April 1, 2010
The sun is shining in my eyeballs, the birds are assaulting my ears and my nose has already started its leaking. (Shudder) It’s Spring. Ie. An allergy sufferer’s personal hell once a year.
I step outside to see that hell really is upon me this holiest of holy weeks. Oh Easter. Why did you have to be marred by a change in weather? I reach into my pocket and whip out my sony ear buds (like a super star…yes. Here I’ll say it again), I whip out my sony ear buds (and this time imagine me doing it in slow motion) so I can lose myself in music while trying to maintain a “green life”. What am I going to listen to??…hm…I settle for a play list reminding me of better days of Bens. Harper, Lee, Kweller, Folds 5.
I’m walking up the streets of the illustrious Shadyside. Every few steps I have to gently take out the crumbling Kleenex from my pocket and wipe my faucet of a nose. The reason why it’s crumbling is because I didn’t step out of my house this morning. I stepped out of Aubrey’s who is a, uhh, friend with a good amount of benefit?
Fine, I see your snarky face looking all snarky like. She’s a paramour of mine, better?
You’ve all been there at one time or another.
I make my way up to Walnut Street, the hub of all rich white people wanting to be bohemian hubs.
The Coffee Tree is booming with Mac-user-business on this blissful (once again, can I tell you how I spit on Spring bliss?) sunny day. I order my usual and gaze (rather un-cooly…as everyone knows if you’re in the Coffee Tree you don’t actually look out the massive windows. That makes you a pervert) out the windows onto Walnut waiting for my Mac to boot up. I’m 37 years old and I’m living the dream. Again, I see you snarking out there. Yes, I am unmarried. Yes, I have an i-phone, i-touch and Mac. Yes I still write in a journal (I did attend school when pens were in avid use), yes, like nice shiny cars and yes, you’re just jealous. I was a smart one, investing in the right stocks, helping build the right empire and now I’m rich and lonely as can be, except for my nights with my uhh, paramours. I crack my journal open again,
Things to do:
- Tell Aubrey it’s over. Maybe hook her up with Jimmy.
- Contact Hannah to book appt with Brady
- Call mom..it is EASTER this weekend
Hannah’s my secretary, not a paramour (I don’t mix business with business). I take a sip of my delicious beverage and again take to looking out the window when I see a familiar head of dark hair walk by. My head cocks to the side. It can’t be. I like risk, even if it means making a fool of myself, so I don’t even bother to double think it, I pack my stuff hastily into my bag and I’m running after her. Thank God I’ve taken to living green, my lungs might not be able to take it. Her raven head has disappeared.
She went into a store? She turned the corner? WHERE. DID. SHE. GO?! ARGH. I lost her. Dammit. Dammit. Dammit. I throw my hands dramatically into the air and drop them to run through my blonde hair. My insides reel from the jog and shattered hope. I slowly walk back to the Coffee Tree, utterly defeated. I feel like a puppy who just got kicked. Seated now at the same table, I take out my journal and flip to the page entitled
“Michelle you broke my bloody Heart.”
Michelle, your beauty, your personality and the way you make me a better person are gifts from God. You don’t even know it. I don’t know why you left me but know, you’re the only woman I’ve ever and will ever, love.
And that was the last entry made about Michelle. She ended it when we ended our undergrad and I haven’t seen her since. In fact, I haven’t even wanted to look for her because of all the bitterness that settled in my heart and digestive system after she left. Okay fine, I looked her up on Facebook and Linked-in. Nada. Like she never existed, at least for anyone other than me. It was not a good breakup…I couldn’t eat for a while. Doesn’t sound normal for a guy does it? Well, it happened and it’s more normal than you think. Actually, I turned to alcohol for a bit. Needless to say, it was not a happy-go-lucky time in my life, and that time lasted from graduating year to a few blurry years later. There was a time when I thought I saw her EVERYWHERE. It’s like your heart breaking a tad bit every day, being chipped away with every dark haired petite girl who walks by. And now, well, just now, I thought I saw her.
I pause at the table and spread my palms out flat. I need to breathe.
Last I heard she ended up doing some post-grad degree in interior design…and that was from a friend of a friend of a friend. That sort of unreliable thing.
I wipe my sweaty palms on my jeans and look out the window again. Holy mac. There she is! This is God’s way of torturing me. I swear on all that is holy, this is not funny. She’s walking on the other side of the street.
I jump up and plaster myself on the window. I DON’T CARE THAT I’M 37! You don’t get second chances every day! I watch as she turns into a shop with blue awnings. She’s going into the Creperie.
