Monday, August 9, 2010

''Another Chance'' Cafe...chapter 3

The next day was a blur, literally. I truthfully cannot remember what I did. From waking up to showering to working to hitting the gym to eating a quick dinner, it seemed to go by so quick. At the same time, it went by ever so slow. Some points about it dragged on like they would never end. One of those days that you simply cannot wait to be over for whatever reason. But I had a reason, that reason was a certain phone call that I was looking forward to like a kid on Christmas morning. I planned to unlock my phone like I was unwrapping a present that I had waited all day to finally tear into. But that’s exactly how I felt, like a kid. I forced myself to calm down and think like a grown-up who has actually been around females before. I was reacting to the situation like it was my first school dance or something. Not cool, I know. Usually I am the epitome of cool. Cool, calm, and collective...the three C’s, that’s what I was. But not now, I was a love-struck fool. Wait, no, I didn’t mean to say love. Because I’m not in, around, or anywhere near that word. I couldn’t possibly use that word again, ever. Could I? Not after the last time I used it. No, not, nothing L-wording about this situation at all. Way too early for all of that anyways. Focus, stop being an uh, like-struck fool.

I watched some television while I inhaled my frozen, semi-delicious dinner which I slaved over a hot microwave for about 5 minutes for. I nervously kept looking at the clock every 10 seconds to check to see if it was time yet. Time to call Shea. Time to finally put an end to the day-long torment that I had been putting myself through. Eventually the time had come and I reached for my cell phone. I picked it up, opened up my call log and scrolled down to find her name and immediately pressed talk. Suddenly I quickly pressed the end button and dropped the phone as if it were burning the skin off of my hand. I shouldn’t call exactly at the time I said that I was. It would seem as if I was impatiently waiting all day for this moment. I obviously was but I couldn’t let her know that. Not with only two conversations into our acquaintance-ship. So I waited, but wait, did her phone ring? Did I wait too long to press end? Did I catch it before her cell alerted her that I had called on exactly the minute and second combination that I told her I was? Before I could entertain any of these questions that were pouring into my mind like a thunderstorm, something made a noise. A noise that snapped me out of one of my many mini-comas.

A very familiar guitar solo played to my left on the couch where I was sitting. It was the guitar solo from Michael Jackson’s Beat It. I love that song. Pay attention dummy, it was my phone and I had assigned that song as my ringtone. I quickly snatched it up and saw her name on the front screen. Her. Her not being someone I wanted to talk to right now. Or ever for that matter, but we were unfortunately linked by some unfinished business. I silenced the phone and let it ring out and go to voice mail. She can leave a message if she felt necessary but I wasn’t going to allow her to ruin my evening by hearing her voice. I held the phone in my hand trying to not think of those memories that I worked so hard on blocking out and getting over. But it was not easy; it was very difficult as a matter of fact. Why was she calling me again? We just spoke last week and there was no need for her to contact me again so soon. Why don’t you call your new boyfriend? I really don’t want you being a part of my life anymore. The sooner you are completely gone, the better. The memories arose and broke into my heart like someone had just hit me in the chest with a shovel. A very big shovel. I couldn’t believe after all this time they still felt so fresh and new like I was experiencing them for the first time all over again.

Just then, my phone rang again. The guitar solo broke the silence and my unwanted concentration on the thoughts that I was having. Hoping it wasn’t her again, I hesitantly looked at the screen and saw Shea’s name this time. A relatively small smile crept over my face and all of a sudden I forgot about whatever was making me feel bad. I was sure to let it ring a couple of times before answering. You know, to seem like I wasn’t sitting there with the phone in my hand waiting for her to call. Sly move, I know. Finally, I answered it.

“Hello?” I said, trying to sound smooth which I probably didn’t.

“Hi Patrick, How are you?”, she responded. She sounded pretty happy to talk to me; I tried not to sound surprised but glad that she had called at the same time. But it was hard, her voice never got old to me. Sure, I’ve only heard it a couple of times, but it was so lovely, so inviting, so…perfect.

“Oh, I’m good, just finished eating and relaxing a little,” I lied. “How are you doing?”

“I’m fine, just fine…hey, did you call me a little while ago?”

I immediately felt my voice fall into my foot. Yeah, all the way into my foot. I quickly retrieved it so I could respond. “Uh, I think I might have by accident, my phone was on the couch and I accidentally sat on it by mistake,” Accidentally sat on it by mistake? You said the same thing twice, dummy. It’s a wrap, she knows you’re full of crap. If she didn’t know it before, that lone retarded statement helped her solve the case of you being full of crap.

“Oh, that’s cool, yeah, that happens to me all the time. My friends are always calling me back and getting on me about my chronic ‘ghost dialing’,” she said.

Wow, either she bought it or she really does know that I am full of crap and is just being really nice about it. Either way, I’m just going to run with it.

“Oh yeah, it’s the opposite for me. I’m usually the one getting the ‘ghost dials’ and yeah, I call my friends back and mess with them about it too. Especially when it’s like 2 o’clock in the morning and I overhear a drunken conversation that they are having trying to pick up some girl at a bar. It’s hilarious,” I told her.

“Yup, I’m all too familiar with those kinds of phone calls, but usually it’s one of my girl-friends calling me on purpose so I can listen to some random drunk guy try to hit on them.”

