CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE
“To get a good answer
First you need a great question!”
“What are you doing right now” Ellie said while my mouth struggled to stop gaping
“Um……I don’t know….nothing I guess” I finally replied
“Good….I’m taking you to dinner”
“Right now!” She said as she literally dragged me out of my doorway and down the street until I started to follow completely by my own volition
We got in her car, I didn’t even know she had a car, it was an old rusty maroon station wagon, and inside the seats had holes and exposed sponge exploding out, and there was no stereo or radio, or anything really. I asked her when she bought a car, and she said it had been sitting unused in her mothers front yard for years, and she had finally managed to get it running again. That was the only conversation what so ever for the whole drive she took me on, about fifteen minutes.
She took me to the Italian part of town, to a little restaurant she said she went to frequently. We were shown to a table right away, Ellie had made a reservation, I wasn’t sure whether to think it was sweet that she had planned this out, or to feel sad at how predictable it was that I would be free for the evening, I mean it was a Friday night, for all she knew I could of moved on from her already and had another date, what made her think that it was so likely that I would be alone? I was sort of mad at Ellie having left me broken hearted for another man, but I wasn’t sure how mad to be at her, I still didn’t know why she had invited me here.
We were seated at a dark table for two, with just a candle for light, which glowed on Ellie’s face which was beautifully framed by her log brown hair. I looked around and realized that every table here was a table for two, with just candle light, and every table was taken up my couples, most of them starring into each others eyes, or playing with each others hands. “Fucking couples” I mumbled to myself.
I have always hated couples. What a selfish brand of human being. They just never seem to give any thought what so ever to people like me, who have no one, and who have never had anyone. They’ll cuddle in front of you when you’re waiting in line to buy something in a shop. They’ll walk down the street in front of you holding hands and taking up the entire sidewalk, oblivious to the guy behind them that doesn’t want to walk at their “Look how much we’re in love” pace, not even noticing that I can’t get past. They’ll make out all through a movie, so that Tom Cruises efforts to shoot the Scottish terrorist and reclaim the antidote to a killer disease are constantly interrupted by smooch, smooch sounds which sound like they’re trying to eat soup. They’ll sit on the phone in front of you while you’re waiting to use it, having one of those “No I love you more”, “No I love you more” fights. And they’ll come to a restaurant and melt into each others eyes, not caring for a second about the guy eating alone in the corner twirling up his spaghetti alone, because he can’t find anyone to have dinner with. I hated couples.
It only just occurred to me now, as I was thinking this while melting into Ellie's moon sized eyes, that this time I was one of them, I was a couple, at least at the moment. I wondered how many couples in the past I had despised on site that were in a situation like I was currently in, sitting across from someone they loved, being consumed by their presence, and not knowing why the fuck they are even there.
“So why the fuck are you here” I said, in a much more bitter tone than I meant to
“Don’t you want me here?” She replied
“You know I do…..but you told me you didn’t want to be”
“That’s not what I told you at all”
“Well what did you tell me?”
“I told you that I had an awesome time with you…I told you I was extremely attracted to you….I told you I’d love to be with you….just that I couldn’t”
“That’s not the way I remember it”
“How do you remember it?”
“I remember it as you telling me that you liked me, but had chosen to be with someone else……that’s not something you want to hear from a girl that you’re crazy about”
“Are you really crazy about me?”
“I think you can tell that I am”
“I got that impression…..but I don’t know you…maybe you look at all girls the way you look at me”
“The way I look at you is a way I’ve never looked at anyone”
“Wow….that’s got to be one of the sweetest things that anyone has ever said to me”
“So you still haven’t told me why you’re here, why did you come over, why did you bring me to restaurant like this?”
“Are you ready to order Sir, and Madam?” The waiter suddenly interrupted with
“I know what I want, can I have the lasagna please, and a coke” I said quickly wanting to get rid of him
“We have no Coke sir, would Pepsi be satisfactory?”
“Yeah that’s fine”
“Why do waiters always fucking ask that, does anyone really say, ‘no if you can’t get me Coke then no cola will do, this is an outrage’? Cola is fucking cola, bloody people” I thought
“And you madam?”
“Oh crap, I haven’t even looked at the menu….um (she began reading through the menu)…um…just give me the lasagna too”
“And anything to drink?”
