Margot, the elusive (part 2)
I waited outside Margot’s work a couple times, but she wouldn’t speak to me. I knew I was drifting into restraining order territory, so I backed off. I’d given up a good relationship of a year to chase after Margot, but my pursuit had been complicated by the fact that my ex was Margot’s old roommate from Oberlin. They still talked, I guess.
So I waited it out, pondering why I liked Margot so much – after just one evening of conversation. There was something about the way she carried herself. It reminded me of women I’d known at a younger age, when we were all still curious and optimistic. You’d explain your ideas to her and she’d listen intently, staring you in the eye. As she began to comprehend your point, a slight smile would creep across her face.
I made her a mixtape but didn’t have the nerve to send it. I walked through the neighborhood where she worked but never saw her. I imagined what our relationship might be like, crazy, project-based, and quietly sexy. Waking up Monday mornings and each of us calling in sick to work, so that we could lay in bed with each other all day, smoking grass and listening to old soul records.
After a couple months of pining after Margot like an awkward high school student, we finally bumped into each other at a food co-op in Southeast. I walked right up to her and apologized for coming off creepy and asked her if she knew how my ex-girlfriend was doing.
“She won’t talk to me,” she said, filling a paper bag with whole grain granola.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “But I’m not surprised – I mean, it’s not all my fault. She kind of resented you to begin with.”
Margot wanted to give me a hard, raised-eyebrow look of disapproval but I could see a sense of recognition washing over her face. After a moment, she said, “Yeah, I guess I always felt that.”
“Listen, I don’t want to bug you right now, Margot, but let me have your number and I’ll call you sometime. That way, if you decide to tell me to fuck off, it’ll be easier because it will be over the phone.”
She smirked and wrote down her number. I was so elated I put down my grocery basket and walked straight to the bar. The barfly regulars regarded me as some sort of deviant – like, who on earth comes to the darkest of dive bars, by themselves, in the middle of a sunny Sunday afternoon to drink bottom-shelf bourbon with a giant, shit-eating grin plastered across their face? I registered their distaste, but thought to myself, fuck’em – Margot gave me her number.
I only waited two days to call her. I knew I should have played it cooler, but then I figured Margot already knew I was into her, so there wasn’t much of a point. When she picked up, I had a list of things to talk to her about, so I wouldn’t struggle in conversation. There were some literary figures she reminded me of, a couple of my existential notes about the play she’d been in, and some thoughts on a nice, no pressure first date I could take her on. Margot, however, was quick to cut me off.
“Listen Knox, I think I need to tell you to fuck off. I’m sorry.”
After a pause, I began to say that it was OK. I understood. But she’d already hung up by then.
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