I was on a date with Edgar. It was going OK, but slow. We had already done the one-on-one cup of coffee thing, which went well, and now we were trying the “going out” thing. Some live music, a couple of cocktails. Naturally, in a small town, that involves a lot of running into people you know, which I generally like. All signs pointed toward success. It should have been a fun night, but it was rough going. I felt like I was pulling, like he was pulling, like we were both trying too hard. (Except when people I knew came up to say hi, then he’d completely shut down.) I was starting to wonder.
Toward the end of the night, we ran into a couple of my friends who wanted to go to The Grange, so we four crunched through the snow to our next location. Just before we got to the door, I looked up from under the hood of my jacket and saw him. It was Heathcliff, standing outside The Grange, smoking a cigarette.
I’d dated Heathcliff for no time at all, but there seemed to be something there. Then, as happens, quite suddenly, he had apparently found a cliff and fallen off. No calls, just awkward, halfassed attempts at replies to my playful emails.
Like, “Oh, hey! How’re you doing?” Um, great? Maybe better if you called me?
So my throat tightened up and as we approached, I took a deep breath and said, “Hey, Heathcliff. How the hell are you?” Edgar had the good sense to walk inside the bar with my friends and leave me in the cold with Heathcliff.
He stuttered apologies; he made a “Look at how sweet I am and see how wide I can open up my big brown eyes?” face. He said he knew he should have called, should still, but This happened and then This happened and, man, it had been rough. Then he looked at me as if to say, “what a mistake.” I shook my head, No. But still, for a moment, I forgot how mad I’d been. And why? Why did his pathetic little hangdog face make me want to hug him make a bad joke to make him laugh? I wanted to take off my glasses, I wanted to put my face in his neck. I don't think it was the rejection itself, I'd felt this way before he disappeared. I had barely gotten to know him, but it had felt easy (yes, like a Sunday morning). Then he’d disappeared, until now.
Then my friends came back out of the bar, apparently it was packed with douchebursts. They still had Edgar in tow, and he seemed even less appealing than before. I said goodbye as Heathcliff shrugged, smiled, and went inside. And when my date suggested coming back to his place, just for a drink, I declined.
So it worked. I ran into someone who had rejected me, yet who still made me swoon. The meeting with Heathcliff had clarified just one thing.
Edgar? Not it.