“Yeah I’ll have a Coke aswell”
“We have no Coke sorry, would Pepsi be satisfactory?”
“Yeah that’s fine”
“Fuck you, you fucking moron” I thought as the waiter disappeared
“So” I said to Ellie
“So” she replied
“Well why are we here?”
“Oh the food here is great, you’ll love it”
“You know what I mean”
“I know, I’m just stalling”
“Why, what have you got to hide?”
“I just don’t know how to say this” she said, I hoped this wouldn’t be as bad as the last thing she didn’t know how to tell me
“Just say it, what are you worried about?”
“I’m worried that you won’t agree with what I want to ask you”
“Ok….are you going to ask me to do something I’m not going to want to do?”
“I hope not”
“Then just ask”
“Ok…..well the thing is….well you know, um, the um, my situation?”
“Well the thing is…..I don’t like my situation, and I want to get out of it”
“That’s a good thing”
“What you don’t understand though, is that me and Brad have been together for six years…six years, fuck it even sounds long…..we have history…..we have, I don’t know, we have connections to each others lives that you just cant break over night….we own things together, we share the same friends, we live together…….its not just like breaking up with a boy you’ve known for two months…..breaking up with him means breaking up with my entire life, changing everything…..there will be good things about it, no more Brad, no more arguments first thing in the morning, no more spending every night coming up with a reason why I’m not in the mood for sex ever any more, no more looking at him knowing he loves me, and I cant reciprocate, no more worrying about knowing that one day I have to break his heart….but there will be bad things too, it will change every part of me….its just not something I can do and say it’s done, it’s going to take time and it’s going to take effort, and its going to take tears”
“I understand….well I don’t, I have never been there myself….but I can imagine that it’s a hard thing for you”
“Thanks….I’m glad you can see my point…….thing is…well….thing is even though its going to take time….I’ve met someone else….someone I really like…someone I want in my life….I’ve met you!”
I smiled “So are you saying you want to be with me?”
“No….well yeah, I want to, but I can’t….not yet”
“I don’t know”
“So you want me to just wait for you, while you keep your boyfriend….until just some time in the future, and you don’t know when?”
“I guess that is what I’m asking….I know it’s so much to ask…but do you think there is any chance you could wait for me?”
“I don’t know…I mean I like you in a way I have never liked anyone, but…..but the reality is we still don’t know each other very well….how do we know it would even work?
“I know….it sounded like such a good idea when I thought of it this morning….but as I’m actually asking you it sounds ridiculas…..maybe I should just leave you alone”
“No…I don’t want you to…..I can wait for you” I replied, her leaving me alone was the last thing I wanted
“Are you sure….I mean, you don’t have to say that”
“I’m sure….how can I sit across from you here, being told that I have a chance with you, and decide to give that up just because of a little time….I mean its not like I am going to meet anyone else in that time….well who knows”
“I know….I know I could lose you to another while we wait….I mean any girl would want you”
“Thanks, but that’s not true”
“I think it is….I don’t think you really know how desirable you are JayJay”
“Thanks…..so how is this going to work….do I just sit by the phone waiting, hoping for you to call, sometime, anytime”
“No we can still be friends”
“Of course…I’m allowed to have friends”
“Here you go, two Cokes, can I help you with anything else” The waiter interrupted again
“No we’re fine” I snapped
“You said there wasn’t any fucking Coke, for Christ sake” I thought
We didn’t talk about much at all the rest of the night, just mindless small talk. We both agreed the weather was nice recently. We both agreed there was too much crappy reality TV on now. We both agreed that the lasagna was fucking beautiful. We both agreed that service in restaurants has gone down hill in recent years (I had actually barely been to a restaurant in the past couple of years, but based on our waiter this night, I was quite certain standards must of fallen).
If it wasn’t for the seriousness of the early conversation this would have actually been one of my all time best nights. Just sitting around talking to a pretty girl, and having no trouble making conversation, I loved talking to Ellie. Those of you who have never been faced with some of the social imperfections I was blessed with just don’t know how incredibly amazing it is to meet someone with whom conversation is as easy as missing the bowl when going to the toilet. I mean I just didn’t have to think about it with Ellie; I could just relax and be myself. My usual tactics when faced with sitting at a table with someone I already had gotten to know was to just ask questions I already knew the answer to, it was the only thing I could think of to say, but I never once had to do this with Ellie. Thinking that made me really start to wonder if I had made the right choice to be friends with Ellie while waiting, hoping, we could one day, any day be more.
