~Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Closing Time

The summer kickball season and two months had flown by. All of a sudden it was the last night. I chewed on my hamburger from the bar and looked at my male teammate.

"There's this boy I've spent the whole season talking to and it's the last night and I'm not playing next season, so I need to get this guy to act tonight."

He put his burger down and wiped his face. "Which guy?"

I pointed to Abraham on the other side of the bar. He was drinking a beer with his team. A and I had spent the entire season together, drinking and playing flip cup. Every week we talked and hung out. It's been two months.

I wasn't sure how much I liked Abraham versus how much I was bored. Barring the whole fake name incident, he was nice. We had a good time together. He was dorky in what I deemed an acceptable way. He always wore a backwards baseball cap, something I hadn't seen since the 1990's. But every week when it was time to play flip cup, I'd tap his shoulder and he'd stop mid-conversation and come join me. Besides, he always pours my drink for me.

"So ask him out," said my teammate.

"WHAT?" I said exasperated.

"I know there's that whole theory that about hunting and gathering and how guys don't like being approached, but let me tell you: we do. We like being approached."

I thought about it. "Do you like being approached even if you aren't interested?" I was trying to suss out a worst-case scenario.

"It's still flattering."

"What do you say if you aren't interested?"

"I'd probably fib and say I was already seeing someone." He finished his burger and grabbed his beer. "But don't automatically assume he's lying if he tells you that. That's just me."

"I always thought that if a guy liked you enough, he'd make a move."

"What is this, the 1950's?"

"What if I say something and he turns me down and then I'm the crazy girl at kickball because I put myself out there to him?"

"Are you kidding me? Half of this room has already slept with the other half of the room."

He had a point. I saw a girlfriend of mine cross the bar. She's slept with three that I know of. None of them turned into relationships, just a lot of jealousy among the guys.

I stood up from the table. My teammate slapped my ass, "Go get 'em, champ!" he cheered.

The Leader was setting up the flip cup table. I crossed the bar and looked for Abraham. I didn't see him. I approached the beautiful boy.

"Where's A? Flip cup is starting."

"He's at the bar across the street getting a drink with his roommate. I'll text him for you."

Uh, okay. Now I feel really self-conscious. I didn't ask the beautiful boy to contact A for me, but he did. And now I look like a stalker. I wondered if the beautiful boy was just being nice or if there was a reason Abraham needed to know that I was looking for him.

After a few rounds, Abraham appeared at the flip cup table. He waited until someone else exited and then took the guy's place.

"You came back!" I said.

"Yeah, I just went across the street for a few minutes."

"I know. Your friend told me. He texted you, but I said it wasn't necessary."

"I got a text?" he pulled out his phone and then saw it. I wish I kept my mouth shut.

We played flip cup. Schmoozer's BF came in with my girlfriend he's dating and he finally got to meet everybody. She immediately joined in the game as he sat back and watched.

It was a good night. Everybody got a little crazy because it was the last official night together before a 4-week off season. Boys were getting drunk. Girls were screaming "Woo!" People were dancing. I had already lost my purse twice and I think Abraham fed me his backwash during flip cup.

"Hey, look!" pointed Abraham.

I turned around. I saw a random girl quickly pull away from another girlfriend of mine. Girl fight!

I crossed the bar and grabbed and hugged my friend. "I will end you," I threatened the girl I didn't know.

The girls laughed. "We aren't fighting! We were hugging! We're friends and it's my birthday!" said the stranger.

What the ---. I was drunker than I thought I was. Then what was Abraham pointing at? I felt like the worst person in the world for threatening to kick this girl's ass on her birthday. I called the waiter over and bought two birthday shots to make up for what I said.

I handed the first shot to the girl and tried to hand the second shot to our friend. Our friend turned it down, saying she wasn't drinking that night. I seem to remember her saying that earlier.

"Drink it with me!" said the birthday girl. She didn't care that I threatened her a moment ago. I drank half the shot and put the glass down and tried to walk away.

"You didn't finish it!" she cheered.

I picked up the glass and finished the shot. That set the tone for the rest of the evening, which turned into a drunken blur.

At one point Abraham was at the bar and getting a refill. I was seated at a table waiting for no one in particular. A boy I’ve seen around the bar over the past year approached me.

“I know you have a crush on my friend,” he said, gesturing to Abraham. “But can I have your number?”

Just how obvious is this Abraham thing? I peered across the bar to Abraham. His back was to me. I gave the other guy my number.

The birthday girl came back to me at the table. She had tears in her eyes. "Thank you for buying me a drink and celebrating my birthday with me. I have a little girl and haven't left the house in three years. Just thank you. You have no idea how much that means to me." We hugged it out.

Abraham returned to the flip cup table. I got up and joined him. "What the hell were you pointing at? Because I almost started a girl fight over it."

"Clemson was lifting up his shirt."

"Oh."

I told him what happened. He laughed. Flip cup ended and we found another table and sat talking. Part of the group came up to me and declared they were going to a diner to eat. The crowd was thinning out.

We then moved to the bar and continued talking. I had the Leader tell Abraham the story about how I got knocked unconscious. When Abraham got up to go to the bathroom, the Leader whispered in my ear, "Just close the deal already."

"I'm trying, believe me."

Abraham returned to the bar and bought a round of drinks for the two of us. "I'm calling out sick tomorrow," he announced.

