Monday, October 20, 2008

The Ex-Boyfriend

“I saw him on a Sunday
And I talked to him;
Da do ron ron ron
Da do ron ron…”

***

I had known Dave from grade school. He was a year or two younger than me. Real cutie pie. I knew of him, but I didn’t know him well. You know what I mean?
So, a couple years after high school graduation, when I saw him at church with his hand in a cast, it was a little awkward for me to walk up and ask him about it, but at the same time, it wasn’t.

“What happened to you?” I demanded.
And he told me.

He’d been unpacking boxes at the grocery store where he worked, and he’d accidentally sliced his hand between the thumb and forefinger with his box cutter.
Fascinated, because I worked at a grocery store, too, we talked quite a bit. Turned out he’d been working in Detroit and living with one of his brothers, but since his accident there, he had moved back home. He was planning to get a job at a local store, start taking a few classes.

We were just starting to discuss colleges when his mother approached.
“Who’s your friend, Tim?” she asked.
“You remember Roses, Mom.”
"Little Roses? My goodness!”

She proceeded to ask about my folks. And while I answered her questions, smiled and laughed at the right times, in my head, a very high-pitched voice was squealing, “She called him Tim! He’s not Dave! He’s Dave’s older brother! Crap! What did I say? Did I say anything to make him think I didn’t know? Omigod omigod omigod!”

The voice in my head grew quiet about the time I realized there was an awkward silence. The two of them were looking at each other, then at me.

“You know what?” I finally said. “I have to go. Nice talking with you.”
And I bolted.

***

“I saw him on a Sunday
And I talked to him;
Da do ron ron ron
Da do ron ron…
Thought that he was Dave
But, he was actually Tim;
Da do ron ron ron
Da do ron ron…
Yeah, I talked with him
Yeah, his name was Tim
And so I quick left for home
Da do ron ron ron
Da do ron ron…”

***

That concludes the singing portion of our story. Thank you.

***

Days later, I was tending the express lane at work. Unusually busy, I leaned over to see how many people were waiting in line. There, at the end, was Tim.
I’d never seen him in the store ever before. But, there he was.
He was holding one bottle of soda.

My heart raced.
There was only one reason why a young man would go to a grocery store and wait in a long line to buy one bottle of soda.

Think.
If you were a teenage boy and you were out driving around, suddenly desiring a cold beverage, where do you go?
You go to a gas station. You fill up your tank, pay the clerk, and grab your soda on the way out.
Or, you find a vending machine.
Or, probably you go home where it’s free.
But, you do not go to a grocery store, walk around the back to get it, then wait in line with all the old ladies and coupon clipping moms.
No. Young men don’t do that.

He was here to ask me out on a date.
The soda was just an excuse to talk to me one on one.

When he finally made his way to the front of the line, I couldn’t keep from smiling.
He was very smooth. I said yes. We both thought something really neat had just happened.

As I watched him walk away, I heard the next woman in line tell her daughter, “See? You need to get a job so boys will ask you out.”

***

Just for the record, he started referring to himself as my boyfriend two weeks later. I was surprised and delighted, but I thought he was rushing it.

He told me how much he liked the way I had walked right up to him at church that one day.
He thought that a girl who was that confident was his kind of gal.

Heh.

***

He asked me to come along the day he had his cast removed. His doctor was in Detroit (about an hour away). During the drive, he’d point out people in other cars and make up life stories for them.

“See that guy? It’s his first day on the job. He doesn’t know it, but his watch has been losing five minutes a day for the last week, and he’s going to be late.”
"Aw. And on his first day, too.”
"I know.”

“That woman is driving home from her date last night. She’s wondering if anyone will notice she’s wearing the same clothes.”
"Inside out like that? They’ll notice.”

And so on.

So, you see? It’s his own fault that I thought he had a sense of humor.

***

Most of our dates consisted of watching movies at his house. He would come by the store while I was working Friday evenings, together we’d pick out something to watch, and he’d rent it. Then after work, I’d drive over.

I think that was my demise. All those movies in the privacy of one’s own home simply invited running commentary that a public movie theater just doesn’t encourage.

One night, Tim picked out a nice love story that he thought his mom would like to see. (Aw. Such a nice boy, thinking of his mother.) The three of us watched together, and all was going fine right up until the scene where the two love interests started getting busy.

“Oh, there goes the hair,” I said.
“What?”
“Her hair. She took the barrette out of her hair. She’s going to wear her hair down for the rest of the movie now.”
What?”
“Whenever a woman makes out with a guy in the movies, she lets her hair down and never puts it back up for the rest of the movie. You watch.”

We did.
She didn’t.
But, Tim’s mom was so distracted watching the woman’s hairstyle that she couldn’t enjoy the movie after that.

***

And then there was Rambo…
Or Rambo 2, I don’t remember.

It was the one with the scene where Rambo asks the girl about her necklace, and she tells him it’s her lucky charm.

I couldn’t help myself. “Dis knife is my lucky charm!” I blurted out… just before Stallone said nearly the same thing.
"Knock it off. I’m trying to enjoy my movie!”

***

Probably worse, though, was the evening Tim was antsy and kept getting up during the movie to take care of one thing or another. Dave (you remember Dave, right?) and I were sitting on opposite ends of the couch watching the TV as Tim wandered in and out.

At one point, Tim stepped into the room, paused long enough to look meaningfully at me, then at Dave, then back at me.
“Hey,” he gestured at the empty space between us, “you two kids shouldn’t be so shy.” As if Dave and I were the ones on a date.
Tim snorted at his funny and walked out again.

I stared after him. As soon as he was out of sight, I threw myself at the other end of the couch.
“What?… are you doing?!?” Dave sputtered.
“Trust me.”

I tossed my legs over his lap, then grabbed his hand and placed it on one of my knees.
And we quietly watched TV until Tim came back.

“Hey! HEY! That’s not funny!”

Oh, yes it was.

***

Not many days later, while we were chatting in his room, I spied his to-do list. The number three thing on the list was “Call Penny”.

“Who’s Penny?” I asked.
A classmate. He needed to call her to get an assignment.

The note disappeared.
He didn’t invite me into his room after that.

And about two weeks later, he broke up with me.

***

Probably right about the time Penny stopped wearing her hair up…

7 comments:

Carmen said...

Dang. That sucks.

Thumper said...

...and then one morning Penny woke up bald because Roses sneaked in and smeared Nair all over her head while she slept...

(Well, that's how I'd LIKE it to end...)

Richmond said...

Oh boy...

::Rich puts her hair up::

roses said...

Rich: Skip the scrunchie. Use a swim cap. I think Thumper's walking around with some Nair...

Rave said...

heh- memories...somewhere in the corner of our mind....Ah, you get the picture!

I have no good b/f stories. Not funny good, anyway.

Chaz said...

ah...that was a good one!

my one ex I looked up on the net to find out he lives on a tropical island with his new wife.

The other NOW Lives in Canada with his wife and has gained roughly 250 pounds...

Me? I'm 30 and single. no hope in sight...

appearantly those with good jobs and an ability to to articulate themselves clearly due to a college education are no longer desireable in todays men my age...they like air-heads who starve themselves skinney and dont have a thought in their head!

okay enough ranting...

that was pretty funny though...

Bob said...

That couch scene was a bad omen. (Good stories like this almost defy comment. Who am I to add to or detract from perfection?)