A Tale of Two
by Adam Graupe
One day I
found a plastic engagement ring in the lobby of
the restaurant I worked at. It was the kind of
ring that coin-operated games puked out as prizes.
I decided to kiddingly ask the next waitress who
passed to marry me with the ring. Krystal was the
next to pass and I got down on my knees.
o, yes, yes, yes! and
flirted outrageously with me that summer and yet
for some reason she wasnt real to me
because I was a self-absorbed jerk. It turned out
she saved that plastic ring for years, but I
didnt find about that until Penny.
anemic with bleach blonde hair. I mean she really
used bleach. I thought it was just going to be an
easy-to-break-off fling and a quick rite of
passage to manhood.
wasnt as romantic as it sounds. She once
cried, The thought of having sex with you
gives me a poopy stomach.
showed her dark side: screaming with crying
hysterics. She found out about Krystal and threw
a pumpkin with die bitch! written in
black magic marker onto her yard.
I tried to
break it off with Penny and she threatened
suicide. Fool that I was I believed her. That
fall she begged me not to go to collegeshe
thought I would meet someone else, which would
have been the best thing for us. I went to
college anyway and she begged me to drop out and
get a job so she could have a baby at 18 and be
glued together like logs of crap for 50 years.
accused me of cheating on her when I never had. I
didnt learn until much later that the
things you accuse others of are really in you.
Unbeknownst to me, toward the end she cheated on
me and the next time I tried to break up with her
she didnt fight it. Then I was sorry: I
wanted her back when she didnt want me
anymoreshe had this other man but I
didnt know it. This was what really
attracted me (at that timenot now) was a
woman who didnt want me. Before, when she
wanted me it repulsed me. Suddenly, I wanted her
but she wanted nothing to do with me. What a sick
fool I was. When I found out about the other man,
I didnt want her anymore so she started
calling me daily and hanging up, but I was done
with it and met another.
later, I sat across from my wife and looked past
her left shoulder at someone staring at us from
outside a restaurant window. It was Penny, her
face glued against the window, staring bug eyed,
we made eye contact, and she turned and scurried
away. I hadnt seen her for two decades and
yet this was somehow a fitting coda.
By the way,
Krystal lucked out by not dating me and found a
good man who married her instead. I had a great
marriage too, so it was a happy ending after all.
I like happy endings and Starbucks too. Do you?