another node about some girl, right?
No. Not some girl. The girl. The girl who works in the punk rock store down the street. She wears black eyeliner with red eye shadow. Her lips are always smeared with purple, and her dark black hair is knotted on top of her head with dozens of clips sticking out of it. She’s standing with another girl talking about the best way to put streaks in hair. They’re trying to decide whether purple or green streaks would be better for a Tenacious D concert that weekend. They decide on blue. I watch my punk rock girl go to the cash register, ring up the purchase, and fix her gaze on me.
I jump when I realize she’s looking at me and go back to deciding which T-shirt to buy next, the newest one from New Found Glory or the Dropkick Murphys. I’m about to decide on buying one that says “can’t sleep, clowns will eat me” when I feel her walk by.
“That’s one of my favorites”, she says.
“Yeah, it’s a little quirky”, I say, while inwardly smacking my hand against my head. quirky? Where the heck did that come from? I’ve never used that word before in my life! Quick, say something intelligent.
“You really think blue is the appropriate hair color for a Tenacious D concert?” I ask.
The corner of her mouth twitches into a half smile, rolls her eyes to the side and says “Have you even ever been to at Tenacious D concert?”
“No”, I say.
Her eye brows raise a little in surprise, her face looks open and calm. “Well, you’ll just have to go with me tomorrow night then.”
“Sure, I’ve got two tickets, I need someone to go with, why not you?”
Somehow I was able to make myself agree. I stammered something about where to meet her and when as she walked me to the cash register, and I walked out of the store.
“Hey,” she called, “you forgot your shirt”.
The next night I drove my Oldsmobile to the mall to pick her up. She looks great. Her hair is up in little twists all over her head, she’s wearing a little red T-shirt that says “you don’t know me, but I’m famous”, and lots of bracelets. I think her arms are slender and long because she wears so many bracelets, like the African women who stretch their necks to be more beautiful.
She slides into the seat next to me and looks me over. “Star Trek called, they want their shirt back,” she says with a wink. I start the car and drive on. We get to the venue an hour early, because she wants to make sure we’re up front. There’s already a line forming and she runs up to stand with some of her friends. She is perfect, standing in this ghetto part of town. The street light shines down on her hair, highlighting the pink and purple streaks that twist and turn in -
“I beg your pardon?” I say.
“They need to see you ID,” she says, leaning in.
I show the man my license, he puts a bracelet on my wrist and she drags me into the club. We stand near the front and she and I chit chat. We talk about her dog, the car she’s getting when she gets another thousand dollars in the bank, and whether Duran Duran will make a comeback tour. The show was amazing, she danced with me. I did not dance with her. Not at first anyway. She took my hands in hers and began to make me dance. I felt very awkward, but she just closed her eyes and let the music swirl her arms and hips around. She was totally free and I loved her. She opened her eyes. “They must call you Mr. Bojangles at home, huh?”
She was very quiet as we drove home that night. It was raining a little and I watched her out of the corner of my eye as she was tracing drops of water making their weary way down the window. She hummed to herself since the radio was off. She was off key and seriously out of tune, but I couldn’t help but smile to myself, listening to her voice meld with the sound of the wheels on the wet pavement.
I turned the engine off in front of her house. She arched her back and stretched, turning her head from side to side, her neck popping softly. She smiled at me.
“Thanks for a really great night, I had fun.”
“Sure”, she said “Anytime you need culturing, just let me know”. Her hand moved to the door handle.
“Wait”, she paused. Deep breath. “Would you want to go to another concert with me some other time?” She turned her head to the side.
“That’s pretty funny, a little like your haircut.” She winked, got out of the car, and walked away. Always that mouth. That vicious, vicious mouth. Sarcasm will rip a man’s heart out if it comes from a mouth that sweet.
I fell face forward into my steering wheel as she walked in the front door.