The Story Of Us IV
Some of you fine readers asked for another chapter about mine and the old man's early days together, so today, I bring you another installment. The first night was a doozie. I asked Mr. Lane to go on a fake date with me in an effort to impress my cousin. See part one and part two and a few pictures in part three if you are just now tuning in.
He hammed it up as much as any 19-year-old boy possibly could. Just coming from Southern California, that night was the first time he ever drove in the snow. On our way back to my house, it was really coming down. Back then, seatbelts were not mandatory but I felt compelled to put mine on. Not having worn it earlier on our way to the party, I felt it was important to tell him I was putting it on only because I am a nervous passenger in bad weather. I didn't want him to think I was worried about his driving skills. The teenage male ego is a fragile thing.
When I finally mustered the courage to put my seatbelt on, I began explaining, "It's nothing you are doing..."
"It's funny that you are doing that now," he said while reaching for his own seatbelt. "'Cuz, I was like... I was just, ya know, feeling uneasy about this snow stuff and I was totally going to put mine on. We even think alike."
Less than three minutes after we buckled up, the car spun out and into a utility pole. We looked at each other in disbelief, mouths gapping wide open to match our eyes.
"Holy shit, are you okay?" I asked.
"That was totally like a sign and stuff. I am just like freakin' out. Damn that was like... so weird."
"So, you're good?"
We got out of the car to see the damage. The front bumper was resting on the pole in the median. Slight dent, tiny scratch, no big deal. We got back in the car, fastened our seatbelts and slowly crept back to my house. Without further incident, we made it safe and sound. We talked in the parked car for a little while, saying goodbye was awkward.
I'm not entirely sure why, but I felt the need to avoid him after that. Maybe I was liking him but I just told myself, he is work people. No fraternizing with work people.
He was relentless in his quest to become friends or more. He stopped by the store during my shift. When I told him I also worked at the mall, he was very excited.
"I like totally need to get some Christmas presents for my sister. You want to take me to the mall someday?"
I told him I was too busy in the upcoming week and said I would try to plan for it soon.
During that week of avoiding him, he met another girl, a girl I knew from school. They started dating. He came into the store to tell me he really messed things up.
"Lo, I know you don't want to go out with me and stuff, but I like really am in trouble, 'cuz like... this girl asked me out and I totally said yes without even knowing anything about her and stuff."
Even though I already knew who she was, I pretended I didn't. I let him tell me everything he knew about her, which wasn't very much. He didn't even know her last name and for some reason that amused me.
I told him, "She goes to my school. She's really not one of my friends, so I can't tell you much more than you already know. She's quiet ya know? Kinda eccentric but I guess she's okay."
"She is really quiet and I don't think she gets my jokes, or like maybe she doesn't think I'm even funny. I don't know Lois, maybe it'll be okay when I know her more and stuff. I like... already know you, and I like..."
"Enough about that. I guess you don't still need help finding the mall, right?"
"It'd be fun to hangout and stuff. I mean, if you want."
"No more fake dates or weird shit, okay?"
"Pick me up at 10."
As soon as we arrived at the mall, he wanted me to show him the store where I worked. I laughed at that boy, "You don't think I would really take you to the mall I work at, did you?"
He took the news pretty well. We shopped for hours, closed the mall. We talked nearly nonstop. When we got in the car to head back home, he started acting really weird. I asked him what he was thinking about and he laughed at me for noticing something was amiss.
"You like know me pretty well. Hey, I wanted to tell you sorry and like let you know I lied and now I like feel kinda bad and stuff."
"No guy buying perfume for his sister would take as much time sniffing different ones as you did. I knew who it was really for. Ya know, real friends don't have to lie to each other. Besides, you suck at lying."
He looked at me, shook his head and smiled. "You're cute."
Treating him like a chauffeur, I said, while pointing, "Home James."
The Home Fires Haiku Hullabaloo contest is shaping up quite nicely. Lots of entries already found their way to my inbox. If you would like a chance at winning some fabulous prize yet to be decided upon, send your original haiku to me at Home_Fires@comcast.net. The deadline for entering the contest is April 3.