“Wow, I wouldn’t be surprised if that random drunk guy is one of mine,” I joked.

“Haha, yeah that would be too funny, wouldn’t it?” she laughed.

I’m going to take another moment to make it known for the record that I just made her really laugh. I made her chuckle a couple times at the café when we first met, but it was like one of those “LoL” chuckles that you would just text when you didn’t feel like writing an actual response back. This was a full blown laugh this time. It made me feel good; I mean I’m just saying.

“So, how was your day?” I asked.

“It was okay, work seemed to drag on and on though for whatever reason. I don’t know why, but it did,” Same thing happened to her! See, it was meant to be. Relax there bro, everyone has long days. This is true, ok I’m back now.

“Yeah, mine too, like it was fast and slow at the same time. The slow times were mostly when I was working. Go figure,” I said.

“Yup, of course they are, because you’re working, same for me”

“Any new poems today?”

“Nah, I wasn’t feeling the inspiration today. Probably because my day was taking so long to end,” she answered.

“Yeah, boredom will kill inspiration in a second if you’re not careful. Then it’ll kill you”

“Hahaha, that is true. I felt like I was literally dying a slow, painful death today,” she laughed again. That’s two. Ok, I’ll stop keeping count now.

“So it’s safe to say that nothing special happened to you today. You safely pulled yourself out of your boredom coma and was able to continue on with your life,” I said. Another attempt at a joke. I admit not a very good one.

“Haha, yeah, I’m completely conscious and alive now, thankfully. But, uh…my day wasn’t completely uneventful. I really wish it turned out that way considering what happened,” Her voice kind of trailed off at the end of her sentence as if she was ashamed to tell me. I wanted to ask but didn’t know if I should. But she did start the story so in a way she probably wants to talk about it with someone. I’ll be that someone.

“What happened?” I asked her.

“Um, well, I was in the supermarket this evening picking up some groceries and I ran into my ex-boyfriend. Well at least I thought I ran into him. Apparently he watched me walk into the store so basically he followed me,” her voice wasn’t as happy as it was when she first heard mine. She sounded a little scared and freaked out. I wondered what this guy had done to her to make her feel like this.

“Wow, really? That sounds pretty scary. Did he do anything to you?” I asked.

“No, no, he didn’t. Not anything terrible anyway. He took my hand in his and I pulled back and told him to leave me alone. He told me that he misses me and he wishes that I would give him another chance. I turned around and walked away without saying a word. Luckily he didn’t follow me and I got out of the store as fast as I could. I just abandoned my cart of groceries in an aisle and left,” she began to stammer a little and I knew this was pretty serious. Trying to lighten the mood, I attempted another joke.

“So basically you’re starving at home right now because you weren’t able to buy any groceries,” I joked.

“Haha…hahaha…yeah, that’s exactly right. I’ve been surviving on crackers and diet soda until I can muster up the courage to go back to the store,” she sounded happy again with that unexpected laugh that I gave her.

“Well, I’ll tell you what, I’ll go to the store with you tomorrow and we’ll get you some groceries so you’re not rationing crackers and diet soda like it’s post-apocalypse times or something,” I offered.

“No, no, you really don’t have to do that. I can deal with it, I don’t want you to feel like you have to put yourself in that position," she explained. "I wasn’t trying to make you feel obligated by telling you that. It just kinda came out”

“I don’t feel obligated; I just don’t want you to die of starvation before I have a chance to ask you out”

More laughter followed and then she said, “Ok, ok, you can come with me but don’t think that means that I’m growing sweet on you or anything, ok?” she joked.

“Not a chance, just helping out a fellow eater, that’s all,” I joked back.

We continued to talk for about another half hour. I didn’t ask any details about her ex-boyfriend. I mean, I wanted to know what happened, I really did. But it was her business and I figured she would tell me when she felt it was right. Plus, sometimes listening to girls (or guys) talk about their ex’s is the direct path straight to the friend zone. I’ve been in the dreaded friend zone plenty of times. My female friendship passport is filled with stamps from the friend zone. I sometimes vacation there; it’s not fun at all. I really do not want to find myself there again, especially with Shea. Not getting ahead of myself, but I would like to see what being more than friends feels like with her. I’m hoping that it feels better than the last time I managed to stay out of the friend zone. But I’ll simply let nature take its course and see what happens. Maybe nature will be on my side this time. Nature owes me one.

Before we got off the phone, we set a time to meet at the local market for the next day and I planned on experiencing another fast and slow day. If just a phone call made me feel like that, imagine what an in-person meeting to look forward to will do. I decided that after our “shopping trip”, I would try to muster up the courage to actually ask her out on a real date. After the last couple of days and tomorrow, that should be a cinch, hopefully. She thanked me for listening to her story and bid me goodnight in that soft angelic but sexy at the same time voice of hers. I wonder if girls do that on purpose just to mess with guys. Make sure they keep themselves in his thoughts. I’m sure they do. Whether they do or not, it really does work. I washed my face, brushed my teeth and got into bed. No need for Sports Center tonight, this time it was her voice that lingered in my head and took me to sleep. Tomorrow held another day of firsts, first time my second meeting with a girl consisted of a grocery shopping trip. First time I would be escorting a girl somewhere because she seemed afraid of her ex-boyfriend. First time I would see her again since the café and quite possibly the first day of the rest of my life.

To be continued…

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