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Love Through the Eyes of an Idiot
yatimk

I remember the first time I made a woman blush. I don’t remember her name. Actually, she was little more than a girl, and I was still a boy, a child, an idiot in fact. I would remain an idiot until just before I got engaged. We were in our early twenties, and we still thought of ourselves as kids, not adults. She was a temp, filling in as receptionist. And she was cute, real cute. Her dirty blonde hair revealed the soft features of her neck and jaw. I wonder how much time I blew chatting with her rather than doing work. (I didn’t get fired.)

She said she had a boyfriend, and I believed her. I’ve never liked lies, even little white lies, intended to manipulate people. So if the boyfriend story was a fib, I didn’t want to know it.

She also said the relationship wasn’t serious. I caught the hint; I wasn’t that ignorant. But I was uncomfortable getting involved with someone who would break up with her “boyfriend” for me. I was looking for a relationship, and if she’d break up with him to go with me, what would stop her from breaking up with me on account of someone else? I wasn’t stupid; just idiotic.

It was the last day of her job with us. I knew I would miss wasting time with her. This was it, she said; she wouldn’t be back.

“That’s a shame,” I said.

She looked at the carpet and smiled, and her face changed from freckled cream to some shade of pink.

Sometimes I think women don’t realize the power they hold, how good it makes a man feel to please a woman.

I should’ve gotten her phone number. I should’ve given her mine. True, maybe we would never have used them. But I didn’t even think of that. I simply wrote off the opportunity, in exchange for a little boost of ego.

I had no excuse. It wasn’t like it had been with the girl who sat next to me in my high-school French class. She was friendly and perky, and prettier than most. One day we were studying the use of the verb aimer. The teacher gave a quick rundown of phrases, after which the girl turned to me and lightheartedly remarked, “Je t’aime beaucoup!” I said nothing. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t even smile.

Yes, I have a way with the ladies.

Then there was the Stewardess. I do remember her name, but I don’t want to embarrass her. I guess now they’re called flight attendants. I knew that’s what she did because she told me. I knew she had an interesting, steady job and a decent family. And she was nice. She actually talked to me and listened to me and seemed interested in learning who I was. And I had fun learning about who she was. Oh, and she was pretty, too pretty. These were all problems, of course.

I could’ve fallen in love with her. Hell, she took my breath away. I remember the pool party at which I had to shield my eyes to keep from staring. And even then, my mind continued to stare. And when she smiled, dimples appeared in her cheeks, and her eyes lit up the room like candles. Even so, she still made me comfortable enough to carry on a conversation. And we had a few nice talks, which she alone facilitated. (I would never have approached her.)

From me, not even a nibble.

The only girls I showed any interest in were the ones with problems. They were looking for quick fixes to their loneliness or a support system for their psychological disorders. Sometimes, they didn’t know what they wanted. There are too many to count, and I don’t want to dwell on it. A couple of examples will demonstrate just how firmly my head was lodged in up there.

One girlfriend, with whom I had gone steady, broken up, and then gone steady again, asked me to stop off at her girlfriend’s house on our way out to dinner. We were also meeting friends at the restaurant. She needed to stop quickly to pick up something she had lent out. It was an emergency, she said, but she’d only be a minute. She left me in the car as she stepped inside the house. A half-hour later, I started wondering what was taking so long. I investigated. Apparently, she had a personal problem--I never found out what--that she didn’t feel comfortable discussing with me (like most of what she thought and felt). But she couldn’t get to her girlfriend’s house to discuss it with her without a ride from someone, a someone who turned out to be me, and she couldn’t just ask me for a ride. Even if it was indeed an emergency, she had no intention of being only a few minutes. This was not the last straw in our relationship.

More common were the girls I never actually dated. One complained to me incessantly about the dearth of quality guys for her to be with. Now, I was a quality guy, but not for her to be with, I guess. She just wasn’t interested. (In hindsight, I can relate.) She said she didn’t want to lose my friendship. Ironically, that was probably truthful. Naturally, for me, this was the signal to turn the Obsession dial to 11. She was afraid my lust was out of control. Even back then, I didn’t know the meaning of the word. I was eccentric and confused, but quite safe. I haven’t seen her since.

In hindsight, I was lucky. About a year later I met my wife. She wasn’t my wife then, of course. In that span, I had gone from one disturbing experience to another to another to another. How many there were I lost count. Boy, did I know how to pick ‘em. And M. was cute and sweet and sane, and she was a brunette (my favorite color), and her name began with M and R (my favorite kind); therefore, I had no interest in her. But I was tired of getting hurt, and I was an idiot, not stupid. So we went out.

At the time, she was studying to be a physical therapist. I was developing some sort of bony growth on one of my wrists, probably due to my poor posture at the computer at work. It sounds gross, but it wasn’t, just weird. After bowling, a movie, and a late supper, we got to chatting about work. I showed her my wrist. The only thing I remember is how gently she took my hand to examine it.

I must’ve freaked her out when I spent over a week deciding whether to ask her out a second time. I should’ve known, but I didn’t realize at the time, how crazy she was about me. Welcome to my world. We did go out a second time, and a third, and a fourth. Within a month we were engaged. I don’t remember exactly how I proposed, or even if I did, but it went something like this:

“I think we should get married.”

“Okay.”

“Well, that was easy.”

The wedding was September 11, 1993. We were husband and wife years before the twin towers fell, and we’ll still be long after they fade into the collective memory. Because true love isn’t about passion or lust or attraction or common interests and personalities. It’s something altogether different. It’s about learning to complement each other, learning to grow with each other. It’s about doing love-things, even when you don’t feel like it, even when life drives you to insanity, even if you think you’ve lost love. It’s about commitment and perseverance and thinking and feeling and happiness. And I thank God every day that I’ve found it.


© 2004 J. Timothy King
You can read more of what I've written at JTimothyKing.com/blog.

  • 1

Nice

(Anonymous)
Very sweet story, Tim. I enjoyed it immensely.

Suldog

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