Fortunately she was not one of those people (she neither smoked nor drank coffee) and the contradiction was unbelievably sexy. My mind was already cataloguing her kitchen goods and matching them up with my underdeveloped cooking abilities to come up with something to cook her in the morning. A night with me, and breakfast in bed and she was sure to be mine. After offering me a drink and giving me the tour, she gave me a peck on the cheek and ushered me out.
A week later we went out again, for the entire day to the local arts and music festival. There was a band I wanted to see, and an author she wanted to go to, so it was perfect. The crowds usually kept me away every year, but this time I relished them. There were so many people, many of them would take home stories to their loved ones about how it was good they had not gone because everywhere you turned you ran into someone. Those statements would not have been completely truthful. In fact, the idea of running into someone at every turn assumes a distance between people in the first place. Really, the place was so crowded, no matter where you turned, you were constantly in contact with someone. What this meant was that Aimee never left my side, and it was wonderful. At one point she even grabbed my hand so as not to lose me (as if the crowds were moving quickly enough in any direction to lose somebody). I was falling for this girl in a way that only a grade-schooler could relate to and everything seemed new again. Just holding hands, I felt like McGwire trotting his way around the bases. The night ended with a couple more drinks and another peck on the cheek.
Our third date ended back at her place again, talking on her couch. She asked me “if you could have any superpower, what would it be?” There could not have been greater confirmation that this girl was for me than hearing her ask these words. I had pondered this question so many times before, I am surprised I did not bark out the answer as a sort of knee-jerk reaction. Instead, I thought it over unlike I ever really had before. Finally: “I would want the power to do anything but only one time.” I felt unusually pleased with this answer.
“Really?” She really did not understand my answer. “I think I would be too cautious to ever use any of my powers if I could only use them each one time. If you could really have any power why would you limit your powers to only one use?”
“That is the beauty of it. Everyone has to have their weakness; an Achilles heel. But there would be infinite possibilities. With enough creativity you could do whatever you wanted, you just might need to find alternate needs.”
Aimee just looked at me with that beautiful look in her eyes, and my answer seemed reasonable enough. I moved in three days later.
* * *
“I’m sorry hon, I just wanted to call.”
“Alright, hi. Now if there is nothing else I really need to get back to work.”
“Sure… um, oh yeah, I called to say goodbye. I have to work tonight. I’ll probably be gone a week.”
I didn’t really have to work that night, but I knew I had to go somewhere. I was leaving and I felt goodbyes were in order. Not knowing where I was going, I could not likely tell her that. Work was really my only alibi.
“What do you mean, ‘oh yeah I have to work’? I thought you had this whole week off. We were gonna go out tomorrow night.”
“I know, but they called me this morning and told me they had a route for me. Officially I am on call this week, so I couldn’t really say no.”
“Sure you could have. We have plans. Well, do I get to come home and say goodbye?”
“Sorry, but I have got to leave right now; they are waiting for me now. Bye… I love you.”
I hope she did not hear the phone click until after she told me the same. I always hated the goodbyes, and those were when I knew where I was going; when I was going to be back. That was my excuse for getting out of a tough goodbye. She would not have been happy with me, and I left the house before I could hear the phone ring, and headed for The Bar. As I left, I looked back at my house one last time and it seemed to be purring for attention. I looked at it and just shrugged my shoulders: more for my benefit than its.
I seemed to be drawn towards The Bar. I wanted to say goodbye to the guys, but oddly I felt a greater need to go to The Bar. In a way, I felt if I said goodbye to it, it would be like saying goodbye to everyone. I felt compared to share my feelings with it in a way that I could not have done to anyone else. It was early afternoon, and the way the sun bounced off The Bar at that moment was glorious. Sitting alone at the end of the street, it appeared as a newly polished and waxed car; a Nova maybe. I passed Earl’s house on the way there and envied him the green he got from his lawn. It was by far the nicest yard on the block, and its color rivaled my destinations.
As I stood in front of the bar, I ignored the inclination to pause for a moment of silence and just began talking. I broke from tradition and instead of telling stories from my day, I recounted my dream from the previous night. It felt exhilarating. I hadn’t even remembered it until I opened my mouth.