Saturday, August 16, 2008

One Year: an elaboration

Happy you're-surviving-the-unceremonious-Suck. Happy I-can't-believe-he's-really-real. Happy how-the-hell-were-you-always-this-unknowingly-strong?

It's already been a year and though there have been opportunities aplenty for a dramatic exit, I have plowed through what seems like one hundred heavy trials of will. On paper, the ratio of time apart exponentially outweighs our time together, and yet I have never been more happy and in love than this.

I wish that I were in the position to grab you by your theoretical hand and carry you off on a sickening retelling of the celebratory event. Reality, however, would so quickly snatch us back to earth and serve us the cold reminder that, "this is The Army!" So far Murphy's Law rules the land. Instead of wining and dining, tonight he is playing in sand and I am staring down this unfamiliar window of blog space. The circumstances are unfavorable but reliable and tolerable and unwavering. And the good news: it only took a year to wrap my head around these simple truths.

August 16, 2007 - He has picked the date location around my demand for coffee. I have either forgotten or disregarded his unfamiliarity with the area, and I haven't yet learned that he doesn't really entertain the fluffy coffee-house scene. The only thing I have offered is my new found disdain for a specific establishment in town that has readily decided to evolve from espresso and pastries to dinner and alcohol. My art studio sits across the street and they have recently begun refusing to cater to my late night hankering for bagels, AND they have ruthlessly covered up their laptop friendly outlets. Once a haven, this place is now on my lengthy Summer of '07 Shit List. His suggestion, Portland Brew. Why? Because he has already called to confirm the 'round the clock bagel service and ample plug access.

I am careless in my clothing selection and off-beat in the way I style my hair. I honestly don't care after a roller coaster summer of shit-for-first dates, mental masochism, and the final split of family. But what's the harm in coffee? Does it matter that my heart's not really in it or that I've already written him off for his pride in unemployment? He's a[n out of work] writer. I want to be a writer, maybe he's got something to offer in the way of quality brain picking. My roommate thinks I'm untamed, ridiculous. You can see Disapproving in her eyes, but I pull on that billowy babydoll top anyhow, and I push the unlikely headband through unnatural, brunette hair. I am meeting him for coffee at nine on 12th even if he's on welfare and writing books on scraps of grocery bags because at this point in my life, I feel like the world is sorely indebted to me.

I arrive before him to make use of free internet. I stake out a table for two away from the front door where we hug the corner a little cozy-like, an invite for conversation. It seems that I would be watching the clock, but his arrival is unanticipated. He steps around a wall to face me and I cease to breathe. He asks my name just in case I'm not who he thinks I am. The way the syllables roll from his perfect lips and his amber-chocolate eyes catching mine and the Heaven smell of roasting beans and his immaculate tall-dark-and-handsomeness are all almost too much for one body to contain. From memory, I can't quite wrangle the moment my lungs unfreeze. I never pass out so I can only assume that they do. In my head I'm moving at Mach speeds, tallying all of the outward flaws and assessing which inner ones to mask. I am like a duck, attempting Calm while beneath the surface I have surrendered to a chaos of stark, raving panic.

Shortly, he suggests that we make our way to the counter to order and dumbfounded, I follow while trying to appear effortless and cool. Somewhere between our table and the register he unloads the truth. The whole Writer bit turns out to be mostly a sham and The Army makes its debut like a sucker punch I never saw coming. I figure myself to be only a few paces from the swinging glass door, but at this juncture I am in thought overdrive and operating on obligation. I have suffered this guy enough with my bitchy antics. The least I can do is sit down, sip the coveted coffee owed by the Universe, and redeem some bloody Karma. We open with the usual niceties and still I cannot believe how struck I am by the gentleman sitting across the table. Maybe just for the duration of coffee I can discard my certainty that The Army just isn't for me. We talk about where we have come from, shallow specifics of his profession, favorite bands, then Kerouac. On the Road weaves its way into our introductions like a flawless thread. We are both strangely privy to the beatnik travels of Dean and Sal. It's somewhere among these pivotal streets and the, "yeah, man's," and the trippy meditations between an East and West coast that I begin to know defeat is near. I am already falling for this man no matter my anger with life or his pact with Uncle Sam.

At eleven, they ask us to leave. My skin is on fire. I am aware of each echoing pulse as we stand and he guides me to the door. He opens it and escorts me to my car in back of the building before asking if he can take me on a second date on Saturday. As the moment to part hangs between us like an obvious fog, he breaks it with, "good night" and a hug. His long arms wrap around me ten times and I melt and I'm giddy like school girls and Army or not, he'll be picking me up for dinner in 48 hours.

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