Friday, August 19, 2005

She's So Lovely

Part 1 - We Meet

When I was in third grade, there was a new girl named Caroline that I felt a primal urge to impress. At recess, I waited on the monkey bars until she and Julie, who was showing Caroline around, drifted into the best vantage point, then I scampered furiously across the bars, skipping every other rung. That was a manly display I thought, and I turned to see if they had watched. Apparently not. I leapt to the ground and sprinted by them and waited atop the slide, then launched head first and rolled into a somersault at the bottom and stood up. They sauntered by, uninterrupted, immersed in more important matters. I dashed by them again. "What is your problem, Scott?!" Julie yelled to my receding back.

"This is Beth," Paul introduced her. "Beth meet my buddy Scott." I took her hand and held it firm but easy. Her skin was soft and white like Nivea cream, and her perfume was subliminal, a mere suggestion. The tumblers in my brain started to spin.

The apartment was my first experience at living alone. Two years earlier, my relationship with Casey came to an end, and she had left me with this apocalyptic prediction, "Some day you will meet someone who is just as co-dependent as yourself, and you'll have a bad relationship that will end even worse." She bragged that she had lived by herself in a small New York City apartment, and in doing so had found her center. She didn't think I could do the same, that I would always depend on someone else for my sense of self.

I found the only apartment in San Francisco that allowed my two cats, on a bustling section of Lombard Street, a veritable runway on the final approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, and eight or so blocks west from the famous serpentine, cobblestone section that tourists find so fascinating. The year I moved in I had a fabulous tax return, that afforded me the money to buy a bedroom suite, an entertainment center, a surround sound stereo system, a set of All-Clad pans, and a host of artwork and knick-knacks for decoration. I took meticulous care of myself and the apartment, and in all respects I had proven to myself and Casey's ghost that I was capable of taking care of myself, and although I was little lonely, I had found the strength and pride inside myself that was there all along. In other words, I was ready.

"You are so lucky to live on Lombard Street," Beth said to me as our hands lingered for a moment and fell away.

"I have a great view from my living room windows. Wanna see?!" I skipped with childlike abandon towards the bay windows and hopped onto the love seat, and she dropped in beside me.

"This is wonderful," she said, riveted by the traffic that tore through the drowning street like rocket propelled speed boats.

Paul cleared his throat and brought my ship back to the planet's surface. We both stepped down and shared an uncomfortable silence.

"Can I get you something to drink?" I offered.

Paul motioned Beth towards the big couch, and they both sat next to one another. "Do you have any beer?" he asked as his easy nature returned.

"I have some Coronas in the fridge. Beth?"

"I'd love a Corona," she smiled.

"Care for a wedge of lime?" They both nodded enthusiastically.

The chattered to themselves while the movie, She's So Lovely played on the big screen TV, forgotten now and droning in the background.

"I can't believe he's single," she whispered to Paul.

"Yeah, well he's gay."

"Oh my god!" she gasped, scrutinizing me through the bar opening connecting the two rooms. I grinned back as I meticulously sliced uniform lime wedges into a ceramic serving bowl.

22 comments:

magnetbabe said...

Thank you, Scott, for making me spit part of my bagel onto my computer screen first thing in the morning. That's so funny!
And "her perfume was subliminal, a mere suggestion" is a fabulous line.

Tee said...

Laughing at your 3rd grade self trying to impress the ladies with playground gymnastics. Love it :)

...and it is awesome that you lived on Lombard St.!!

Scott said...

MagnetBabe - Now that was worth every word I typed. Thanks.

Tee - Yeah, I could have kept on rambling about the playground stuff. I was quite the little showoff.

trinamick said...

Now that's just cruel. But since I've told people a buddy was gay to keep them from nagging me about hanging out with guys, I have no room to talk. :P

Mrs.T said...

I'm sad for guys that everyone thinks are gay just because they live here...

However, I did crack up though, and laughing isn't easy at this point in my recovery.. LOL

Scott said...

Trina - It's a lie that can't hold water forever, but one that is used a lot I'm sure. It's not always a bad thing for women to think men are gay. It gives the guy a chance to know women without the protective barrier between them.

Mrs T - I'm glad to see you here again! I hope you are feeling ok. From the tone of your posts you are having a rough go at it. I'm happy that I could make you laugh though, as it is the best healer.

mr. schprock said...

I'm all alone in my office and I just burst out laughing! This is excellent! Especially the part where she looks at you and you grin back, having no idea what your buddy just did to you. Priceless!

Scott said...

Awesome Mr. Schprock, I wasn't sure if I got that one across. Thanks as always.

Mr. T said...

Ah, so it comes out at last.. it was YOU. My nemesis in third grade who kept copying my best moves to impress the ladies but it was always ME who was cast as the copy cat. KHAAAAAAN!

So Paul invites himself over to "change the pace" but then lies about you to keep his chances of scoring open. What a jerk... he's setting himself for a "foot in mouth" moment.

I like the playground piece and how it re-emerges years later with a hop on the love seat. When it comes to girls, guys never grow up. ;)

Scott said...

Thanks Mr. T, another element of my story that I wasn't sure was understood. I thought that maybe I should have made some reference to it other than "childish abandon." Cool man. BTW, you are one funny cat!

Jason said...

Hahaha! That's great. I used to be a single guy living with two cats as well (and I was thin), so I heard that a lot. I could turn it to my advantage sometimes, though. ;-)

The Zombieslayer said...

Lol!
All right, Paul deserves to get that chick snatched from under him.

As for the whole 3rd grade thing, I don't think I ever advanced much beyond that. A lot of these scars were doing stupid stunts to impress chicks as a full-grown adult. :\

Glad I'm married or else I'd probably be dead by now.

Braleigh said...

FANTASTIC post.

PS- Ender's Game was okay, I thought. It was when I read Ender's Shadow that I was blown away. Let me know what you think of it when you're done.

Shesawriter said...

ROFLOL! With friends like that ... well, you know the drill. :-) Thanks for giving me a chuckle.

Tanya

Beth said...

Bahahahaha! And the fact that you put the wedges of lime (perfectly cut) into a ceramic bowl. Oh yes, that's definitely something my bros would do.

Scott said...

Jason - You know it!

Zombie - We never grow out of it, and yes, marriage saves us from ourselves.

Braliegh - Thanks, and I'll definitely let you know what I think of ES.

Tanya - My pleasure.

GK - Oh? Sounds like I need to dig through some archives.

jenbeauty said...

This was great Scott!! I love these tales that take 2 or 3 posts to get through.

mr. schprock said...

Scott, one more thing occurs to me: when they make the movie of this, Ben Stiller should play you!

Miranda said...

Aww. No one ever skipped rungs on the monkey bars for me!

Scott said...

Jen - Thanks. Missed you on Friday!

Mr Schprock - Aw shucks. That would be the best!

Miranda - Finally, someone who appreciates me for my talents!

Trevor Record said...

Hey, you did live with two cats.... Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Scott said...

Trevor - Believe me, that is not the first time I've heard that said. Being yourself comes for a price.