Saturday, August 18, 2012

First and Last Dates


Photo Credit: Clarita/Morgue Files



The first time Juan asked me out he stood me up. He was immediately written off. The Glitter Globe offered no second chances for this type of violation. So later that night when he knocked on the door, I took a moment to prepare myself mentally for the scathing reception he was about to receive. Opening the door, there he stood in the porch light covered in blood, his hand in a cast of some sort and his arm in a sling. Cheater. I totally caved. Completely fell for his excuse. You know, the old “My car caught on fire in an under-ground garage. I thought the gas tank was going to explode and it was parked next to dozens of other cars. I tried to pull the fire alarm, but that thing you break the glass with was missing. I had to use my hand. By the time the fire department came, my car was completely engulfed in flames – the tires even melted. I would have called you then, except they took me to the hospital. I had to have surgery on my right hand, and the left was burned so I couldn’t use the phone even afterwards. Can I borrow your car?”  Yeah, I know. I was so na├»ve. But, hey, the next time was a pity date!


Juan enjoyed hiking and wanted to take me. He asked if I liked nature. I absolutely love flowers, and that’s part of nature, right?  And I’d hiked around a castle in a nearby park at least twice!  We had so much in common!  “Sure,” I said, “I’m very outdoorsy.”


In order to reach the bottom of the mountain, we had to cross a railroad trestle. Halfway over I was told to hurry, just in case a train came. 


Then we had to crawl over the face of a little cliff under a bit of a waterfall. It totally wrecked my hair.


After that it got hard, climbing up a mountain. Grabbing onto a skinny sapling to haul myself upward, it came out of the ground and I slid downhill a ways. Lost a shoe too, well, it fell off when that happened. Then I lost it throwing it at my date. It started to rain then, and despite the exertion from the climb, it was cold. We took refuge beneath an overhang in the rock. I scooted deeper inside the nook to avoid the blowing rain, but was told not to, due to the rattlesnakes that tended to inhabit that spot. This was so our last date. At that very moment my BFF was enjoying Mackinac Island – or someplace equally as civilized that involved fudge – with her boyfriend. I thought about that a lot as I climbed.


We crested the top of the mountain, me flat on my stomach, scrabbling over the ledge. It occurred to me at that point that we had to now get down. I’d almost decided to push my date off the mountain, to test that exit strategy, when I heard rustling in the bushes. It was getting dark at this point, but I could see men hiding there. They were dressed in military fatigues. Juan nodded sagely. “That’s just the National Guard. They practice up here on weekends.”  Dang. Witnesses.


The National Guard hadn’t climbed up the way we had. They took the road. Yep. There was a road, and I started marching down it, arms crossed, in that cold silence that most men of dating age are quite familiar with. A truck pulled up alongside us within minutes, offering a ride back to town. There was heat in it. I huddled over that heater and Juan said, “Have you ever been skiing?”  Skiing?  I hadn’t, but I’d seen people do it in movies. “Because I was wondering if you’d like to go skiing with me sometime?  This winter?”  He smiled his terrific smile. “Sure, I’ll go skiing with you,” I promised. I had always wanted to try skiing. People were always smiling when they did it in the movies. I wondered if ski lodges had fudge. Pictures of roaring fires, ski lifts and fun filled my head. How hard could it be?

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