smiling as possible, but I realise it was a long way from meaningful conversation. Hey I did my best. And for the second time, I found myself loathing some bitch who just had to pop in and interrupt us. Two names on the black book now. But since she was a coach too that was my cue and I just had to go. Again, for the first time, my car didn’t have to hear me snort, cry or insult myself. Wow that’s something.

The most interesting thing in all of this is that he doesn’t know the old me at all, or maybe I should say the other side of me. Talking to Renée the other day I burst in a very big laugh when she told me an anecdote about our college life. She was talking to this guy we both know one day and he told her “You know, your problem is that you scare men away, just like [me]”. I may be wrong about this, but I think he has no idea I am such a scary monster. I’ve never acted in a way to scare him or any other team mate away, I’ve never been intimidating, or verbally violent or angry. I guess he sees me under a very different perspective. What he sees is a girl who rarely speaks, concentrates deeply on what she is doing (that’s all deception of course, I’m very much distracted by him all the time), is often insecure about her skills but also determined to learn, smiles shily and – I’m pretty sure – blushes a lot. There may have been a couple of times when my character peeped out, but really nothing major. I wonder why that is, if it’s my hummingbird side that finally prevails, if by definition the relationship I may have with a teaching figure is different or just because I haven’t had time to develop relations that allow me to feel confident enough to show the other side. Either way, I’m happy it’s still concealed.

By the by, I just found the perfect assist. I’m going to complain that none of my friends is free next weekend and I have nothing to do. Let’s see if he swallows the bait. I am going to pray to the very special God of parking lots this time…

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