The Birthday Present.
April 30, 2011 § Leave a Comment
I never met him before that night. I didn’t even know his name. He was the guy on campus all the girls would swoon for. His shy demeanor made him all the more mysterious. He acted as though he didn’t have a care in the world. As if nothing mattered except for him and his art. He tottered around in his bare feet, ripped jeans, and paint-ridden shirts. His beautiful air about him presented himself as being so powerful and self-assured.
The night I met him he walked straight up to as if to kiss me. He was strong and bold. He talked of himself as if he really knew who he was. As if he enjoyed playing the role of himself. His dusty brown hair and blue eyes sparkled. When he walked through my front door and appeared amidst my twenty-first birthday party, he felt perfect. And I turned my gaze from the friends ruining the spoils of my self-purchased alcohol. The loud chatter around me of anything but important or worth note faded into the background to discover the soul that had just entered my 1940′s college homestead.
He felt comfortable. More comfortable than the previous four boyfriends I had been with. More homey than the 6 past partners I’d had. More delightful and alluring than the previous 23 individuals I had kissed. He felt like an old friend once long forgotten and a new lover. A kindred spirit and a tease.
He locked eyes onto mine and never let go. He starred at the empty liquor bottles strewn across the table and asked of a secret stash. I ran off and returned with two red cups of Jack and Coke. He sipped gratefully and returned us to his endeavor in getting to know one another. We bantered on of art, music, and school as if we knew the history long since past. As the conversation drifted we found ourselves seated out on the front porch. My leg curled behind his and his sweatshirt on my shoulders.
Two o’clock approached and the crowd soon began to find it’s way home. When the numbers dwindled to close friends and a hopeful gentleman, he made his way to his lifted Chevy. Of course. As he walked away and looked back at me under the night sky I mouthed,
He returned. Twenty or so minutes later he found me battling with the said gentleman to leave me be. The gentleman insisted on continuing the party in my room. I resisted. When my comfort came back he dismissively stated,
“You have to go home.”
“Why?” said the gentleman.
“Because I’m staying here tonight.”
At that the gentleman walked out the door. My comfort turned and looked into my hazel eyes. And kissed me.
“I’m sorry I didn’t bring you a present.”
“That’s okay,” I truthfully replied.
“You can unwrap me if you’d like,” he teased.
He was cheesy to boot. And delightful. We snuggled on the couch and found ourselves in trouble with each other the next day. Like a good man, he took me to breakfast. Over our coffee and eggs, he still felt the same. None of that awkwardness that comes along with some people. No heartache that comes with others. The conversation again flowed naturally.
“You don’t know who I am?” he persisted.
“Am I supposed to?”
“No, it’s just…well…you…” his voice trailed off, but I knew his insinuation.
And after hearing his explanation I laughed, “I don’t care who you are. I just like you.”
I don’t think he quite understood. He was so used to being liked for WHAT he did and not simply WHO he was. A little part of my heart hurt to find this out. I wouldn’t find out for a long time that I was the only one.
As we stepped outside for the finishing of our day and reality’s requirement of finding us again, we drove along route sixty six and foothill with the windows down. After our Sunday drive he returned me to my home. Dragging on his cigarette balanced on the edge of his lips, he again looked at me as if to kiss me. I did.
“You kissed me even though I smell of smoke?”
“I don’t care.”
“I like you.”
“I like you too.”