Our first drink together was at the Brooklyn, just a block up and over from the building where we both worked for the same sleazy telecom company. Ostensibly, I was just buying her a drink to thank her for bringing a bunch of friends to the opening of my play; but we both knew I was interested in her. And maybe she was interested, too. It went very well. We drank our beers and laughed and discovered that our similarly wicked senses of humor were becoming as attracted to each other as our bodies were. She confessed she was a horrible klutz, and found people falling down, including herself, incredibly funny. But once she had finished her one beer she stood from her barstool and announced that she had a bus to catch. I was disappointed. I wanted more time with this gorgeous girl, her sense of humor, and her luscious klutzy body.
“Why don’t you come with me?” she asked.
“Why don’t you come and wait for my bus with me?”
“Uh...,” I made a dubious face. “Really?”
Then she said what years later we would both agree was one of the most unconsciously hilarious things anyone could ever say to me: “Well, you certainly don’t want to sit here all by yourself, drinking at some bar, do you?”
“Who me?” I wanted to say. “Yeah, no. Cuz, sitting by myself and drinking in a bar isn't, like, one of my very favorite things to do. Not at all.”
It’s true. I grew up in a bar, working as a stock boy in my small town’s red-neck watering hole from the age of thirteen. There are few places I feel more at home than in pretty much any bar.
But I as much as I wanted to stay and have that second beer—and maybe even a third—and just bask in her afterglow; instead I went docilely along with her, vapidly chatting her up until her bus came. (A couple years later she admitted that she was actually on her way to another date.)
That first drink went so well that I felt pretty comfortable asking her out on an official dinner date. We went to Cyclops. Not the trendy vacuous bullshit later version located on First Avenue, but the older cooler incarnation down on Western. The one that felt like someone’s living room. On this date, she was decidedly less gregarious. I had to drive most of the conversation as she sort of stared at me blankly with what I would later designate her “white-man-come-take-everything” face. I was blowing this. I had no idea why. Where was the chemistry of that first drink?
Turns out, chemistry was, in fact, the problem. I just wouldn’t know it until months later. She had taken an Actifed, back when Actifed still had the good stuff in it, and she was barely keeping awake. She shook off the fuzz somewhat by the time we went elsewhere for desert. The conversation picked up and we were laughing and flirting again. On our way back to the car she tripped in the parking lot, and I said, “Hah, you really are a slut—KLUTZ!”
She responded by giving me blank Choctaw stare. She says now that she resolved in that moment to make me wait at least a month for sex.
We got in the car. I didn’t bother to go for a kiss when she dropped me off. Later she told me that she was disappointed and thought it weird that I didn’t even try. But I thought I had blown it with the “slut” slip. And plus, I was starting to get irritated by that all-too-familiar feeling that I was WAY more into her than she was into me. Always an ominous sign.
A few weeks later she invited me to a Halloween party in a warehouse down near the Kingdome. I dressed up as Jack the Ripper, which really just meant an overcoat, tie, brimmed hat, some stage makeup to hollow out my eyes, and some blood spattered on my cuffs. No one got it. I’m not surprised. How could such subtlety compare with your standard collection of outrageous costumery: girls dressed as kitty cats, sexy nurses, school girls and hula dancers; guys dressed as barbarians, Bat Men and Wonder Women, Rubik’s Cubes and giant penises. I just looked like some old-fashioned sleep-deprived dorky guy in a coat, tie and hat.
But at least she seemed genuinely happy to see me. To my simultaneous torment and delight she had come as the devil in a red dress: horns, pitch fork, forked tail snaking up from underneath her skirt. Seeing her like that—tipsy gorgeous smiling satin Satan— made me literally hell-bent.
But soon she disappeared into the crowd again. And so I wandered dark rooms illuminated only by black lights and the reflected fluorescence of sex-hungry ghouls dancing. I came to an orange sodium lamp-lit loading dock where she reappeared and introduced me to some of her guy friends, then disappeared again. Her guy friends all seemed to know she was into me. “Oh, so you’re Heather’s new boyfriend?”
“Um, no. But I like her. Why? What did she say?”
The guy dressed as Dracula seemed pouty and pissed about it. The guy dressed as a Desert Storm soldier seemed downright menacing. “So she likes you, hunh? I’ve known Heather since Spokane. She’s pretty special, you know.” When I asked him where he got his costume, he said, “Serving in Desert Storm.”
“Oh... well... thank you for your service.”
The guy dressed as Wonder Woman seemed totally cool with me dating Heather. I suspect his super-human tastes lay elsewhere. But I’ll say this much more for him. He was simply awesome as the Princess of the Amazons. Pitch perfect.
I caught up with her in a hallway. We talked and flirted for a few minutes. Then somehow we kissed. Finally. And such a kiss. Perfect, searching, strong. I slid my hand down her smooth satin dress to where her back curved out into her sweet ass. It felt like heaven. And the kiss went on. And then she pulled away.
“I have to go. I’ll be right back.”
And off she went. Into the ladies room to barf up the six shots of Jagermeister she had done earlier.
We didn’t go home together that night. Turns out Dracula drove her back to her apartment. She had been buddy-fucking him, but his luck ran out that night, she tells me. He didn’t get any after that Halloween bash, or ever again.
But I still had to wait over a month or so. I know because I remember it happened under her Aunt’s Christmas tree. And such a present to open. Worth the wait, for certain.
And ever after.
Again and again and again.