"Hey," he says, and you turn around, and there's Adam standing beside you in the next check-out line. "Hey, Simon."
You like, irrationally, how he repeats his hey, and how he always says your name when you run into each other. "Adam, hey," you reply. "Whatcha getting?"
"Oh." He holds the brown bag out for inspection. "just some fuel. I have a project due tomorrow." He's got three cans of coke, some cranberry juice, potato chips, and salad makings. An odd combination, but it all looks good, and suddenly you want lettuce, not microwave popcorn. "You?" he says.
The cashier, your change in hand, stares until you take it and move a little ways off, out of the line of people waiting to pick up their groceries. Adam follows obediently, not noticing that you were holding people up. "Nothing, really," you tell him. "we can't cook in the dorms, so."
"That blows, man," he says. "What do you do?"
You shrug - "a lot of pizza. We've got a microwave in the common room, so."
"Right, pizza," Adam repeats. "We don't eat pizza that much. It's kind of expensive."
You look at his brown bag, again, and blurt, "come by the store, I'll get you guys a discount."
He nods, seriously. "Yeah, Simon. Sure. That sounds good."
People are walking around the two of you to get to the doors. One lady with a stroller kind of glares at the two of you as she goes past. Adam nods again, seriously, as if you're discussing something really important, instead of just dinner. "So," you say, and struggle to find something to say, anything to get him to stick around a little longer. Your mind lands on something -- "how's Joan?"
He bites his lip a little. "She's good," he tells you. "She can't really cook, so, salad."
"It takes a while to learn," you say, and try to come up with something else, anything else that you can say to Adam to make this not just a pathetic run-in at the grocery store, something to make it a real human connection. those are a little lacking lately. You add, "I can cook. kind of."
you repeat, "yeah." There's nothing else you can say to Adam; best let him just get out of the store and your life again.
Adam tilts his head. "Listen, Joan's just gonna watch movies or something, while I try and do this painting." he looks at you, really seriously like always, as if everything the two of you are doing and saying is important. He adds, "You want to come over for a while and keep her company?"
You don't know how to say yes; you know Adam guards Joan's privacy and his own. You swallow, and nod.