Done. There’s no way I’m losing this chance.
About 80 steps later, k, maybe 30, I’m in the Creperie place, heart pounding, ready to rid itself of it’s external casing. Years, it’s been years and years. She might not even remember me if it is her. Bradley, breathe, breathe.
I scan the tiny space, take in the aging tables and furniture…You’re KIDDING ME. WHERE IS SH…oh! There she is. Walking out of the bathroom. I almost pass out. Faint like a school girl. It’s her. It’s Michelle. Albeit a much older Michelle. It’s been what, now I do a quick calculation, more than 10 years since I saw her. She’s still so beautiful. I debate what to do for about 20 seconds; just as long as it takes for her to order, then I step up behind her and say,
“It’s on me. And can I get a banana nutella crepe too?”
She turns slowly, her loose hair inching its way across her back.
“Thank you.” She faces me and I lock my brown eyes on her hazel ones. Then she says something that actually makes me want to cry and die. “Do I know you?”
“Um. Well.” My hands start to move erratically and I fist them to make them stop, “are you Michelle by any chance?”
“No actually,” she flashes me a quarter smile, and there’s that heart of mine cracking again. “My name’s Bridget.” I close my eyes to block out her twinkling ones. I swear to you though, it’s her. Maybe I’ve been looking for so long that I forgot what she looked like. Maybe I’m an idiot. Maybe..
I open my eyes a crack to see her watching me with curiosity befitting a mischievous cat, “sorry for your mistake…if you want I can pay for my own crepe.”
“No, no, it’s alright. I got this one.” I let the fists go and exhale.
We both get our crepes and sit as far away from one another as possible. I can’t even taste the deliciousness of the nutella infused bananas. I’m moping in my brain, sloshing in the remains of my heart when she comes and plops herself down at my table.
“So tell me about yourself? I mean, thank you for the crepe. I figure you have to enjoy it with someone to REALLY enjoy it you know?”
I’m silent. Do I really want to do this to myself? I throw caution to the wind, and prepare myself for torture of the worst kind.
She flicks her hair back over her shoulder, and my stomach wobbles a little. Michelle used to do that. Then she leans in.
“What do you do?” she asks, conspiratorially.
“I uhh. Do nothing.” Her gaze is knocking me out of this planetary sphere.
“No way? Nothing you say. Well, I’m an international spy and have been for a while.” She smirks, and says, “Actually, I’m in interior design.”
Again, imagine knives slowly entering separate parts of your body, inflicting an even amount of pain.
I clear my throat and find my voice hoarse as anything, “I’m so sorry, but you remind me so much of someone I once knew.”
“Oh yeah? An old girlfriend?”
“Yes actually.” She cuts her crepe and brings this HEAP of food towards her mouth. My mouth drops as I watch her and my brain screams out trodden heart Shakespeare soliloquies. That’s how she ate. Always too much for her little body. I was super nervous that she’d choke and die all the time. Her fork stops, hovering in front of her mouth.
I still haven’t taken a bite of food since she sat down. She’s dumped that shovel of crepe, strawberries and cream in her mouth and she says, mouth full, “no…” She pauses while she chews then once again stares me down, searching for non-pained places in my soul to ravage, and boy does she succeed, “You miss her?” This is definitely going down as one of the strangest conversations of my life. But since I’m going all in, I say,
“Yeah, a lot.” She looks hard into my eyes and then abruptly stands.
“Sorry to eat and run. Catch you later lover boy.” Then she turns and jogs up the 4 stairs and is out the door before I can process what she just said.
I run after her.
“MICHELLEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” She’s gone and this time I slam my fist into the brick wall. Stupid I know, and my hand smarts. I slowly walk back into the Creperie and throw myself back onto the green ripped booth seat. I rest my head in my hands and look down at the table to see a napkin sitting there with writing on it.
April fools Brad!!!
Missed you so much.
I have so much to explain. Come for Easter? Love always and forever. Miche.
Ps. Get some allergy pills or something, you look like crap.
PPS. Rip this Kleenex up and throw it out k?
Her number is scrawled on the napkin under it. It’s a dream, it must be. I almost wipe my nose with the Kleenex she left behind and I shake my head at my stupidity. I take out my phone and text her immediately, “YES FOR EASTER. ADDRESS? TIME?” Instead of doing as she asked and destroying the last remnant of knowing she existed, I pocket the Kleenex and leave.
Miche’s back. My love. A spy? Interior design? I don’t know or care, but damn am I glad she’s back. I whistle the tune to The Beatles hit: Michelle, ma belle, these are words which go together well….my Michelle…..