Wednesday, September 20, 2006

kiss of death

What started off as a faint neutral smell became more pungent as the night wore on. I guess everyone has a smell, but his was loud. It wasn’t a universally bad smell but nevertheless, difficult to ignore. That was just one bad sign. The first came early, in the planning phase. I was having coffee on a patio with Josh that morning:

"What's on for your date tonight", Josh asked, lighting a cigarette.

I waived away the smoke, "We're going for mexican and then playing pool." - It was my turn to make plans.

"What?", he laughed. "Mexican??? For a date? I hope you're bringing your Beano", he giggled.

"Yeah, ok. Very funny", I looked around to see if anyone was listening. "I don't really care anyway", I said, turning back. "I'm pretty sure this is it. Finito. Adios"

"Ok, so let it be known", he pretended to tell everyone around us, "if Rachel invites you for mexican, particularly if she doesn't go easy on the re-fried beans, consider it a kiss of death."

"That's right."

So you can see, I started the night with a great attitude. Besides his smell, I also found his sense of humour, which if peppered strategically through the conversation could have been cute, was instead a burden. After I insisted I pay for dinner [he paid for the first two] we went to play pool. Generally I can be a bad sport, but this time I was happy he was kicking my ass - less guilt. I even threw in a couple of 'fucks' and 'shits' for good measure, which can work on a second level. How attractive is a bad sport with a mouth like a truck driver? Heh? See how my mind works?

As he pulled up to my apartment at the end of the evening, my seatbelt was already off. Before he knew what was coming, I gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, thanked him for kicking my ass, and burped (by accident – I know, very classy, yet incidentally not the least bit embarrassing for me given my state of mind). I opened the door and got out, leaving him looking confused. I felt nothing but relief. It couldn't have been a cleaner break, I thought to myself, smiling as I unlocked my front door.

***

But with sleep came turmoil. I dreamt I told him I didn't want to go out again and he became unreasonable, following me around, trying to talk me out of the way I felt. He followed me to the airport where I was catching a flight to Vancouver. In my dreams he worked in the IT department at my office, and I knew he would always be monitoring me from afar, looking for ways to make me pay. I kept thinking, isn't there an expression for this situation - a lesson to be learned? Something like 'never eat where you shit'?

In the same dream, I arrived in Vancouver where I saw my ex-boyfriend Michael. Instantly in his presence, I melted. He was everything I was looking for. He wrapped his arms around me and kissed me. Then he left to get something from his car and that’s when I realized in my haste to escape my bad date, I forgot to pack. I had grabbed the suitcase I had partially unpacked from my last trip, which contained only the un-essentials. I had forgotten all of the important things. The sinking feeling that never seems to evade me washed in and stood facing the happy, melting me, hands on hips in opposition. I awoke before I could tell which feeling would prevail.* I lay in bed with my eyes closed, consciously loosening my clenching jaw, mechanically separating fact from dream.

***

Looking in the mirror, I twisted my wet hair and clipped it at the top of my head. On my forearm, I could see the faint remnants of a burn I incurred while talking to this guy on the phone for the first time a number of weeks ago. As we talked, I grilled, and I didn't let on when I accidentally pressed my arm up against the barbecue. It sizzled under the heat. Later it blistered and I thought the scar would never go away, yet here we are just a few weeks later, and it's almost gone.

***

I never expected he'd call after that mexican excursion and I was relieved when I didn't hear from him in a few days.

But then, several days later I received an email:

"hey rachel
not sure if you're still away or not
thought i'd say hi...
i got the impression saturday that we both weren't too sure if we
were clicking or not... but i've been thinking about it and i don't
often persue things beyond a second date so there must be something
there
anyway - let me know what you think."

With an unusual lack of hesitation I replied:

"I don't think we were clicking. I think we had fun initially, which is probably what brought us to a third date, but I don't think that there was a connection. It was good to meet you though, and I wish you the best."

*score:
Happy, melting me: 1
Sinking feeling: 0

2 comments:

Lx said...

why didn't you let me down easier?
beee-yotch!

also, the Beano wasn't working for you.

Rachel said...

Good one Alice!