“What are you thinking?” Ellie asked me as we stood at my doorway after she had driven me home. I don’t think either of us said a word the whole drive home. I had been in deep thought the whole time; I guess Ellie could read my face to see that my brain was in action. I hoped that using my brain wasn’t such a strain that it really was that obvious.
“Honestly?” I replied
“Well I was just thinking that even though I again had a fantastic time with you…..I’m finding it really hard to handle the fact that I cant just grab you right now and…..I don’t know….at least give you a hug” She didn’t reply. She just looked at me with this look of pure empathy, and about four or five times breathed in like she was about to say something, but never quite decided what.
“I mean….at least….well….do you want to hug me?” I asked
“You know I do”
“But you won’t because of your boyfriend…….and you don’t want him to be your boyfriend anymore?”
“It sounds so stupid doesn’t it?”
“It does to me”
“Well have you ever loved someone JayJay….loved them with all your heart….for years…but then realized that even though you still loved them, it just wasn’t the same anymore?”
“I know it’s hard to understand”
“I know….I don’t pretend to understand what you’re going though…….I guess what I am really asking is despite that….if there was no Brad…where would we be right now….would we be together?”
“I’d have my arms wrapped around you in a second….and I wouldn’t ever want to let go” she delightfully replied
“Then…how bad could a hug really be….surely you’re allowed to hug other people….it could just be a quick one….and I promise a hug and no more”
“I guess it is just a hug”
“Of course it is”
“Ok” She then moved forward and put her arms around me – right around my waist, with my arms around her upper back. Ellie is much shorter than me, so her head rested up against my chest, with her hair in my face, smelling as nice as a meadow after a truckload of perfume had been washed across it from a truck which toppled over after attempting to take a corner way too fast.
After holding her like that for a minute or so she pulled away. “Damn it!” I thought to myself, I was not ready for that to end. But before I could get too upset at her body withdrawing itself from me, she said “I prefer it this way” and she pulled my arms down around her waist, so that I had to squat just a little, and she put her arms up around my back. We molded together like two pieces of Lego being stuck together soon to be the corner stone of an enormous Lego castle. We fit together like we had been factory designed to fit together. She felt so perfect in my arms. I could have stood there like that forever.
Isn’t it amazing? Just a couple of days earlier I was making out with and fondling the breasts of a Canadian virgin while several members of one of the most popular rock bands in the world today were having an orgy with some of the most gorgeous girls ever to flash their breasts at a rock concert, just meters away from me. That was pretty good. Hugging Ellie like this was a million times better. It was better than if Ellie had suddenly floated into the sky with purple smoke as a tail, and declared that she was actually a genie, and could now grant me three wishes of my choosing.
Although I could then actually make one of my wishes be that Ellie do anything to me that I wanted her to do to me. So that probably would actually be better still. Then again, now that I think about it, I guess what made Ellie’s body molding together with mine so incredibly special, was that she had spent quite a bit of time with me, she had gotten to know me and she still wanted to be there with me. She wasn’t just some shy lonely virgin sick of guitarists trying to add her cherry to their phone book of virgins they’d removed from the world. She wasn’t some old ugly women who would take sex from anything desperate enough to give it to her. She was a girl who had options, even at home right now. She was pretty, and outgoing, and confident and desirable, and she had chosen me. I’d never been chosen like that before. What are the incredible odds that the first time it should happen to me, the person choosing me was actually my single first choice in the world.
“I gwwurrs iwee weghrty gwow” Ellie said with her face smothered by my chest so that no speech pathologist in the world could figure out what she was saying
“What?” I replied
“I guess I better go” She said this time briefly half releasing her grip of me, before returning her tray to the upright full hugging position. I didn’t answer; I just let the hug continue, for at least another minute.
“Sorry….I really have to go” She said again, this time letting go completely
“When will I see you again?” I asked
“I don’t know….soon….I’ll call as soon as I get a chance, promise” She gave my chest a little rub, and I felt the cold on my skin from where she had slobbered on me slightly which was now penetrating the material. She smiled at me, and I smiled back, then she ran off into the darkness.