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Bad Date #42

Once upon a time I looked across a seedy bar my friends and I hung out at and caught the eye of a guy I knew. I'd known him for several years but really all I knew was he was funny and when he smiled and laughed his eyes lit up. "He smiles from the inside out," I'd think.

So, Smiley made the walk over and we started small talk chatter that somehow morphed its way into a really fun night of dancing. Now, I love me a boy that dances. Dances. Not grinds, pumps or gyrates. No, I love me a boy that can dance.

For the next several weekends we would dance. And laugh. And dance. And joke. And dance. And flirt. And dance. Then the request came, but it was more of a command, "Let's have dinner tomorrow night." Uh, dinner? Together? As in sitting across the table trying to hold an actual conversation without dancing? What about the dancing?

But he was cute. And he smiled from the inside out. And he knew how to dance. Of course I said yes.

I got excited. Thinking about what I would wear. How I would do my make-up. What we would talk about. Where we would go.

He called in the early afternoon to remind me of our plans... "I'm just heading out to work a field, but I wanted to call and  tell you how excited I am about tonight." My heart was already melting.

I soaked in the tub, painted my nails, and put on a mud mask. I was going all out for Smiley.

A few hours later he called again. This time to tell me about tractor trouble. He might be a tad late. Not a problem, I told him. I understood. Field work doesn't wait. I changed my outfit. Twice.

A couple hours later he called again. This time from inside the cab of a noisy tractor. He was listening to the radio and told me he loved the country song playing, "If you were here I'd take you for a spin around the dance floor... it's a pretty big field so we'd have lots of room!" I smiled at the thought. Since it was getting late he proposed a change in plans. "I'll pick up a pizza and head on over to your place - but it'll be late. 9:30 or so."

About quarter after nine my phone rang. It was Smiley. He'd just gotten home, was hopping in the shower and would drive into town, pick up the pizza and be at my door.

Thirty minutes later my phone rang again. It was Smiley. He'd already showered, dressed, picked up the pizza (that was QUICK!) and wanted to know what I liked to drink because he was stopping off at the gas station. I told him I liked Coke and I'd see him in twenty minutes. Then I ran to the bathroom to do some last minute checks: reapply the lip gloss, another layer of deodorant, try to tame that cowlick, not bad.

I made sure the kitchen was clean and the pillows were on the couch just right. Pulled out a magazine so it looked like I had been casually reading and not running around as nervous as I was. Flipped through the television channels to find the best program to be watching when he arrived: not too girly, I'd seem lame; not too educational, I'd come off nerdy. I settled on the classic movie Caddyshack that was just beginning. Everybody's favorite. And I watched it.

All of it. I watched the entire movie. By myself.

Surely Smiley had been involved in a traffic accident. Or was car jacked. Or had stopped to pull a family to safety from a burning building. Right? I mean, what else would explain why he called before he got to the gas station and now, two hours later, he hadn't arrived. He had called multiple times throughout the day. Excited. He could've blown me off several times. What the heck?

Of course I called him. All I got was his voice mail. I left 2 messages. One early on just checking to see if there was any problem finding my house - I didn't want him going up and down the streets ringing doorbells at 10 o'clock at night. And another message later, more concerned, hoping that everything was ok and hoping there wasn't any emergency he had to deal with - like being mugged at knifepoint, having his mouth covered in duct tape and shoved into the trunk of some car.

Two hours turned into three, then four, and then I was falling asleep, waking up every now and again thinking I simply must have slept through the call that would explain how the police just saved him and he's on his way to the hospital now to get checked out. That he insisted on calling me from the ambulance because he just felt so horrible knowing I was sitting there waiting on him.

But I never missed any calls. Because no calls were ever made.

I'd drift off to sleep again.

My phone started ringing at 6:48am. I think I answered before the first ring had even been completed. It was Smiley and he sounded, well, sad. He was sorry about last night and wanted to talk to me, in person, if I had a minute. "Sure," I answered. "What time?" "Now. I'm outside." But my mascara is all smudged and my eyes are puffy because, although I didn't want to, I cried a lot last night.

I let him in, head down, shoulders slumped, and I thought, Oh, this is bad. Someone has died.

"I really, really wanted to see you last night. All day long I was excited thinking about it. Thinking about spending time with you. Laughing. You're so fun to be around and I love everything about you. I don't know what happened - I had the pizza and I stopped to get soda and when I went to check out, there was this girl - I had never seen her before - and she was just, well, standing there, working, and I don't know what happened - but it was like I couldn't breathe - she was just so beautiful..."

You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me.

"...and I had to talk to her and before I knew it an hour had past. Then two. And then she was off work, so we stayed up talking all night long in my truck and - I've never felt this way before, but it was like, when I was with her nothing else mattered."

Smiley and the Gas Station Attendant dated, got married and had babies.

I bought my own pizza.


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