I poured a drink at the small folding table with the pink tablecloth. The rest of the people at the party were engaged in conversation and occasionally someone passed by to tell me that it was a big success, or thank me for hosting. I smiled and nodded, as if listening, but really my mind was on emily. After all, she was the reason I’d thrown together this whole affair.
Emily Crabtree was the new girl down the street. Well, girl isn’t really right. She’s only 3 years my junior and I’m 38 for god’s sake. But Emily, well… Emily is Emily.
The first time we met, she was putting her dog into the basket of her bicycle, which was padded with that fake grass used at easter. The dog was wearing a tiny helmet she’d painted to look like an easter egg and was wearing a sort of charlie brown sweater that made it look like a wispy-haired-yippy-dog-hatchling.
Normally, being a sane person… I’d have found the whole thing to be a bit disgustingly sweet for my taste. But then, something about the way she clipped her helmet replete with two-and-a-half foot long fabric bunny ears and how she delicately moved her cotton tail aside to sit astride her bike caught the light in just the right way. As she was about to pedal away, I noticed something and called out.
“What?” she said, pulling the earbuds out of her non-lapinate ears.
“I said, ‘I got your nose’” I called.
She looked at me for a second, until I produced a small piece of rubber with a broken string.
“Oh! My nose!” she said, taking it. “thank you!”
“Don’t mention it!” I said, a little too hastily.
“Okay.” she said and pedaled off.
I never did find out why she was dressed like the easter bunny in July, pedaling her schwinn pell mell down the street. Really, it didn’t matter either. I was hooked. Smitten. If my parent’s had been around, they’d have smiled knowingly and used that playground as they said, “looks like somebody’s got a crush on somebody…”
I smiled, sighed and went home.
That was how we met.
Bob came over two beers in hand and passed one to me. “Don’t be a water-drinker Bill. Have a brewsky” I took the beer and thanked him, hating him all the while. This wasn’t so bad in and of itself, but it was what would follow. One would turn into 2, 2 to three and so on in a short example of the fibonacci sequence.
Sometime in the next four hours, he’d drunkenly try to relive glory days of the double backflip he used to do when he was a cliff diver at Casa Bonita’s. About 3/8 of a revolution later, *splash* and sputtering and more posturing to make up for losing face.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. This is just beer one. Besides, there’s always a chance he won’t be a giant tool this time.
I don’t know why this is so stressful, usually I have a lot of fun at these things, but today all I feel is apprehension at the likelihood of oncoming embarrassment. I take another pull on the beer and look at the storm clouds on the horizon.