~Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Clemson's Credit

Clemson had kept his word to me. Every week, he makes an effort to come talk to me. I am so happy that I don't have a stone in my stomach when I see him across the bar; he's no longer an adversary for me to be afraid of.

The first time I saw him after the closure, he grabbed my hand and began pinching my veins.

"What the hell?!" I hollered as I snapped my hand away.

"You can tell how old a girl is by the elasticity of her veins," he said simply.

I rubbed the topside of my hand. "I will have you know that I have very supple veins. And you know how old I am. Besides that, I'm younger than you!"

I looked at his friend. "Alright, I'm going home. I'll see you two idiots later."

The next week I was waiting at the bar for a pitcher of beer for flip cup. I was leaning across the back of an empty bar stool. I felt a nudge. Clemson mimicked me with his arms folded across the top my bar stool. He stared ahead.

I lunged at his hand and began pinching his veins, "HOW OLD ARE YOU, OLD MAN?! HOW DOES THAT FEEL?"

"Ow!" he hollered.

"Yeah, it hurts!"

He asked whether I was still living across town.

"I sure do."

"Why are you always over here then?"

"Because 100% of my friends live here."

I knew what he was going to say. He was going to tell me to join a different kickball league closer to my apartment to meet people who lived near me.

"You should move here," he said thoughtfully.

"It's only 10 miles," I shrugged.

"Where is your work?" he asked.

I blushed because it was an incriminating answer. "Right down the street from here."

"You should move here," he repeated. "There are nice apartments around here."

I grabbed my pitcher and left to play my game.

A few hours later, I returned to the bar. Clemson and Girl from Irish Pub were seated together, deep in conversation.

She greeted me. "Your ears must have been burning. We were just talking about you."

Oh god. Both of them are nice to my face and I think I'm friends with them, but I'm not 100% sure how genuine these friendships are. I have no idea what they were talking about in relation to me and whether this held a positive or negative connotation.

They both stood up to leave.

I grabbed Clemson by the bicep and held my grip. "You didn't tell her what I said about Statham, did you?"

He looked at me. "No, that's between you and me." And he walked away.

A week later and kickball season had ended. The group still makes an effort to meet up once a week for drinks. Instead of our team bar, we travel and visit a different bar each week. I was seated across the table from Girl from Irish Pub in yet another Irish Pub. We had traded our glasses of red wine for beers on tap. It felt good, being out in a capacity other than kickball. We clean up nicely. I smoothed my sundress.

I was acutely aware that Clemson was behind me and talking to Nameless at the bar. I wasn't going to stare. We are friends now. Now if I could just get people to stop assuring me what a great guy he is despite his social cowardice.

A spot had opened up next to me at the end of the table; Clemson jumped inside it, appearing as if it were a magic trick.

"How's your week going?" I asked.

"Busy. I can't stay out late tonight. I got a deadline at noon tomorrow and another one at 2:30. I'm just going to have a couple of drinks here and go home and get started."

"I'm not staying out late either," I replied. "I'm leaving for Mexico tomorrow after work and I haven't even packed yet."

"I've never left the South," he said thoughtfully.

"You should rectify that."

He stood beside me and we held a civil, mundane conversation. That's when I realized I have never spoken to this boy sober in my life. This was the very first time. We were interacting normally.

He remained by my side the rest of the night, which really lasted another hour before I went home to pack. A girl flitted over to our table tipsy from happy hour and made wild proclamations. Clemson's face lit up. I recognized that expression.

It's the one he used to make when he saw me.

(Ed note: when I told this story to South Carolina's boyfriend, he confirmed that he had heard the vein theory. Pinch away.)


freckledk said...

I'm still peeved at him for not coming to your rescue when you were flat on the ground. I hope he can fully redeem himself for that bit of f*ckwittery.

j said...

I am happy to hear that you are able to interact normally. Sounds like he is making an effort.

Anonymous said...

he's heard the vein theory? i missed that story! i miss my boyfriend. :( #clemson4life #randomthoughts

Anonymous said...

I think I'm glad I have little veins that arent easily accessable. It's good you can relax a bit more when he's around...in time maybe it will even become comfortable.

J said...

Sounds like he's mostly redeemed himself, save for the pinching your veins thing. Which is good, because it's so much better to be civil and friendly than have to deal with awkwardness.


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