Maria’s Party

It was one of those days. Things haven’t been going well on the financial front. Hitting up my family for support doesn’t do well for the male soul, but it what has to be done. Scouring for hours, thinking of the wasted talent I’ll endure for cash, thinking of how I was put in this situation. It was Friday, a day of celebration. It was hardly that. While I was talking to my Dad about work prospects, I got a text from a unrecognized number. Who might this be?


A few days prior, during the day of major downers, the day where the weeks of fun was destroyed by the reality of my situation, I headed over to the Sire. It has become my bar of choice. I wasn’t looking for prospects. I was looking for relaxation. I hogged the jukebox with classics like All Along The Watchtower and Layla, frustrating a few of the younger patrons who wanted ska or some other crap. I caught the attention of a pretty waitress, 40ish, but a goddamn nice body. She said I looked deep in thought. I said it had been a long day. She was just being nice, but that was fine with me. With the finale of my DMV adventure and the rearing of the world, I needed a drink. Her body in my eyes helped, too.

Closing in on closing time, a thin blonde came in alone. “Make me something strong,” she said. I sat in my barstool, hand on my Jack and coke, and reflexively said, “One of those days, too, huh?”

“Yeah,” she responded. She immediately started talking about work, then home. Twin days, it seemed. After getting her strong, blue drink, she came over and gave me her name, I gave mine in kind. She then went outside. I sat there, sipping at my fourth drink that night. I’d been there a while, as was procedure for feeling down on one’s self. Very friendly, very upfront. Yes, I thought. Prospect. My phone told me the time and I marked for a fifteen minute wait for her to return. About ten minutes after, I went outside for a smoke and sat down. There she was at a table, talking to a guy who had come in 20 minutes beforehand. I listened for a moment, hearing talk of video games, nerdy shit; nothing that said relationship. I psyched myself up and moved in. “Mind if I join you?”

“No, go right ahead,” she said.

I sat, introducing myself to the guy. He noticed my Philadelphia Flyers shirt. I told him it was a little late for wearing it, but what the hell. We all talked. Her and I smoked. She went on about her long day, as did I, her friend then declaring a no-drama zone. Cool, I abide. He wanted another drink, I offered him my tab to buy it. He didn’t use it when he went back inside. I focused on her a lot. Asking her about school, her job, her life. We trade stories. It wasn’t long before he wanted to leave. She got my number. The rest of the night I sipped my last drink and felt good.

It was her, this odd number. It was an invite to a party not to far from where I’m living. She had mentioned a house warming party going away party for a friend during our short conversation. Her as recent to Riverside as I was. I grinned. I shook, anxiety despite the healthy medication. “Bring something to share.” Hmm. Beer? Obvious. Nothing? Probably. Oh. Wait. Yes. In the closet of my room was a duffle bag of 39 movies I wanted to give away before moving. They never went. Perfect. I talked to Kay for a few hours, her career choices given to me for evaluation. The girl has a good head for the future, the dark future. She took the piss out of my situation. Good. Keeps me grounded.

The party started at 9:30pm. I showered at 9 and waited until after 10pm to leave. Around 10:15, I arrived, dufflebag in hand. I met a chick with a crew cut and a goth guy before even getting to the door. Moving on in, I was greeted by a cute brunette sitting on the couch. A blonde head turned. “You made it!”

I smiled. Yes, I did. The bag transferred to her hands. “Something to share. 39 movies for anyone to grab at.” She looked surprised. I met the few who were there, but soon many others arrived. She made it a point to introduce me, even though sans alcohol I was still feeling a slight awkward. A beer and a few shots later, well buzzed, the small things left. I ate. We all talked. A few early guests left early for whatever reason. Fine by me, natural party selection. She broke out Apples to Apples. A game of verbs, nouns and subjective evaluation. I teased her friend about being an Anaheim Duck’s fan. It endeared me to her best friend, who was a born and raised Flyers fan. God bless hockey. They all said her name. Wait, and you shall receive. For the purposes of this blog, she is Maria, for she reminds me of Maria Brink from In This Moment.

The party rode the wave of the unusual card game. Being somewhat experience with it, I knew what cards to throw down if I had them. Odd. Unusual, but funny. During one hand, she was explaining to everyone why she chose such and such cards, but her eyes were on me only. Half way through, I made the excuse to sit next to her when the seat opened up. Better to get to the opening so I could get to the food, I said. During a hand, I made it a point to put my hand on her leg for a few second, then withdrew, but keeping close. The game ended when most of the crowd left. Her best friend, her and myself were left to clean up. Being the sweet guy I am, I helped. As she said goodnight to her best friend, I laid on the couch, watching the credits to Blues Brothers 2000.

We went out for one last smoke with her. Our alone time the entire night being in the length of a cancer stick. I could drive home. I didn’t live far away and I was barely buzzed by the end of the night. During the time we had alone we talked a little more personal. She about the party and her feelings, I saying it was fine, that I was having fun, and about my own things. She said I was cool. That I came across as “Hey, I’m Jordan. I’m cool!” If I was still beta, I would have been ecstatic. I took it as a natural thing. She talked about a guy friend who assumed they’d fuck the first date they had. She didn’t do that. I assimilated that information quickly. I never mentioned the divorce or the Ex. I brought it up once before at the Sire and if she didn’t remember or didn’t want to, I wasn’t about to shoot myself in balls to remind her.

She talked about karaoke on Sunday. I said I was down for that. As we finished up, saying goodbye, she hugged me. I felt the hug last a little longer than it should have. I looked down at her as she slightly pulled away, I dipped my head and kissed her. Once. Twice.

“I like you, by the way,” I said, lips barely an inch apart.

“I like you, too,” she responded.

I walked away, saying I’d see her on Sunday, hopefully.

If I hadn’t gotten the kiss, the hopefully would have been a major mistake. In this case, it was just something said.

Naturally me. Naturally awesome.