I normally don’t write on Friday night or Saturday morning. Like my father, who worked for so many years just to be able to have his own store, he made sure 1 day a week was his alone, for him to spend with his family. Mine ends up being Saturday, where I don’t worry about work coming the next day or the fact that I haven’t finished a myriad of projects. No, I usually spend the day with my kids.
But last night I went to a very late showing of the movie Prometheus the Ridley Scott film that has “the DNA of the movie Alien” in it. That, it did. In fact it was brilliant . . . but this isn’t a movie review. I took my oldest daughter, Abbi, who like me isn’t a horror movie fan. I am scared of real life. I don’t need a movie with some guy’s scarred face and knives for fingers telling me I’m going to die. I have better things to get my adrenaline going. Yet, this movie was more thrill ride to my psyche than horror, though it was horrific at a lot of points.
I took Abbi, because she wanted to go and I would have taken my wife had she been alive. Which is probably why I awoke in the middle of the night thinking about her. Sure, I’ve thought about her before, had my dreams, even woke up asking her questions because I was absolutely positive that she was next to me in the bed. Last night was more vivid than I’ve had in awhile. Maybe it was the adrenaline from the movie. Maybe it was the fact that I finally saw a movie that didn’t involve animated yellow creatures with one eye or a talking sponge. Maybe, perhaps, it’s the fact that I flirted a little with the lady on the light rail on her way to the state’s Archives Center . . .and it was easy because I had no intention of doing more than that and it literally had no consequences. I’ll likely never see her again.
I didn’t have any intention of going farther because I’m not ready, the kids wouldn’t be ready, and my chest is still gaping, open, and the embers are just glowing. There’s no spark, there might not ever be for a long time. Hell, when I met Andrea, I thought for sure that I would be forever the geek who worked in television, could give you the year of a Fender Stratocaster from the serial number, and took a small bit of pride in wearing a giant, elongated scarf just because Tom Baker wore one in Doctor Who. No woman in her right mind, even though I’d stopped wearing the scarf, would fall for a guy like that.
It’s obvious she wasn’t in her right mind.
But that’s not my point here. It’s really not. I woke up this morning to a blinding headache (which I still have) and an even more blinding set of memories.
I’ve chronicled my first sort of “event” with Andrea. Not our first “date” which I’ve chronicled here as well. That was my inane idea to take her to see the band Rush live without realizing we’d never get to talk during a loud, raucous, pot-smoking audience of people. The first real time we’d been together, though, I’ve written here, too. She asked me to join her for the movies because she was an entertainment reporter then and had to review a movie. That’s not it, either.
Speaking of sparks, my brain sparked a memory I thought I’d forgotten, and it was vivid like nothing I’d experienced in the last year or more.
You see, as much as I wanted desperately to keep Andrea at arm’s length and call her a typical California girl who would never consider a “nice” guy and liked bad boys and all of that . . . I had anger on the outside masking disappointment, sadness and depression on the inside.
This dream and memory weren’t typical, they were accurate. Deadly accurate. It started with the first time I met her – when she came in as an intern and wanting to report. She had on a blazer, plaid I believe, and her hair – very long at this point in her life, just before she cut it into a shorter “bob” to be on TV – and her hair was pulled off her face by a headband that was a dark green. She wore silk pants, black. She was gorgeous and I thought for sure she’d be arrogant and disdainful toward me. When I met her, the sports jock and other interns there, all clamoring to talk with her. The “player” who was there, an intern I found more than a little offensive, confidently strode up to her and talked with her while she was getting the tour. He had already bragged about sleeping with other women at the station – and there weren’t that many – and he had his eye on Andrea. Being the bad boy that they all seemed to become enamored with, I waited my turn. I shook her hand and she looked at me and smiled, that amazing, toothy, smile. She warmed up, and where in other times I’d seen a woman’s eye look me over and then look past me, Andrea talked to me. She looked at me. She asked what I did, told me she wanted to see me in action. She actually talked with me.
