Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wish You Were There

This is a supplementary post to the previous one about my college girlfriend, “V” and me.  Aside from describing our First Time, I mentioned we had a number of dustups and skirmishes.

Besides her mother hating me, we had two major problems.

The first is that between school and both of our jobs, it was very hard to carve out time for each other.  And I could understand that.  But she also had a habit of agreeing to take on extra shifts, when asked, at times when we had something to do.

There were so many parties and events that I had to go to alone when I really wanted to be there with my girlfriend.  I remember one time in particular when I was throwing a big party in The Barn.  I was eager for the chance for her to get to know my best friends and especially my buddy, Billy G, who was coming in all the way from his home in Georgia.  Billy was a legend in our group and I really wanted V to meet him and vice versa.  This was the perfect opportunity.  Lord knows we spent most of our time with her friends; this was my chance.

On the phone, more than a week ahead of time, I told her about it and how important to me it was.  At one point, knowing how things always seemed to ‘come up’ with her, I said, “You WILL be there…”

I didn’t really mean it like an ‘order,’ I was just being dramatic.  Anyway, as I feared, she picked up another shift at the same time as my party.  I was seriously pissed.  I was even more pissed when I learned it was because of that statement.  I mean, even if it did tick her off, why not just say something or call me on it?  I’d have apologized immediately… I didn’t mean anything by it.  But instead, she just bailed on the one chance to meet my best friend from out of town.  She never did meet him

The second big problem is an indirect effect of the first problem, in that I kind of cheated on her. 

OK, [ducking] stop throwing things… let me explain…

There was another big party… I wasn’t hosting it, but it was a big off-campus party for us Commuter Center people.  There was nothing I wanted more than to have her there with me.  And this wasn’t just a party for my people… all her friends were there too.  Naturally, she couldn’t come.  I don’t remember if it was scheduled that way, or if she took an extra shift again.  Either way, there was plenty of advanced notice to switch shifts or ask for the night off.

So I went to yet another party alone.  But this time, there was this tall blond girl there… I don’t remember if she was a fellow Commuter or just there.  But we seemed to get along.  Obviously, I was pounding beers, because that’s what you do at a college party.  At one point, I do remember her sitting forward in an easy chair and I was sitting at her feet, leaning back against her.  I figured, through my beery haze… “So what if I’m talking to this girl?  V should have been here.”

Next thing I knew, I was sitting out in a car with Blondie.  But long story short, nothing much happened.  We kissed a few times and that was it.  More might have happened but she kept talking about her boyfriend, who was in jail.

Man, if that doesn’t throw the proverbial ice in the old lap, nothing does.  Like I need some pissed off ex-con with a teardrop tattoo on his face, out looking for me.  So we went back in the house.  I figured, no harm, no foul.

Oh, BIG foul.  I underestimated just how quickly word would get back to V that I had been canoodling with some other girl.  In retrospect, I must have been a freakin’ moron.  The party was packed with V’s friends.  There was no way I was not going to get busted.

By noon on Monday, V was standing in the Commuter Center staring holes through my chest.  Even though I really didn’t do much of anything, it sure did look bad.  There must have been a dozen different people that ratted me out so there was no way I could just deny everything.  Lucky for me, there was no one else in the car.

So I apologized profusely for the public cuddling and going outside with the Blondie, but I insisted that nothing else happened.  But the damage had been done.  I’d lost her trust.

I knew I screwed up.  Even if we didn’t really do anything physically, I knew that I cheated emotionally.  I couldn’t take the guilt.  Looking into the hurt in her eyes was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.  I felt lower than whale shit for being the cause of that kind of pain and vowed I’d never do anything like that again.  (And I never have.)

Slowly but surely, we worked our way back together again.  In this instance, I have to give a thank you to her friends.  They forgave me pretty quickly and helped convince V to take me back.  So we trundled on together, until I eventually came to the realization I mentioned in the last post, about how I didn’t think she would ever be able to stand up to her mother.  It was a hard idea for me to accept, but back then, getting married and settling down was the only thing that really mattered to me.  And it wasn’t like we had all that much in common.  I mean, she was very sweet and I thought she was sexy, but are fizzing hormones alone enough to sustain a relationship?  Once I realized that a long-term thing was off the table, it was clear that continuing the relationship would just be wasting our time.

So one night in May I steeled up my resolve, called her up and dropped the bomb.  Naturally, she was upset.  I caught her totally off guard.  I hated doing it on the phone but I felt I couldn’t wait for however long it would take to get the both of us together somewhere to talk.  I needed to rip the band-aid off.  Still, we decided we needed to talk face-to-face and decided to meet a day or two later, out in The Barn.  (Oh, NOWWW she can come out…)

It was really tough.  All I wanted to do was hug her and tell her everything would be all right.  I still loved her and really wished that circumstances were different.  But I knew if we got back together, it would just postpone the inevitable.  She still had to sneak around to see me and I didn’t want to live like that.  No future in it.

