When you are on the kind of lengthy romantic drought that I am, you start thinking back about the chances that you let slip away. I can't help but let my mind drift back to those times when, at a bar or party, I locked eyes with some beauty, and a little spark flickered between us.
The possibilities are endless in this moment: she could be the girl. The one you take home to mom and dad, marry and raise kids with, then spend your golden years sitting on the front porch watching the sun set while holding hands. Or better yet, she may be that girl, the one who goes home with you after drunkenly dry-humping on the dance floor for an hour, has awkward sex with you, then tries and fails to hold her head up high after you toss her a Gatorade and show her the door, silently whispering "Be strong" as she makes the walk of shame to whatever front lawn her intoxicated ass parked the car on last night.
But the window of opportunity to act on said spark is miniscule. You hestitate, and she walks away. You go to get another drink for for a little Irish courage, and when you come back, she is surrounded by a pack of her girlfriends. Or worst of all, you chicken out, and next thing you know you see her slip into the back room with the musclebound douchebag who probably couldn't tell her the capital of his home state, but at least had the sack to walk up to her and drop some line he picked up watching "Tool Academy".
I have had more than one of these moments in my life, but one takes the cake, a mistake I will never fogive myself for. It was back in college, and her name was Laura. And I mean....damn. Black hair. Green eyes. And a fucking college gymnast. Still to this day, the most beautiful woman I have ever seen with my own two eyes. And considering the douche I was back then, who would hit on any woman at anytime, I could not talk to her for the life of me. She would show up, smile at me, and I....became Anne Frank. Like I was hiding under the floorboards, hoping desperately not to breathe too loud lest me and my entire family become Hot Pockets.
This went on for years - she would even laugh at my complete and utter cowardice sometimes. I graduated, and thought that was the last of it. Until she walked into the restaurant I worked in after college, 50 miles from campus in another town. There she was, a group of what I am sure were extremely good looking friends with her, made to look like Whoopi Goldberg sitting next to that goddess.
When she saw me, there was instant recognition - and that smile that flat-out fucking floored me (points to me for alliteration). This was it. This was my time. I was going to talk to her or perish in a flame of pity and shame trying. My buddy let me drop her check (and the change) off at her table, and I walked right up to her. She looked up, and smiled in a way that let me know she wanted me to talk to her. I handed her the book and the money. And in a confident, incredibly sexy/macho manner, I looked her right in those indescribable eyes and said, "Huhhuhmmkaytanksforcomingnite." I think that's how you spell it, I'm not sure, it was loud in there. Then I turned around and made a bee-line for the kitchen like I was a fat kid with diabetes and my orange juice was back there somewhere. She left without a word.
Later that night, while my coworkers retold the story and mimicked my Forrest Gump-esque run for the hills, I grabbed the book with her change in it and took a single dollar from it, replacing it with another from my wallet. I went home and put it in a box, so that at any time I could take it out, look at it, and curse myself for being the world's biggest vagina.
A year later I moved to Cali, and spent a comfortable night alone with some booze and a chick flick (a practice that I am fully comfortable admitting still goes on). And being the Cusack fan that I am, I let the horrible script and lame direction of the film Serendipity wash over me. If you haven't seen it - a summary: Guy and Girl meet cute. Guy has girlfriend, Girl has boyfriend. They part ways, but not before she writes her number on a $5 bill and throws it into the wind (like people do), hopeful that fate brings 'em back together blah blah blah. Whatever, Piven's in it.
Painfully reminded of my neutered encounter with Laura a year or so earlier, I walked into my room and took out the dollar bill. The word "pussy" came out of my mouth as I looked in the mirror, bemoaning the thought of how, standing in front of that emerald-eyed gift from God, my testicles had chosen that exact moment to regress into my abdomen, leaving me standing there like Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs (Cue creepy music and the infamous "Tuck Back").
I crumpled up the bill, and threw it. And then (because at this point I was apparently still channeling the spirit of a little fancy girl) ran after it, picked it up, and spread it out on my dresser like I was trying to mend a baby bird's broken wing. And that's when I saw it.
Now, you can see where this is going. Before you cry "BULLSHIT!" - I swear to Peyton. I still have the bill if you wanna come look at it. No joke, scrawled on the back of the bill was one word. A word that instantly made me want to punch myself in the face, throw down the rest of my drink, and start furiously beating off. And not necessarily in that order.
Come on, I'm not an idiot. I ain't puttin' the whole thing up there. Fuckin' perverts.
She had left me her number, and I became, on that very day, the saddest pile of monkey spooge on the planet. Let that be a lesson to all of you! When the woman/man of your dreams comes 'round, try your best not to act like Drew. Like a puppy who limps around the house, giving you that, "WHY?" look when you just got back from the vet after having his nuts chopped off.
And that's not even the end. You should hear what happened when I actually called the number. But alas, that is a story for another time, dear friends.....