He’s one of those guy guys, you know? All macho, polo shirt tucked into his JCrew chinos, belt and everything. He walks around town pointing and waving to everyone, all smiles and machismo. His perfect teeth glittering in the sun. I’m sure they’re caps.
He comes into my coffee shop at ten o’clock every morning. He’s always nice. He’s always friendly. He’s always preppy to the point of nausea. His favorite thing to order is the morning special. It would figure that he’s open to new things like that.
I own the Beanstalk on King St. It’s the only worthwhile coffee shop in this little town and I like it because I get to know the regulars. It’s a good store and it fits me.
“Hi”, he said, “Can I have a large of whatever you’re featuring today?” wide smile.
“Sure,” I said, he wasn’t going to flirt his way into a free cup of coffee. Not with me.
I handed him his coffee.
“Thanks, that’s a really pretty shirt you’re wearing today, green looks nice on you.”
He winked and turned to sit on the couch, picking up “Sports Illustrated” on the way. That makes me sick. He thinks he can just stroll in here and say something nice and suddenly I’m going to be his friend. Well, no way preppy boy! I’m not buying it.
After that day, I didn’t see him again for a couple of days. Not that I thought anything of it, it’s just that he’s a regular and I thought he would be here. But he never showed up. I wore my green shirt on the sixth day, not for any reason. Certainly not because he likes it. But like the man said, green looks nice on me.
He strolled in, I started to look busy wiping the counter.
“Hi”, he said, “Can I have a large of whatever you’re featuring today?”
“Sure,” I said and started to fix him the new blend of Brazilian bean I had bought last week.
“Sorry I haven’t been here the past couple of days, I was in New Mexico.” Like I care!?
“New Mexico? What were you doing there?” I asked, pretending to be interested.
“Well, my Dad owns a ranch out there and he’s trying to get me to come take over, but I dunno, it’s just not my style. I like it here. I don’t want to become the owner of a ranch, you know?”
“Sure,” I said, “you have to be true to yourself and what you want to do, that’s the only way you can be truly happy with your life.” I handed him the coffee, pretending to show concern, like we had made a connection, yeah right.
He smiled as he took his coffee and turned to check the newspaper. But he stopped and he walked back up to me. “You know, what you just said, it’s true. I do have to be true to myself and what I’m feeling. So... uhh...” he must have cleared his throat for what seemed like forever,keeping my heart fluttering in my chest, “would you like to go to dinner with me tonight?”
“Oh! Uh, well, you see...I ... I would like that.” and I found myself smiling at him.
“Really?” he said, eyes lit up like a kid. “Well, great! Can I pick you up when you finish tonight?”
“Sure, come by my place at seven, is that ok?”
“Yeah, that sounds great, I’ll see you then.” He whistled his way out the door.
I put my head on the counter not knowing whether to scream of laugh. What was I thinking!? He’s not like me. I’m shy and geeky and awkward. He’s like the captain of the football team, five years later.
My place is just below the coffee shop. It’s this great basement area. I love it. It’s totally my world. I must have spent two years decorating it until it really became mine. It’s a lot like me; a little quirky but lovable if you spend enough time with it.
By the time seven o’clock rolled around I had decided to tell him no. No, something came up. No, I forgot I had a pressing yoga class to go to. No, you see I have this strange disease and I’m going to die in a few months anyway, so there’s really no point. No. No, we’re totally wrong for each other. I’m afraid that you’ll date me and I’ll become attached to you and then you will move on to someone taller and prettier. I have no reason to be dating someone like you. Guys like you are always bad for girls like me. I should be dating some quirky guy, not Mr. Varsity Baseball himself. No, it’s just not going to be a good situation.
I answered the door.
”Hi! Would you like to come in?”
“Thank you.” He followed me down the steps from the street and into my living room, which is taking straight from page 13 of the Spring 1999 Pottery Barn catalogue.
“Wow, this is a really great place you have here. I like it a lot. I mean, it reflects you a lot.” he looked at me, so perfectly, so sweetly, so innocently. I knew he wouldn’t hurt me. My heart knew. My mind was skeptical.
“Let me get my jacket.” I said.
“Are you sure you want to go out with me?” he asked “I mean, I know I kind of asked you on the spot today and I didn’t want to pressure you into anything. I mean, there’s no reason for you to say yes.”
“Well, there’s no reason to say no either,” I said.
He smiled at me then and turned to walk up the stairs. I climbed the stairs behind him, without any reason to follow. Well, maybe one reason. He was good enough to see through me.