Tuesday, January 19, 2010
another bright spark
He keeps his eyes on Stacy across the room. Bright lights flash behind her. Glass clinks and clanks chip at his ears. Music thumps over the top of everything. He feels boxed in; almost sensory deprived. She smiles at the guy she is talking to. Earlier he and Stacy had been involved in a heated discussion. They were always arguing. She irritated him with her attitude. To him, she was insufferably conceited. He took it upon himself to try and knock her down with nasty quips, jabs and a general mean spirit. Sometimes he made him so angry that the sound of her voice made the inside of his head itch. Her overwhelming fragrance made him want to purge the bile that would churn in his gut in her presence. Yet, here he is staring at her as she mingles with most of their co-workers. Was he jealous? She was having a good time and all could do was sit away from the group and drink beer after beer. He thought of her as a virus.
A few months prior, on a similar night out, they had gotten into an argument that isolated them from the rest of their co-workers. Before they realized it, everyone had made their way someplace else. The little party was over. They had continued to drink through their disagreement until their insults had ceased to make any sense. They had stayed so long that he had missed his last bus home, while she had outlasted the person she had hoped to get a lift home from. At least she lived within walking distance. Reluctantly, she asked if he minded walking home with her. Despite enjoying the idea of her facing a cold walk home alone through a shady neighborhood, he agreed to go with her. He had nowhere to go anyway. While they stumbled towards her place, their constant debate and verbal abuse simmered into actual quiet conversation. They both asked each other simple questions regarding each other’s pasts. She confessed to him of a former engagement that was broken due to her fiancés infidelity. After that had happened she had cropped her long blond hair down to nothing in protest. He felt a pang of sympathy for her and stayed silent. Once they reached her home, they caught her roommate getting ready to go to bed. Stacy introduced them to each other and then invited him in for a drink.
Her laugh snapped him out of his memory. She looked at him momentarily and then returned to her conversation. He was pretty sure that she was aware that he had been watching her all evening. She put one of her hands across the back of her neck for a moment and then fussed with an earring, while keeping focus on the new guy. The look in her eyes reminded him of that one night.
After she had invited him in, they sat next to each other on her couch and sipped from bottles of cheap beer. Their conversation continued examining each other’s histories, until she shifted gears to find out about his romantic status. He confessed that he had none. She seemed surprised, which kind of shocked him. She told him that any woman would want to be with a guy like him. Stacy leaned over closer to him and softly told him that he needed to open up and be himself and the women would find him. Then she leaned back again and laughed that awful laugh.
He bristled from that memory and orders another beer from the waitress. He wondered if this is what his life will be like. The only passion he had ever exhibited in his life was to solely spew venom at those who bugged him. The only sign of life he had ever shown – going back to grade school – had always been with the girls who grinded his nerves. The girls he liked would have never known, because he could not convey those feelings. It was always the girls who pissed him off. They were always girls who would not back down and they were the ones who always stuck with him. They are the ones he still remembers, while his actual crushes faded away.
The waitress set his latest beer on the table and took the empty pint. She says, “Is everything okay?”
“I don’t know,” he responds without looking up. He didn’t want to see Stacy having a good time anymore. Seeing her made him hate himself, because she made it clear that his anger was all that kept him going. Apparently “being himself” meant being an ass.