Tuesday, April 25

J. Crew & The Mystery Girl.

(Homecoming Quadrilogy - Part II.)
J. Crew & The Mystery Girl.

Still reeling from getting wretchedly betrayed (and almost killed) earlier on in the night, I kept a low profile for about an hour, chatting with close friends and wiping tears away with my oversized blazer. I didn't dance too much, for fear prospective dates would notice the huge pee stain that had been forming since that big guy yelled at me. I refused to stand in any open spaces or under any lights, certain in my neurosis that Nutass Boyfriend Rage-aholic would lunge from the shadows, John Rambo-style, slitting my throat with ninja-like precision and malice.

This was simply no way to live.

After all, this was supposed to be my night! I was supposed to arrive and emerge as a contender from a sea of pretenders, making a stand and acting like the straight guys do in John Hughes' movies. If there's one thing that 80's teen films have taught us, it's that what happens at a High School dance will have a direct emotional effect on the rest of your waking life; perhaps even beyond the grave. I needed to make sure my chance counted.

My only chance at succeeding tonight would have to be at the innocent mercy of a woman who was fortunate enough to not already know who I was. Most of the women at my school already crossed me off the big list of prospective mates in their mind many, many years ago. In the fifth grade, I accidentally wore my mom's blouse to school in what would be remembered as a tragic laundry mix-up of epic proportions. Since then, most people, teachers especially, looked at me a little cockeyed. In addition to that, my best friend all through middle school was a bona fide homosexual, so the deck has always been stacked against me when it came to being taken seriously as a man.

J. Crew & The Mystery Girl.

Across the dark gym, on the other side of the dance floor, my mystery girl sat by herself. I had been watching her for most of the night, and she looked absolutely beautiful. I had seen her once or twice during school, but never enough to form a solid opinion of her. She normally wore hooded sweatshirts and baggy jeans; tonight she was simply radiant.

As if her dress wasn't perfect enough, she was proudly sporting a cast on her broken arm, which she had meticulously decorated in a sparkly magenta. The 30 feet between us might as well have been a black hole full of pudding and sharks; there was no way I could muster the balls to approach someone like her for no good reason.

'Why don't you ask her to dance?' said 'Vinny,' a male friend of mine, as I stared off into space; thumping bass and strobe lights pounding in my head.

'Why don't you?' was all I could muster. To this day, I still can't think of a better comeback. Although, 'Why don't you go to hell?' comes pretty close. I was a little touchy at that point in my life.

I wasn't one of those guys. I wasn't a guy that thought so highly of himself to ask a stranger to dance and get away with it. I thought it was rude and arrogant, and I couldn't bring myself to do it.

'Fine, I'll ask her myself,' Vinny responded, who was certainly one of those guys. It always worked for him, too, which bothered the living hell out of me. I grabbed him by the shirt half a step later.

'You can't ask her to dance,' I said. 'She's mine.'

Vinny put his hands on my shoulders and looked me square in the eye. He only did that to me when he had something very important to say, or when he was about to knee me in the testicles. I got into the habit of bracing for impact no matter what.

'Listen dude, you're probably not going to get a chance like this again. She's sitting over there all by her damn self; just ask her if she wants to dance. Look, if it'll make you feel better, there's a girl I've been meaning to ask, too. If you promise to go over and ask her, I'll do the same thing. On the next slow song, we swarm like locusts. Deal?'

Such men we were, daring each other to ask women to dance. I couldn't believe we hadn't already been scooped up by some bikini sorority cult.

J. Crew & The Mystery Girl.

After a couple numbers, a slow song started to waft through the speakers and into the gym, as Vinny and I looked at each other with wide, non-gay eyes. This was it. We nodded without words and went our separate ways, as couples started to meld together like cells in a Petri dish.

She was still sitting where she had been for the whole night, looking rather bored and despondent. Her hair was curled yet silky; reflecting off of the lights like something straight out of a putrid shampoo commercial. Her sparkly cast bounced light around like a disco ball. I swallowed hard, shook my head in disbelief, and started walking through the crowd to get to her.

The dancefloor was packed with swaying people who already had dates, already were happy. 'Jerks,' I thought to myself, 'every last one of 'em,' even as I was moving heaven and earth to join the ranks of the taken. I pushed, shoved and said 'excuse me' about a dozen times before I made it to the other side of the gym, losing sight of her and doubting my every step. I looked left and right, trying to remember where she was sitting.

She was gone, for the moment. The song was half-over at this point.

My friend was right; I stalled and lost my chance. That was my one big moment to meet her, and it was over. My big night of becoming the jerk I always hoped I'd be was going over about as well as a concrete balloon.

Truth is, it wasn't over; it was about to get much worse.

No more than 5 feet away, I saw her sitting at another table, but not on a chair. She was sitting in the lap of a guy I'd never seen before.

As my crooked smile faded, I saw her smile growing. They were laughing, having a good time. There wasn't room on that chair for a third person, even if I was only 100 pounds at the time. Up close and under the lights, she was even more beautiful than I imagined. Her boyfriend looked fresh from the pages of a J. Crew catalog, and I secretly wondered how I could find his address so I could mail him half of a cat. Half of his cat. I bet he smelled like Polo and had a closet full of rugby shirts with popped collars, each one sexier than the last.

What an asshole. I didn't know the first thing about either one of them, but I knew he didn't deserve her. Neither did I, really, but at least I knew who Larry Csonka was (see part 1). I stood there alone, watching the two of them like a car accident until the song mercifully ended.

Dejected and heartbroken for the second time tonight, I waded through the crowd of happy people, back to where I was talking with Vinny earlier. He was waiting for me, and he was also by himself. That made me feel a little better.

'How'd it go?' he asked me.

'Um...couldn't find her.' I fired back, lying for about the tenth time that night. 'How about you?'

'She didn't want to dance. What a bunch of crap.'

'I hear you, dude. Oh well, still plenty of time tonight, right?'

'You got it.'

We stood there, trying our damnest to save face after such a wicked turn of events. He eventually disappeared into the darkness of the dance floor, and I tried to get the image out of my head of J. Crew with my mystery girl on his lap.

I didn't see her again that night, mainly because I didn't want to. There were plenty of other ways I could torture myself if need be. Besides, the night was barely half-over. There was so much more left to do; so many people left to reject me.

In case you haven't caught on by now, the mystery girl was the Missus.

(Tomorrow: Part III.)

Just goes to show that at one point in his life, CDP was a skinny, pale, awkward boy with a lusting for the Missus.

Completely different from the man he has grown into, of course.

You might want to mention something about TV in the next post.
I like the story...I've been looking out each morning for when the new edition shows up!

People probably just don't want to comment part way through a story. I mean who wants to throw out theories part way through? One's idea could look ridiculous!

So I predict on Lost that they are using a trebuchet to launch the food from the center of the island, after it is delivered via DHARMA shark-guarded submarines to the "underwater hatch" and sent by mind-reading, black-smoke spewing underground trains to said food base there.

Oh, and I bet in the end...you get the girl.
I may end up with the girl in the long run, but not during this story. My luck wasn't as good as it is now, which isn't saying much.

I like the idea that DHARMA is catapulting food throughout the island from the '?' in the center. What a fun job that would be.

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