That made an impression, though I wasn’t sure enough to be able to ask her out. Not for at least another whole year.
But that day, impressionable as it was, didn’t make as big a mark as when she came back.
This dream immediately moved to when she came in for her first day, I think it was. Just a couple short weeks after that tour. Andrea had actually managed to tell me that she was starting, that they wanted her to help with entertainment, and she promised her family she’d spend a couple weeks in Arizona with her uncle and see her family before starting her summer internship. The day she came back she came into the office to get started, not on the air, just to figure out what her week was going to entail and I was bowled over. You want first impressions, sparking, flaming love at first sight? If her ability to speak with me and not see the geeky guy many other girls couldn’t see past, piqued my interest this day I was blinded by her.
Andrea walked in wearing just a white blouse – like a white dress shirt – and blue jeans. She’d been lying out by the pool all week and her hair had gotten brilliantly blonde – not dyed, sun bleached. She had a brilliant tan – not tanning Mom leathery brown, she was the perfect amount. She had on red lipstick and the sunglasses she’d dangled in her hands she placed on the top of her head. The red accentuated the sunny smile that spread on her face when I came up. Two things literally reached into my chest and squeezed my heart like it was constricting my breathing.
First, her eyes. Not that they were brilliantly grey-blue. Though that was something I noticed, she had these amazing eyes that were like the sky right after a thunderstorm. It was more, though, that when she smiled, it radiated out of her eyes. I remember telling her that day that I’d never met a woman before whose eyes twinkled like hers did. She looked at me like I was nuts.
The next, and this will sound really silly, is kind of strange. She was wearing blue jeans with holes that had torn out of the knees – each leg. Not in the same spots, they weren’t made that way at some designer store, they were old, worn, and fit her like a neat old shoe. I couldn’t help staring because if you looked you could see her legs, tanned and peeking through the fabric, the skin just peering through the gaping hole in the knee on one side, and the white strands of fabric still clinging to the hope they wouldn’t fray on the other, framing the brown tanned skin beneath on the other. More than once I think she caught me looking at her and I must have reddened in the face.
Add that to the fact that she wore this white blouse that gripped her in the right curves and was loose where it needed to be and she looked just brilliant.
The other thing I remember is being angry about the fact that here she was and she’d never give me the time of day. Again, like so many other bad movies or romantic comedies, I was horrid to her. I was mean. I told her I couldn’t stand her music choices (well, Garth Brooks does bother the hell out of me even today). I cannot believe how horrible I was to her.
I woke up this morning and my heart was racing, horribly. You have to understand, no woman had – up to this point in my life – affected me this way. Sure, now I’ve matured, I’m smarter, less shy, more confident, but then I did my best to sabotage any relationship because I didn’t think the relationships would pan out anyway. I was rejected so much I was fulfilling my own prophecies . She’d reject me, sure, but at least I’d give her a goddamn reason this time. She was just so beautiful and I couldn’t stand realizing that some other guy would be with her so I would just push her to it.
Somehow, amazingly, brilliantly, she wouldn’t let that happen. When I’d curse at her she’d smile and tell me I should apologize. When I’d make fun of her music she’d laugh it off like it really wasn’t that important to her anyway. Her fingers crept into my chest, gently caressing my heart, and entwining herself into my whole being and I hadn’t even realized she was doing it. When I gave in and opened my heart to her she didn’t hurt me she just said “it’s about time!”
I woke up heart racing because I worry I didn’t do the same for her. My brain raced and in those first awful morning minutes I worried that I’d somehow disappointed her or continued to push her away or hurt her and never told her about the day that brilliant smile saved me from myself.
She was amazing and beautiful and I was lucky to have her. It’s pretty amazing how a night watching a thriller could spark a set of memories I hadn’t experienced in years.
But then, she was brilliant, and her love always did throw that spark.