Every day it was the same.
Doug sat there in the employee cafeteria, nose buried in a book on robotics, casually glancing over it once in a while to one of the groups of employees that coagulated and chatted about the most trivial things, like their families or new movies or what so-and-so was up to this week or –
…who was he kidding, he wanted to talk about those trivial topics too.
He had been watching a certain group for quite a while; a young, energetic blond man that Doug recognized was from the astronomy department, rambling to taller, hunched man who nervously nodded and smiled every couple of sentences. Next to them, a muscular, dark-haired man chuckled at his uninterested conversation partner, who, somewhat like Doug, clutched a book.
Doug sighed. They looked like they were having fun.
Running his hand through his now slightly mussed black hair, he looked back down at his book, reading the first line of the page. He had read that line what, a thousand times now? When he needed to look like he was actually reading, not just trying to mask the fact that he was incredibly lonely and didn’t have the guts to try talking to anyone besides the coworkers he worked with closely, like Henry. Even then, contact was only made when necessary.
He knew the only way to fix this was to swallow his insecurities and break the ice. Just walk up to that little group and say, “Hello, I’m Doug – “
And then what? He sighed again, glancing back up at the group. He had no reason to talk to them. They would just give him that weird look he seemed to get often and he would be resigned to sitting there awkwardly with nothing to say.
He was so frightened of them. Just a bunch of chatting coworkers, and their opinions of him were one of his greatest fears. What if they thought he was weird? What if he slipped, and they realized he was insane? What if he wasn’t interesting enough? What if things became awkward?
But he was… he was just tired of being lonely.
Maybe one of them would come talk to him, sometime.
Doug flipped through the book, running his eyes over diagrams he had seen so many times, it was ingrained in his memory.
Maybe if he was patient.