As it was, that weekend I was throwing a big Barn Party for our Commuter Center crew.  It would be the first time most of them had ventured out to the sticks and see the legendary Barn I’d been going on about for so long.  It had been shaping up to be an incredible event.  But now this…

Knowing that we had so many common friends that were going to be there, I told her that she was still free to come out to the party.  (After work, of course.)  She said she’d try to make it.

We hugged goodbye and she went on her way.  I’m quite sure we both felt like shit.  But I had a sense of excitement at what the future might bring.  I was back on the market now.  If only I had somewhere to focus my attentions…

Saturday night rolled around and this Barn Party was a doozy.  We had a keg of beer, wine, munchies, great tunes and a big turnout.  That, I expected.

What I didn’t expect that a friend of mine told me that now that I was single again, there was someone that was interested in me.  It was N, this drop-dead gorgeous blond girl that was a year or two behind me.  I was stunned.  I had no idea she thought of me that way.  We’d always talked and been friendly, and I no doubt thought she was smokin’ hot, but I thought she was out of my league.  Who knew?

Next thing you know, we’re slow dancing to “Wonderful Tonight,” (it’s good to know the DJ; it’s better to be the DJ) and murmuring sweet nothings to each other.  I could not believe my good fortune.  Naturally, it didn’t last.

Later that night, we were sitting beside each other on one of the couches, just talking, when V walked in.  Shit, I forgot about her.  Why the hell did I ever tell her to come to the party?

She saw us and her eyes flashed all steely.  I hopped up to kind of head her off but she turned on her heel and bolted out the door.  If I had any sense at all, I would have just let her be.  But I knew that she was thinking that I only broke up with her so that I could be with N.  She probably thought we’d already been seeing each other.  It was important to me that she know it was not the case.

I followed her out to her car and we both got in.  And then we argued for the next 2 goddamned hours.  I couldn’t convince her that the thing with N only developed that night.  Obviously she was thinking about that one previous time and that was coloring everything else.  Only this time, I really hadn’t done anything!  We hadn’t even kissed yet.

Bit by bit, I saw people walking past the car to leave the party.  By the time I got out of the car, the show was pretty much over and there was only one or two people left in The Barn.  Some host, huh?  I hate freakin’ drama.

But hey, at least I had a new hot prospect, right?

Wrong.  N was pretty pissed about the way I jumped up to follow V out the door.  I would have realized that much sooner if I’d had had the nerve to sit her down and talk to her myself.  But because I was still so very unsure of myself and convinced I was shooting too high with this girl, I chose to work through that mutual friend that got us together in at the party.  Three years into college and I’m still totally high school.

That Memorial Day weekend, we decided to go camping.  Me, N, the mutual friend, and another couple we knew.  My goal was to get with N that weekend.  I had Mutual Friend help talk me up to N on the ride down.  It ended up being a complete Head Games Weekend.  None of us knew what the other wanted and we were too stupid to just sit down and talk.  It wasn’t until the end of the weekend, (during which it rained the entire freakin’ time,) that I found out what was holding N back.  She thought I still had feelings for V.  I also make room for the fact that my interests may not have been best represented by Mutual Friend, because she actually wanted me for herself.  (I was not interested.)  Live and learn.  Nothing further ever materialized with N.

Shit.  Back to the drawing board.

It was weird, that summer.  Sometimes at work, on the floor at the record store, someone would walk behind me and I would catch the scent of Wendy’s French fry grease.  Instantly I knew it was V.  I’d whip around with my stomach in knots, but see that it was some other Wendy’s employee.  It’s funny how a scent can completely bypass all reason and rationality.  Stupid nose.

Later that fall, V left a note on the windshield of my car when I was at work, wishing me happy birthday.  I wrote her back too; I think I left it on her car.  Although I told her that I even though I still thought breaking up was for the best, I was really sorry about the circumstances surrounding it.  While I didn’t think we could make a go of it, I never ever meant to hurt her like that.  We made peace.

Usually with my stories, this is where we get to the part where I tell you she just Friend Requested me on Facebook.  But not this time.

The last time I saw her was 1986; she was working in a department store and I was shopping for a suitcase.  The next day I was moving to Cleveland to manage my own record store.  I secretly hoped she’d mention it to her mom that I got out of the gas station and made good.  But then I remembered that I didn’t really give a shit what she thought.

