Second Hand

Alice sighed, blowing her long blonde bangs out of her eyes as she looked out the window for the umpteenth time in the last 15 minutes. She already knew that she’d see nothing, but couldn’t stop herself. She glanced down at her phone and out the window one more time before turning towards the couch. She slipped out of her brown summer sandals and folded her feet up underneath her on the soft cushion. She reached for her book and flipped open to her bookmark, trying to make herself believe that there was nothing else in the world she’d rather be doing.

She had promised herself that this time would be different, but so far old habits were proving hard to change. Alice was tired of being needy, insecure and, yes, controlling whenever she made it within 20 feet of a (possible) romantic relationship. Something about even the idea of “dating” someone made her brain chemistry go all funny and turned her into someone she herself hardly even recognized. She felt like a stranger in her own skin.

Because of this, Alice had largely given up on dating over the last several years, opting instead to make friends out of the enjoyable male company she met. This allowed her to be herself, particularly around men. She much preferred the “normal,” friend version of Alice (who admittedly, was a likeable, relatable and joyful person) rather than the crazy puddle of helplessness she became at the slightest whisper of love or romance.

Largely, this strategy had been working for years. Yes, there was the occasional declaration of unfulfilled love from a handful of her male friends, but those hardly caused ripples in the water, since she simply refused to consider the possibility.

This time, she had so far managed to rise above her Dr. Alice Jekyll and, for the most part, keep her cool—or so she thought. No wonder she had stuck to making guy friends over the years


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