All Grown Up #4

My Heart Just Sank The Moment I saw You

July 19, 2012

I just stood there. Looking at my reflection.

I looked like an idiot.

White shirt, navy blue sweater, jeans and suede shoes. What was so off? My messy brown hair and grey eyes stupidly looked back at me. I checked the time. Six minutes late.

I don’t know why I was so nervous about this date. I had gone for the occasional set-up but this was a little different. Claire had simply walked up and asked me out with an almost insulting courage.

She was sitting across the table from me now. Long auburn hair, yellow dress, a bright blue flower necklace.

“Two coffees and apple pie please.”

“Oh, I’ll have cherry.” I looked at her, an eyebrow arched questioningly.

“Claire Appleby!? I’ve grown to hate the fruit.”

I laughed nervously and apologised to which she gave a smooth wave of her hand.

“It’s all fine.”

“How ‘bout some peach cobbler instead?” I grinned at her.

We had exhausted the list of things to talk about within the first half hour at Buttercup, Mrs. Patterson’s restaurant. Claire taught physics at the elementary school and that did nothing to help our chemistry. I had to throw the flowers I’d got her because she was severely allergic to pollen. She hated fishing, country music and sodas. And iced tea. And beer. Who hates beer? And what was I supposed to do with my second date plans of taking her fishing with some sandwiches and beer?

I was screwed.

We got out of Buttercup and walked down the pier.

I caught her staring at me, bemused. “So, which one’s yours?”

She completely threw me off, and my first instinct was to lie but I ignored it. “How did you know I have a boat? You haven’t been stalking me now, have…”

She put up both hands. “No, I just assumed you did. You’ve got a ship’s wheel tattoo, I can see a little part of it near your collar.” She smiled. The wind picked up her hair and mine, blowing it around. We kissed. And that’s when things got weird.

I didn’t walk her home. Does that make me screwed up? (I heard one of the kids say it the other day – “Dude how screwed up d’you have to be if books like that turn you on!”)

I packed a bag and went back to the pier. Still dressed for my date. Oh god that was such a shitstorm.

Six pack in one hand, my shoes in the other, I walked down to my still unnamed boat. The wood was rough but warm under my bare feet. I flung my shoes onto the deck and climbed aboard for the night. I changed into sweatpants and a t-shirt, and sat down with my beers on the deck. Perched like a bird. A bird with beer, and some whiskey down in the mini-bar.

The wind rudely asked me to put on my jacket. I finished my beer and got the whiskey from downstairs. And cigarettes. I couldn’t remember how long it had been since my last smoke.

I stopped drinking after a while but I couldn’t sleep. I just lay down with my eyes closed. The window was open just a crack, the breeze sifted in and cooled the room. In the morning I walked back to my house, changed clothes and left for the bookstore.

Jaime was waiting for me, sitting pretty in a green blouse and dark shorts. I smiled sheepishly for being late, and she huffed ahead as I unlocked the door. I went upstairs to air the room, it had to be renovated over the next few days. I opened the windows to let in some sun and fresh air. And as long as I was on “fresh air”, I lit a cigarette.

Ike

Rohan Dahiya

Image Courtesy [Rohan Dahiya]