The sadness he saw in her eyes at the end of the night sparked the guilt in him. He had been thinking about what he said and how he said that night over and over again for the past few days. The more he thought about it, the heavier the burden of guilt he felt.
He knew something was up that night. The air in the room was stuffy and smoky. The anxiety was so intense that it was suffocating him a little. There was a strong undertow of anticipation from her friends of them finally being them. They were watching and waiting. Then out poured her revelations of her feelings towards him. Though they did not come as a surprise, they were stifling. He was pushed into a corner. He felt trapped.
He was treading on thin ice. One wrong move, or one slight tremble even, he might be falling into the frigid water below. Therefore he was extremely cautious, with his words and gestures. How could he say no to her without hurting her? Like ripping off a Band-Aid in a snap, just one short sharp piercing pain to end it all. Or sugar coating the rejection with sensitivity and political correctness, but potentially dragging the misery. How should he do it?
He decided to be gentle. He tried hard not to be harsh or blunt. So he laughed off the questions and avoided the conversations. He was trying to be elusive yet assertive. The more she opened up, the more he shut in. She poured her heart out to him, so delicate and vulnerable. He knew that and he felt it. Unfortunately he could not reciprocate, the feeling was not mutual.
As much as he felt choked and trapped, he felt sorry.