Brett, the timepiece
She wanted me to kiss her that first night, when she gave me a ride back from the Country Night at the Wheel Club. She called two days later and asked if I might want to hike up the mountain with her. On that walk, and the subsequent trip to Farrell’s ice cream parlour, she brought up her ex-boyfriend a couple times more than I was comfortable with. Not long, drawn out stories. Just queasy little references, like, ‘Oh, I used to date a writer. He never published, either,” and “My ex-boyfriend used to go running in those fivefinger shoes.” I didn’t think much of it, though. I was enamored. And lonely.
Brett had recently moved back to the city from Madison. Her sister, Meredith, had been depressed, maybe suicidal, and her parents were freaking out. She’d gotten a gig substitute teaching middle school Spanish and didn’t have that many friends. She had simple tastes and liked that I jammed on steel guitar on Sunday nights at the Wheel.
That first week we dated, I saw her 4 nights: Thai Food, Women’s College Basketball Game, Art Museum, and the film Night and the City at Park Cinema (she didn’t like it). The next week, it was six nights. The Japanese Museum, The horsetrack, a couple nights in with videos. Third week, I think we might have had 7 dates in 7 days (If you count morning-after coffee). Out of nowhere, I was in a serious relationship.
Then, all of a sudden, it dropped down to 3 days. The next, it was only two. “It’s my sister,” She said, “I don’t like to leave her alone.” I didn’t especially worry about it. I was just lonely. Until she started seeing someone else.
“I’ve, kind of been seeing someone else,” she tells me. A co-worker. She met both of us around the same time and now she didn’t know who she liked better. The part of my brain that relishes competition was tweaked.
“Alright. That’s understandable. We never had any sort of exclusivity discussion. But I want a chance to beat this guy. To prove that I’m better. What’s his name?”
“Um.. Darryl.” Fuck this Darryl character, I thought. Walking back to my house, I began planning a date to swoop her off her feet. A private screening of Bonnie and Clyde, in a hidden garden up in Hendrix Park. Followed by a homecooked barbeque meal. I had it all planned out in my mind.
It never happened, though. Darryl was with her later that night, when Meredith commit suicide. He was the shoulder she cried on. He was the one who took care of her. And he was the one she fell in love with. Timing, they say, is everything.
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