We were scouring books on the value shelves at the corner book shop. It was a rainy day and watching him skulk over the new science fiction arrivals made me weak and unusually aroused. I had a few good finds piled onto one arm, including one autographed book. I wasn’t much interested in the book itself as much as it being autographed. And then I got to thinking—how do they know it’s genuine? Do they have the author’s signature stored away for such an occasion as you would need to prove it was they who signed it and not some punk teenager trying to score a little more cash for selling an autographed copy? For pot no less. Pot.
This got me thinking about the night before. It had been the fourth of July and we, or my boyfriend of seven months, Jason, and I, had gone to my friend Shirley’s house. She lives with her fiancé, who proposed at Chili’s. They live right next door to his buddy Oscar and she gets no sleep at night. Which must suck since she’s the only one working. Right, so the pot got me thinking of them because throughout high school she was as squeaky clean as I had been, and now she had ditched her once in a lifetime music scholarship in the city to stay and raise her boyfriend … fiancé, I mean. I had high hopes for her, and they didn’t include working at a tool shop.
But I guess people had high hopes for me as well. I had my hands in everything while I was in high school. I was the epitome of a college hopeful; varsity swimming, chamber orchestra, theatre club president, business professionals of America vice president, and member of the art club. So instead of going to one of the many schools I was accepted into, I stayed. I stayed to be close to my deadbeat high school boyfriend who, after three years, cheated on me again and stole my school money to buy coke. After I left him and moved back home, he called and told me he was so lonely, he “had” to have a call girl come by just to relieve the pain of not having me there. If that was some kind of plea to make me feel guilty and go back to him, it didn’t work. Especially since that’s when Jason started to really come around and I realized how bad I had it and how I didn’t deserve it.
I’m still working on feeling like I deserve to have a wonderful life. He pretty much ruined a lot of that for me, but Jason’s showing me what a boyfriend is suppose to be, and I’m trying to be a good girlfriend. I think I’m doing alright. Jason was married before, young; his girlfriend got pregnant and he decided to stay and make it work. I’m not exactly sure what the end situation, or situations, were, but they divorced and he moved out. One other serious relationship later, he moved down to Texas with his parents. That’s where I came in. Apparently Starbucks doesn’t carry coconut syrup anymore and the coffee shop where I was working did. I’ve never remembered a first encounter before, but I remember him. He came in with a friend and I immediately thought he was cute, too cute for me, but still I was going to flirt with him. I’m only human. I called him coconut boy after he ordered. His friend told him I was flirting with him. I was, but I still tell him I wasn’t.
After that he kept coming in for his drink that I already knew. I wouldn’t charge him extra for the cream; just my little way of saying, “Hey, you’re interesting, and I like it.” We started talking online, and we added each other to our Myspaces, and all that jazz. Around Halloween he came into the coffee shop and we had a conversation about the Twilight Zone movie and how I loved it and he should see it. I avoided his green-eyed gaze because I was blushing and I didn’t want to spill any of his hot espresso that I was making for him on me. A few weeks later on my birthday, I was pretty disappointed that my then-boyfriend hadn’t gotten me a present, or a card, or had even said happy birthday to me. Before I went into work the next day, I was sitting outside and Jason comes walking up to me, tan and clean shaven, smelling wonderfully sexy, holding a bag. He had bought me the Twilight Zone movie.
Oh I wanted to kiss him right there, right then. But we were both so nervous and he knew I was with someone, so nothing happened besides me hiding the adorable Dr. Seuss card and him running back to his Neon. After that we started talking and hanging out. I was still with my ex and he was casually dating some girl. I was ready to leave my ex long before Jason came along, but he gave me a reason to do it. One night I was at Denny’s with the girls and Jason texted me about how he didn’t like the girl he was seeing and he was torn because he really liked this other girl who was unavailable.
SPN: what’s wrong with her?
SAH: she tells me to tuck in my gut!
SPN: what gut?
SAH: and there’s someone else but she’s very unavailable
SPN: how do you know maybe she’s not
SAH: her coworkers told me
SPN: well you need to ask her because sometimes people don’t know the whole story
SAH: I dunno, I’m pretty sure
SPN: look, who do you think about before you go to bed, and when you wake up in the morning?
SAH: okay, its you, its you, I like you
SPN: I like you too, but its complicated right now, but I like you a lot
A week later I was back in my mom’s house and introducing Jason to my friends so they could put a face on the daily stories I would tell about him. Thousands of kisses, and talks, and trips, and flowers and midnight romps later, here we were; at the corner book store scanning for deals. It’s a very good kind of happiness for me. Him and books. This is what it should be like, I thought to myself. He had one hand on my hip and the other one on a strange book with a troll looking thing on it.
I realize I write like my train of thought drives, so I apologize and I ask you to bear with me.