Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Girl

There once was a girl we’ll call The Girl. She was one of those impossible girls. That woman who has the right combination of everything, possessing the special blend of mind, body and soul that sets the heart on fire and the brain reeling. The Girl wasn’t The One. At the time, though, she was my whole world.

The Girl worked as a waitress at Peppers. She brought me chicken and gravy and spanish fries. Which, as you can imagine, resulted in my quickly sucumbing to her feminine charms. When she was talking she looked into me. She could talk so fast it would leave me breathless, stop in mid sentence, walk away to take care of a table, and then come back and pick up in mid-sentence right where she left off. It was kind of freaky, but it wasn't inane chatter. It was completely and purely genuine. She was funny in a sly way. She was smart, but not pretentious. Pretty, but plain and subtle about it. Sexy, but unaware of it. Mostly, though, she was beautiful. 

That’s what this is really about. Being beautiful.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

That One told me a few of weeks ago that I had a “mad desire to be rejected.” Men are told from the time they're old enough to grasp their own pricks that if they have feelings for a woman they should speak up. Tell her. It will be wonderful. She has to know! You’ll be miserable if you never know! The worst that could happen is gut wrenching, mind obliterating pain that will bring you to your knees, curl you into a ball, and make you weep like a child. It will also probably kill you, by the way.

Granted, everyone always leaves that last bit out.

Trust me. It’s better not to know.

Given that attitude, I begin to ponder this “mad desire” of mine. Why would I subject myself to the pain and humiliation of being rejected? Honestly, I’d rather be kicked repeatedly in the balls.  I hear there are people that pay good money for that. I’m certainly not paying for it, so why would I want it? Because it’s a way for me to take a shot to the chones for free? No. Because I’m insane, apparently. It pissed me off. I stomped around having angry conversations with myself. I wallowed in my own self pity and misery. I wrote angry, angsty essays for days. I got drunk. That might not be the precise order of events, but you get the gist.

Then it got me thinking.

Those thoughts eventually wobbled drunkenly, and fondly, to The Girl.

The Girl was what you might call a natural empath. One of those people that is unaware that they can look at someone, converse with them for a few minutes, and see right into their soul while being blissfully unaware that they’ve done so. These women are spectacularly dangerous. To me, obviously. To themselves as well, in my experience.

I remember going to a Christmas party at Peppers one year. For The Gang it was a huge deal because it was an exclusive employee event. Everyone else was invitation only. I guess they figured that since we practically lived there and essentially paid rent, we should come. So we did. K and I arrived shortly after things got started and he headed off to whereabouts unknown. The Girl arrived with her boyfriend, Dude.
Dude was an attempted musician. He did musician-like things, he did ride a ten-speed bike, he did The Girl, he did a lot of angst ridden things and he did a lot of nothing else. He was also one of the bartenders. Almost forgot about that.
Shortly after the party gets started, The Girl grabs me by the hand and begins dragging me around to her friends and family. The place was packed with people, with the sound of dozen of conversations buzzing around the piped in Christmas music and the clacking of feet on the old high school basketball court floors. The Girl was smiling and engaging with everyone. One of the other waitresses at the party decided to snark at me that I was following The Girl around like a puppy. I said “I sure am.”
The Girl played with the children at the party and introduced me to some important sounding people. At one point she was sitting with a family and telling a story to two little girls and a boy. She was animated, and laughing, and they were laughing with her. She talked with her hands a lot.  I stood over by the wait station and watched her. Her ability to connect with people, especially kids, was a wonder to me. While I was standing there staring, an older, rather distinguished couple came up to me and introduced themselves. Apparently some VIP friends of the The Girl’s family.
We chatted amiably for a minute, and the gentleman looks over at The Girl, then back to me and says, “You take good care of her, young man. She’s very special.”
Like some sort of threatened blessing.
With no idea what to say, I blurted, “Oh, yes sir, she’s special. But she’s not with me. She’s just my friend.”
“I see,” said the old man with a bit of disapproval.
“That’s too bad,” said the lady, also with a hint of disapproval.
“And who is she here with tonight?” queried the gentleman.
I look over toward the bar and point. “That guy with the long hair.”
They turned together in the direction I indicated, and there’s Dude, with a santa hat cocked precariously on his head, and his arm around two women, who were laughing and pouring tequila shots into his mouth. They did appear to be having a great time.
“Oh,” says the woman.
“Yes, well...” says the man.
After a few minutes of awkward nothing, he says, “Well, you take care of her anyway.” He shook my hand,  linked arms with his wife, and sauntered off. I’m assuming old rich people saunter, of course. It looked like sauntering to me, anyway.
I stood there and watched The Girl. I remember feeling amazed that people thought we were together.  I remember feeling wretched that we weren’t. I watched her as people gravitated to her. She was whirling from group to group, table to table, and everyone loved her. In private, she was quiet and closed off, full of a deep pain that she rarely let out. Back to back tragedies had left a mark. In a social situation, though, she exploded with joy, drive and emotion that captivated anyone she came near. She was this beacon of pure humanity that drew in souls and radiated back all the things that people want to be. I watched her charm people, be sad with them, feel their pain, smile at their fortune, and laugh at their joy.  She was beautiful.

See, beauty is not about being cute, or pretty, or sexy, or having a good soul, or being perfect. Those are certainly components sometimes. Beauty also has flaws, and pain, and sadness, and scars. It’s something that men don’t comprehend very often.  I think women rarely get it or admit to it themselves, and with certain women that just makes them more beautiful. The way a woman can have stretch marks and be self conscious about them and still be mind blowing sexy. That’s beautiful. The way a woman can go through hell and still smile and be bold and take life on her own terms. That’s beautiful, too.  It’s the way all the flaws and the perfections blend and meld together to make her an individual. That’s beautiful.

It scared the shit out of me.

I never told her. She knew, but knowing doesn’t matter if it isn’t said. The Girl was one of those perfectly imperfect women and my fear was not a desire to be rejected by her. My fear was being accepted and not being able to live with her being beautiful. I simply didn’t know if I could handle it. That need to devour every second of her attention, the jealousy when she isn’t shining directly at me, and that obsessive compulsion of meaning everything to her. Getting free of that is overwhelming and requires an unconditional dedication that I was unsure I possessed. So my defense was silence.

It was The Girl that started me down the path to understanding that fear, to being able to accept someone with that beauty and being able to live with it. It was the The Girl that made me realize that you do have to tell her, because while it’s not worth it to know, me knowing isn’t the point. The point is accepting her beauty with all it’s flaws and perfections. It’s accepting and loving her unconditionally not because she is beautiful, but despite of it.

I don’t know what happened to The Girl. She moved away and I never heard from her again. In my mind, she is wildly successful and happy and still being beautiful. Perhaps she found a guy that treats her the way she deserves. Perhaps she has a family she’s proud of. I like to think good things came to her. That would mean the universe, at least, has a heart. Regardless, I owe her a lot.

It took a long time, but it was the The Girl who taught me how to love unconditionally. That in the end, you can tell her or not. It doesn’t matter. She is beautiful and if you get even a glimpse of it, you’re better for it.

And that, my friends, is worth it.


  1. Oh wow...This was amazing! You are a wonderful writer Cris :-)

  2. Thank ya, Heather! It needs some edits, but it'll do. lol