I Called Him *William

We were best friends, William and I, all through college and I had hoped we would be friends all our lives. Long ago, when we were 18, he wanted me to be his girlfriend and I wasn’t ready to be anyone’s girlfriend, I was scared and emotionally immature. We went to one formal dance together, he arrived holding a dead, limp, rose.

True, his smile could light up the darkest day and to me he was an absolute beautiful, and handsome man, blond hair, brown eyes, someone I could trust and talk to but he talked with his mouth open revealing a mound of mashed potatoes. To this day, I can picture that sight.

English: A small plate with a serving of mashe...

If it was now, I would say, “Dude, where are your manners?” but at 18, what did I know? I didn’t know one single thing. I did know that we made a pact that if by a certain age we weren’t married to other people we would marry each other but I would bet a million dollars Billy wouldn’t remember that.

Everyone called him Billy or Bill  even now I would refer to him as Bill but during the glory years of youth he was my William. People in our dorms were sure we would get married. After we graduated I wanted to move to Boston, mostly because I thought William was going to live there. I moved, he didn’t.

What finally made me wake up and truly understand William and relieve all the guilt that I had (he had made me feel guilty for years) for not dating him was when he called me, years after we graduated and said he would be driving to Boston and he wanted to visit.  I said “YES, ” absolutely and he would stay over at my place.” This was it, once and for all I wanted to see what we had between us, obviously it was something.

He said he would come on a Friday afternoon, sure I was a tiny bit nervous but excited. I waited for him all day and night. This was long before cell phones. I didn’t hear from him, he hadn’t given me an exact time or day so I thought for sure he would arrive on Saturday.

Saturday and Sunday came and went, I was worried, very worried that something had happened to him, a bad accident, he was involved in a serious collision…something serious must have happened for William not to have come or call.

flipped car

Or so I thought.

I literally waited all weekend for him to show up but he never did, never called, first I was very disappointed and after that angry, very angry.

The man I had trusted and loved, through and through, yet not wanted to date when I was merely 18 just changed his mind and didn’t think about letting me know. I had finally reached him during the middle of the week and he said “Yeah, I didn’t think about calling, I changed my plans.”

Who was this guy?

Apparently this was the guy that deep down I knew existed, or some part of him that I didn’t like. This was hard to take, for me, but for him, maybe he wanted to punish me or maybe he really was just the guy, across the table, with no manners, eating with his mouth open, full of mashed potatoes.

He came to my wedding, after that, I never saw him again. I finally realized he was never my best friend, he just made me think he was. I still remember his birthday but I let go of him a long, long time ago.

*Name changed to protect the guilty.

Carry Over Tuesday – “This is the life I wanted, and I could never see”

The ring of the telephone made Jane gasp and stumble in her excitement: “what should I say, what should I say?” because of course, “hello” was just so banal and at what pitch? He would know, wouldn’t he, that she had waited for him to call…. Her heart beat rapidly, she felt nauseous and couldn’t eat a thing.  The butterflies in her stomach had turned into tarantulas; this happened every single time she waited for him to call, and she never knew when it would be. She finally ran to the phone: “Hello?” she sputtered. “Janie, Hi, it’s Steve” he said casually. “Oh, HI,” she said, drawing out the whole one syllable, all forms of pretense gone. Jim chuckled, somewhat unkindly, on the other end. “Say, he said casually, are you interested in going to dinner and a movie Saturday night?” She tried to sound cool but it wasn’t working, this was like a game they played: “sure” she said, what time?” He said”I’ll pick you up at seven.” “Okay” she swooned, see you at seven, bye.”

Jane spent the next two hours calling her friends from her pretty pink princess telephone and discussing what she should wear, what she should say, do, how she should act. She was in love with him and even though her friends were always warning her that he was a “ladies man” she was sure he was the man for her. She even asked her friends to sleep over Friday night so they could discuss her strategy and she could model some outfits for them. All of them were still dating their high school boyfriends but Jane had broken up with her high school boyfriend. She had outgrown him, she didn’t want to keep dating the same person she had gone out with in high school. She was too mature for that.

It was Saturday, the girls had slept over and they all had decided that Jane should wear her black skirt, black stockings and flat black boots. She would wear the striped black and green shirt and she had borrowed big, gold earrings from her best friend Stacey. Jane didn’t realize that she made her friends do this each time they went on a date. She felt great, excited and yes, a nervous wreck. She was always nervous before a date with Steve.

She looked at the clock, it was ten minutes to seven, he would be here any minute. She couldn’t wait, she knew he was the guy for her. He was a tiny bit unreliable with time but no one was perfect. She paced up and down the same steps to the hallway and back, it must have been at least fifty times, maybe a hundred.  Finally, she sat back down in the living room, on the beige couch and waited some more. She looked at her watch, it was already 7:20, ‘traffic,’ she thought. ‘He’ll be here in a second, what did they expect on a Saturday night in the city?’ It was now 8:50 with no word from him; she started to worry: ‘something must have happened to him, a car accident, something really bad.’

At 11:15 the phone rang and it was him. She was so worried and so relieved to hear his voice that nothing else mattered, he was alive and safe. “Sorry babe, things came up but I’m coming over now.” “Yes!” she said enthusiastically, “Come now.” Once he arrived, they were like lovebirds, kissing and touching each other on the couch, ravenous for each other. He explained nothing and she asked him nothing, all that mattered to her was that they were finally together.

In the morning, he went home and she kissed him good-bye. She was on an absolute high, she had gone from being depressed, worried and upset before he arrived  and after, she was swooning, high with his love, passion and his undivided attention. This is the life she craved and wanted, the great highs that she only experienced when she was with him, her girlfriends didn’t understand this at all. They all called her to ask her how the date went and when she tried to explain to them exactly what happened, they individually hung up in disgust. “This is NOT how a man treats a woman, her best friend said.” Her friend Rachel said:”You let him in after all that time and no excuses? That’s unacceptable.” Jane tried to explain but they cut her off, “There are no excuses her “smart” friend Paula told her, except the entire dissemination of his family ” She didn’t get it either. ‘What did she know, she didn’t even HAVE a boyfriend.’

She told them each pointedly the next time they all got together: “This is the life I want, this is the life I choose; I could never see myself living in your droll, miserable lives with the same person and the same boring things you have done during high school and will do the rest of your lives.” Janet continued to go out with Steve, craving excitement, accepting the manic highs and the very lows of their unsteady relationship.

Jane never heard from her high school friends again; Jane went out with Steve for another two years, off and on, until one day he just never showed up again. She never heard from him or saw him. She kept dating the same kind of guy, unavailable, unobtainable guys that were a thrill to date, but they never hung around for very long. Jane thought, ‘you can’t have everything’ and surprisingly, in a way, her old girlfriends said the same thing and they both were right.

The Coolest Vehicle I've Driven

1985-1987 Ford Escort photographed in College ...

He Was My First And I Loved Him

His name was Eddie. That’s right, Eddie. As in Eddie Escort. A fine first vehicle for every young lady. He was cool, unpredictable, smooth. Could you count on him during the cold winter months? Hell, no. But, he was a sweet talker that landed me in a coveted space in the back parking lot where I worked after I did some clever maneuvering myself. Eddie Escort knew where he belonged and I made sure everyone else knew it too. You wouldn’t want to marry Eddie but as a first boyfriend, he was fine. He was exciting, even a little dangerous, sexy and well-built, he brought me to work and back, okay, sometimes we had to wait for AAA to bail us out but that just added to the suspense of our first relationship. Eddie was a Ford. A Ford Escort and he and I were cool. Together.

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