i once saw where a guy was working to recollect one moment from each year of his life to see if anything could be discovered by the exercise. not having many original ideas myself i figured i would try it myself. and as per usual i figured what's the point of doing it if i don't share it to the world. so feel free to step into various points in my life, for what it's worth.
on a saturday afternoon the telephone woke me from a nap. i picked up the receiver and groggily said hello. on the other end was a girl a pal of mine had dated over the summer. she began a racing dissertation which i numbly took in. the gist of her story was this; she was to attend a high school dance this night and her date from Kansas University just cancelled and now she couldn't go because her school had a rule about having a date to get in and she just had to go because all of her friends were going and could i please, please go with her and she knew i hated dancing so i didn't actually have to dance but just go to the dance and that was it and i would know people there and i could talk to them so i wouldn't be totally, completely bored and please, just please, please go. after waiting for her to pause i asked a single question, "will it cost me anything?" i was told no, absolutely not. in fact, she would cover everything; dinner, tickets, flowers, even gas. all i had to do was escort her through the gymnasium doors.
some hours later we drove to her friend's house where a group of couples were meeting before dinner. en route, and between her repeated gushings of gratitude, she spoke of this girl whom she thought i would really like. given my personality and historic non-prowess with women i was always suspicious of girls thought to be suited to me. for this and a great many other reasons, i did not place great stock in this intuited pairing.
we waited wordlessly on the front step of a large, white-pillared home after having rung the bell. without warning both entryway doors flew inward and the person who opened them spun on a single foot lavishly raising an arm into the air with the flourish of a spanish matador. the simple black dress with bright pink piping spun about her knees and dark hair flowed across her exposed shoulders. the girl momentarily held this pose before smiling brightly and saying with great vigor, "Welcome! Welcome to my home! Who wants to go dancing!" the very next piece of thin, white tape to spit out of the glass-domed thought machine in my head read: "this, this is the girl i am going to marry." the next several inches of ticker-tape sputtered nothing but blank and garbled thoughts.
the rest of that evening for me was an alcohol-free, drunken blur. her brushing by me animatedly talking with her friends. her hanging onto the tall, bony shoulder of her red-blazered, GQ boyfriend. her snuggling with and kissing on her date in the back-seat of the car. her energetically bouncing in and out of the masses beneath the thumping dance-floor lights. her, after the event, calling me tory when she wanted me to turn up the volume to the grease movie the group watched while she and Romeo Joe necked in a dark corner of the room. then the night was over and i was back in the car staring out of my window while my date drove me home, verbosely recounting her evening.
three weeks later while laboring over some accounting homework the phone rang. it was her. the girl. she talked for twenty minutes straight. her stories were accented by a few 'uh-huh's' and 'ohhs' from me but that was about it. she proved quite self-sufficient. in time, she announced her phone time was up and she had to go. this near-nightly ritual went on for several weeks. i confessed my uncertainty with a friend over a burger king meal.
should i ask her out?
do you want to go out with her?
of course. she's amazing.
then ask her out.
do you think she'll say yes?
how would i know? she keeps calling you. that has to mean something.
that sage counsel somehow culminated in a date. in college i always requested to go dutch. this was as much out of necessity as it was out of principle. once the first date was under-way i'd announce that it was not a totally dutch affair in that they, the girl, had a fifteen dollar credit with me and could use this money any way they saw fit. on our first date, she chose BIG at the dollar movies followed by a taco bell dinner across the street. there were a couple of dates that followed but things weren't clicking. this is not to say my adoration for her had changed, it is just to say our times together did not have that natural ease you hope for in early courtship. watching this persist had me in an emotional tailspin.
after our fourth date i told her i thought we shouldn't go out again. her face struck that perfect, "wait, you are breaking up with me?" expression. yes i was. before this moment took place, my mind had played out a fanciful version where she'd protest saying things were fine and we should just give it a little more time. but the reality from the passenger seat of my 76 volvo wagon had her shrug her shoulders, say ok and pertly step out of the car and walk into her home, never looking back.
one year later i was sitting in a stairwell leading to the basement i was living in. a girl i'd been seeing just broke up with me. in one hand i held a beige cordless phone and in the other a worn slip of paper. i dialed.
this is troy. troy dearmitt.
troy dearmitt!?!? well hello troy dearmitt. how are you?
i'm good. how are you?
i'm doing well. i must say, i didn't think i'd ever hear from you again.
yeah. well. i was just going through my records and show that you have six dollars credit with me and wanted to see if you'd like to use it before it expires.
(she chuckles genuinely, pauses and then ...)
yes. i think i would like to use my credit before it expires.
we went out one week later. eight years later to the day, we married. i guess you could say the second time around things clicked, clicked in that everything around you melts away kind of click.