V ended up marrying this other guy from the Commuter Center… an Indy-car racing enthusiast that had been trying to steal her away from me all along.  Cracked me up… she always told me that she thought he was gross.  But I’m sure he knew how to fix cars. 

I bet that made her mom happy.

“I’ve got a place
Where you can go,
When you’re flyin’ high
Or layin’ low.
I’ve got the time,
I’ve got plenty to spare…
Yes I’ve got the time, and I’ve got the place.
I just wish you were there.”

“Wish You Were There” by REO Speedwagon, from “Hi-Infidelity.”

14 comments:

  1. Director’s DVD Commentary: “Keep On Lovin’You” had been ‘our song’, especially after the big cheating dustup. That album was huge at the time, but I always thought that the last song on Side 2, “Wish You Were There” was a much more applicable choice.

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  2. Does the smell of Wendy's fries still get you? For me, it's Polo Sport.

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  3. Bluz, V was definitely not the girl for you! You sure have managed to dodge stepping in deep doodoo a lot in your lifetime!

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  4. Wow, sounds like you were the hot ticket and didn't even know it!

    I hate relationship head game drama. I had a similar thing happen to me in high school where neither one of us would talk, so it fizzled out. Ended up being for the best though.

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  5. Cassie,
    It’s not the fries… it’s the smell that attaches to those that work behind the counter… the combination of fry grease, burger grease, chili and bacon. And it’s not that I find it literally appealing, in and of itself. It’s just the association. We used get together fairly often, right after she’d get off work, so I got used to it. And even now, when I get a whiff, whether on the street or in the subway, my stomach falls out just for a split-second. It’s a completely involuntary reaction that bypasses the brain and goes directly to “WTF!”

    Judie,
    Amen, sister Judie. The longer the life, the more doodoo there is. I’m the Forrest Gump of the blogging world.

    This has been fun. I should start writing about all my old girlfriends… Well, maybe not. I’m just telling the ‘good’ stories. There are others that are better off forgotten.

    Jessica,
    Just in writing these things, I keep thinking, “Geez, what a weenie I was.” If only I could put my current brain in my 20-year old body. I’d have been a Grand PoonMaster!

    OK, not really, but it would have been at least a moderate upgrade. I used to get sooo tongue-tied around pretty girls, at least until I knew them a lot better.

    Oh, and speaking of being a “hot ticket” back then… a few years back in my old department, I brought in some pictures of me from back in the high school and college days. My dear, sweet young friends, while trying to be nice, ended up insulting me by saying, “Wow, you used to be cute!”

    I was like, “Gee thanks. By the way, if you need me, I’ll be over here jumping out the window.”

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  6. (throwing plastic cup). Duck!

    You seriously got caught snuggling up to "Wonderful Tonight" and question why she was mad?

    Although, who of us had not dodged a bullett or two in the love department. At least you had the decency to feel bad about it.

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  7. DG,
    I would expect her to be mad the first time. But at the Barn Party, we were broken up. I was free to dance with whomever I wanted to. Granted, I'm sure she would have preferred that I be curled up in a corner in the fetal position, crying "Why? Why? Why?"

    My only concern was that she thought I was pulling something all along, when I really wasn't. I had no clue that N was going to bat her eyes at me.

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  8. You were a heck of a lot more forgiving of V. than I would've been. Missing the Barn party (the first one) was a sure-fire deal-breaker. You deserve better, Bluz! And now you have it :)

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  9. Mrs. Bachelor Girl,
    Well, I WAS really pissed. To me, when a one-time opportunity arises, you do what you have to in order to take it.

    It's always been my theory that when you want to do something, you make it happen, period. I think I get that from my dad. Just do it. I used to have a boss that told me, "Start where you want to end up, then work backwards." That was a good way of putting it. You don't start with "maybe," you start with the end result you want and go from there.

    But I have to be forgiving, because I was pretty much of a dipshit myself. I was still learning how to be the righteous dude you see before you today.

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  10. Even if you didn't do anything, the implication always sticks. At least you don't have anything to REALLY feel bad about. And it's probably for the best. At least you didn't get shanked by Billy Badass.

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  11. Beer,
    That's the thing... appearances really are everything. But still, I put myself in that position to look bad.

    I almost have to be thankful for the jailbird bf. That kept me from digging myself a MUCH bigger hole.

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  12. WOW that Pavlov guy hit the nail on the head !!!!

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  13. P.S. I get the same feeling when I smell Horse shit ....

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  14. Reeik,
    LOL... yep, that would be applicable, when marrying a girl that raises horses.

    Or are you talking about the things she said? :)

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