Conflict and Scotch blogger Al DeLuise on how he hasn’t found his happy ending, and why that’s okay.
I tend to fall in love very quickly and usually with the wrong woman. To this day I still believe Judy, the Time-Life operator, is just playing hard to get. After all, she did send me a football phone – and she wouldn’t do that for just anyone, right?
I blame movies for my failures in love. Movies taught me at a very young age that when you fell in love, you’d know it. There would be fireworks, the soundtrack of your life would swell to a magnificent crescendo and, if you were very lucky, there would be some slow-motion running in a field of flowers. Unfortunately for me, no one else seemed to be watching the same movies that I was. That’s not to say that I haven’t sabotaged the script once or twice myself in my quest for true love; Sometimes not only am I not watching the movie, but I’ve left the theater, gotten into my car, and crashed into a tree on the way home.
For example, one afternoon when I was eighteen-years-old my older brother asked me a question.
“Who is that girl that works at the pharmacy? She is gorgeous.” Then I said something that I regret to this very day.
“Oh, that’s Kathy,” I said with an undeserved smugness, from an unsupported ego, and a false bravado that several decades later I still cringe to think about, “yeah – she’s in love with me.”
My brother’s head cocked to the side as he clearly entertained the thought that I was adopted. That there was no way we could be related and that my real family would be coming for me any day now. He then said something that pretty much summed up my love life from that moment through today.
“What are you,” he asked, “an asshole?”
In the future, if I am given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to use a time machine, I will neither go back and talk to Jesus nor will I go back and kill the baby Hitler. What I will do is go back to ten seconds before this conversation took place and punch my eighteen-year-old self right in the mouth.
Kathy was beautiful, and sweet, and the nicest person I have ever met in my entire life. And yet, I did not want to date her. I wanted to hang out with my friends; I wanted to drink beer and go down the shore; I wanted to go out and find the love of my life.
So, yes, I was an asshole.
A few years ago I met a woman that I really liked. Her name was Hollie – that’s right, an I-E, not a Y – and on our first date we met for drinks. We hit it off right away. Loved the same music, movies, and books, and understood each other’s jokes. After drinks, we left the bar and walked toward her car.
“Can I give you a lift?” she asked, and at the moment I was very glad I had parked my 2002 Saturn with the missing hubcaps in a parking garage.
“Sure,” I replied as I stepped into her brand new silver Jaguar, “I’m just around the corner.”
A second date followed, along with dozens of very funny emails (some guys have looks, some guys can dance; I do funny emails). This was it; the love that every movie prepared me for, Hollie had everything I looked for in a woman.
Well, maybe not everything.
A third date was in the planning stage when I received an email, one I felt Charlotte Brontë might have sent if computers were available in the 19th century.
“My deceit has caught up to me, and I can never see you again.”
I was devastated. It had only been two dates but I had already imagined the great life we were going to have together. The witty conversations, the laughter from jokes no one else could understand, the sex. All my follow-up emails were ignored so I searched the internet for clues. I tend to get somewhat obsessive. It’s not healthy and I know its wrong; I still remember the license plate number of a girl I had a crush on in high school. I know – it scares me too.
Eventually, I gave up; I’d found nothing. I would have to chalk it up to experience, start the movie again, and hope someone else would buy a ticket to the show.
A few months later I went to meet another woman for drinks. The place we were to meet was a very large restaurant with many rooms, each with its own bar. I was there early so I walked around, moved from room to room, bar to bar, and that’s when I saw her: Hollie. She stood alone at the end of the bar; she did not see me coming as I moved up beside her.
“Hello,” I said.
There is that split second when you first see someone when your face betrays your thoughts, gives you up to the police, hands the invasion plans over to the enemy. Those milliseconds before you have the chance to put on the bullshit smile and say how happy you are to see me. She was definitely not happy to see me.
The small talk commenced; I asked how she had been and what was she doing here. She told me she was here to meet a friend, but it looked like the friend was a no-show. She told me she was going to finish her drink then leave. We talked some more as she took frantic gulps from her beer probably hoping she could finish it before I asked the question I knew she hoped I would never ask. I was tired of tripping over loose ends so I blurted out: “What was the deceit?”
She refused to discuss it and then pulled that move from bad movies (everything comes full circle) where the character picks up an unringing cell phone in order to get out of an uncomfortable situation. She mouthed the words, ‘I need to take this, I’ll be right back’, and gathered all her belongings and headed out the front door.
The entrance to the restaurant was very large, more like a garage opening than a doorway. I watched as she put her cell phone back in her purse as an older man, tall, and distinguished with hair like Albert Einstein, walked up to her in the parking lot. I could see them talking; a few hand gestures from Hollie which I could only imagine accompanied the following dialogue: For the love of God, we can’t go back in there! The two then walked towards her silver Jaguar.
I watched as Hollie, a woman I would never see again, and the man with Einstein hair whom I was sure had a great deal of money (and a very large penis) got into her car and drove away.
I slumped over in the bar and thought about how I’d felt about this woman, how much I pined for her and imagine that if I could only see her again I just knew I could change her mind. Then another thought came to me – not so much a thought as a memory. A conversation I had with my friend Tammy, after first meeting Hollie, before the “deceit” would end things. I told Tammy I had met a woman, and she had a unique way of spelling her name.
“H-O-L-L-I-E,” I said.
Tammy thought for a second. “’I-E’ and not a ‘Y’?” she asked. I nodded.
“Yeah,” she said, “she’s a fuckin’ scumbag.”
Who needs movies when I have friends like that?
You can read more of Al DeLuise’s stories on his blog, Conflict and Scotch.
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Photo – Flickr/sackerman519