Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pinkie Swear

When I was six, I made a pact with a friend of mine that if neither of us were with someone by the age of twenty-one, we'd get hitched. We pinkie sweared. Obviously the marital logic of first graders leaves something to be desired, but I was six, and she was my first crush.

Two years past the deadline of our supposed pact, and it's funny to see how completely logical getting married at age twenty one seemed at the time. Apparently the inherent fear of lifelong solitude every single mid to late thirty-something feels crept early into our pre-adolescent psyches. Or maybe we were just bored.

I ran into her recently (much to my disappointing dismay) and had the following exchange:

Her: "Oh my god, hey you!"

Me: "Oh shit, , hi." (Being caught off guard by an acquaintance from the past while drinking coffee in a dimly lit corner while consciously hiding in one's disheveled hoodie is not the type of renewed impression one wants to make. Though she did look pretty good.)

Her: "Oh my god honey, I was totally thinking about you the other day. How are you?" (It should be noted that her penchant for using "oh my god" in every conversation was something I thought was cute at age six. At twenty-three, not so much.)

Me: "I'm doing...uh, okay. You know, the usual stuff, writing, and breathing, and living, and shit...(I seem to always unintentionally throw on "and shit" towards every 'stop and chat' with old acquaintances from where I grew up in Queens. Maybe it makes me feel like I'm still keeping it real. Or maybe I'm just overcompensating.)

Her: "Haha, 'and shit.' You so always were funny.(Oh yes, that too.) So what's up with everything else? You look great.(If by 'great' she meant 'unwashed vagrant-like' then yes.) You seeing anybody? Get married or anything? Haha."

Me: "Uh, no, nothing serious. I don't see himself getting married anytime soon...or ever."

At this point, her loud, Cheshire cat grin appeared to fade somewhat.

Her: "Oh, yeah, I feel you. I was just talking with some girlfriends of mine about you. Remember our pact? How we promised to get married if we were still single at 21?"

Me: "Oh, yeah, I remember. (At the moment, I did not) That was a longtime's funny how silly we were when we were kids."

She actually seemed visibly disappointed that I didn't remember. A long painfully awkward pause. She continued looking at me, while I watched an elderly man with a cane make a Herculean effort to open the restroom door. Silence. Was she still looking at me? Slight glance out of the corner of my eye: yes, she was still looking at me. This is why I should never go outside and why I need to buy a goddamn coffee maker.

Me: "So...(I stood up and attempted to leave even though I had just sat down moments ago to enjoy my coffee.) I should go..."

Her: "You know, I really kinda miss you. (Totally out of left field. If my disheveled vagrant insomniac state could have mustered any energy at that moment, I might have raised my eyebrows in surprise. Instead I yawned.) I always kinda had a thing for you, and now everything's all screwed up...with me and Matt...and oh my god, my job...and my parents...and oh my god I didn't even tell you about my son..."

Me: "Oh, you have a son? That's great." (I honestly was not trying to be sarcastic. Things just automatically come out in asshole)

Her: "No, no it's not. It's horrible, it's horrible, cause I didn't want him and it's horrible cause he's a good boy, but I never wanted him...oh my god, things would be so much better if I was with someone who had his shit together like you." (Evidence of crack usage was apparent at this point. Or maybe she was legally blind, like Gov. Patterson and could only partially observe the hobo-chic I was adorned in.)

Me: "I'm sure everything will work itself out for the better. We all go through trying times, but eventually we find the right path and the right light at the end of a really shitty tunnel. Besides, I've always remembered you to be a good, strong, levelheaded person (I did not) and I know you'll find a way to make everything work. You're a good, beautiful person; always remember that." (I'm pretty certain I was regurgitating some crackpot advice I heard while drunkenly flipping through channels in a desperate search for something interesting. Or pornographic. Or both.)

Her: "God, you are so right, you are always so right-"

Me: "I actually go anyway, gotta meeting to run off to (For all intensive purposes, I'm perpetually in a meeting) Nice catching up. You got a Facebook or MySpace or something, right? Anyway, yeah, bye."

(In my attempt to rush out, I stumble slightly, my right foot half asleep while my left foot catching the wheel of what was now clearly a baby stroller. Her baby stroller, complete with sleeping baby inside. How my peripheral vision missed this is also how I was once able to blatantly not notice an ex-girlfriend sitting beside on an hour long train ride without noticing or acknowledging her presence. This is why I'm alone and need to buy a coffee maker.)

Her: "It was really nice seeing you. I'll definitely hit you up."

She made an initial advance towards hugging me, but my swift, drunken stumble that almost killed her sleeping child seemed like an adequate good bye to me.

0 painful displays of affection:

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