"You should get my number and call me sometime," I blurted. "Because it's the end of the season and I'm not playing next season and we won't see each other anymore."

"Why not?"

"My team is dissolving."

"So play on another team. Play on mine."

"I can't play on yours."

"Why not?"

"[Statham's Ex] is on your team. We don't exactly get along." I made hand gestures to demonstrate the not-getting-along part.

"I had no idea."

It wasn't entirely true. It's not that we don't get along. We're really great at being in the same space and pretending the other person doesn't exist. But I could never do that to her. That's her team.

"So you should get my number," I repeated.

"I'm not good at this," he said.

He was serious and his voice was low and dejected and it had completely taken me aback. I thought back to what his friend told me earlier in the night, “A’s not used to girls hitting on him.” I mean, we are old—I’m 30 and Abraham is 34—we’ve been out there in the real world and dating for an average of 14 years. What is there not to understand?

I paused. Maybe he’s not interested. Maybe the whole I’m-not-good-at-this business is his version of I’m already seeing someone. Maybe it’s his way to blow me off.

Maybe he’s a player and this is his way to keep himself available to me without actually doing any of the work.

"What's there not to be good at? You get my number and you call me. It's simple."

"I'm better at text," he said.

"Then text me."

He pulled out his phone and I put in my number and dialed my phone. "You realize I'm saving your number as your fake name, right?"

He laughed.

"So are you going to call me?"

"I don't know," he shrugged. “You should keep coming out next season even though you won’t be playing.”

“I will. I do. I did it in the spring season when I played on the weekends and y’all played on the weekdays. I was here all those nights you said you were also here. And because I wasn’t playing, I looked cute.”

“I bet you did,” he smiled.

"Look, you can call or not. I'm not going to cry over it," I said nonchalantly.

He shrugged.

"Then don't call and we'll just be friends," I said.

"I'm not ready to say that either."

I threw up my hands in the air, exasperated. Really, call or don't, but make up your mind!

"I'm calling out of work tomorrow because I'm hanging out with you. Know that," he said.

"What time is it, anyway?"

"Three a.m. We’ve been here drinking for 8 hours."

"WHAT?" I screamed. "No bar should be open that late. They should close and make me go home."

I looked around. There were less than 10 people left, including the Leader.

"Walk me to my car?" I asked.

"Sure."

In front of my car, Abraham had finally made up his mind. He looked at my mouth, giving the pre-kiss signal, then he leaned in and kissed me. Just when things were getting going, our teeth banged. I was still a little drunk.

"I'm sorry. I can do better," I said.

We kissed again and banged noses.

"I can do better. I promise."

"It's okay."

We kissed again. We finally got our acts together. Tongues mingled. Fingers intertwined.

"Much better," he murmured.

We spent the next hour making out by my car. He's a good kisser. He kisses exactly like I do: in Morse code. Short kisses punctuating long kisses. It stayed PG rated, but it felt so good just to be touched. I hadn’t gone on vacation yet and the last time I was touched, I was being held by Clemson while I cried. I took advantage of the opportunity. My fingers tickled his beer belly by the elastic waistband of his basketball shorts. My palms explored his cheeks. My hands squeezed his shoulders. I wanted to make a mental map of him with my fingertips.

He was playful as well. “I’ve been wanting to do this all season.” He grabbed my kickball t-shirt, the one I had cut up and bedazzled, and untied one of the bows cinching the sleeves.

I finally pulled away. "I need to go home."

"Are you okay to drive?"

"Yeah, we haven't had anything in the last hour."

"Are you sure?"

I guess the option to go back to his place was on the table, but he wasn't explicitly inviting me. Besides my stomach was feeling disheveled from all of the drinks.

"No, I need to go home. I need to either eat or yak, and I haven't figured out which one it's going to be yet."

He took a giant step backwards. I probably would have too. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so honest.

"So, are you going to call?"

"I don't know."

"Alex!" I pounded his chest.

"It sounds weird hearing you say my real name," he admitted.

"Then I won't. I'll never say your real name again, Abraham," I laughed and patted him on the cheek.

"Have a good time on your vacation in a couple of weeks," he said.

"Yeah, thanks. I will."

***

It was rough the next day. While Abraham had taken the day off and was sleeping, I was at work and thinking about the shots and the almost girl fight and the drunken making out. It was a really fun night. I probably should have been a little embarrassed about it, but I wasn't. There was a tongue in my mouth. I was happy.

9 comments:

Bathwater said...

Having a tongue in our mouth does makee thought more complicated... I know.

Je m'appelle Danielle said...

I can't believe you bedazzled your shirt. Or that you went to work the next day. You be crazy.

J said...

I love drunken nights like these, especially when they end with making out.

And Danielle is right- you are a champ for making it to work the next day!

Syd said...

Sounds like a fun night!

HOWEVER, young lady - an hour isn't enough time to have metabolized the liquor outta your system. It's just one of those things where it's so much better to be safe than sorry. I've done the driving where I thought I was fine, and when I got home realized I probably wasn't. Just don't want you getting hurt!

END LECTURE (sorry!).

Angela said...

"He took a giant step backwards. I probably would have too. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so honest."

This made me laugh, because I do the same thing. I'm too honest.

Kate said...

What you should be embarrassed about is driving home. Jesus.

Anonymous said...

hi!

i like reading your stories, thanks for telling them :)

-dont

j said...

Oh I have had those nights! Sounds fun. I want to hear more about what happens with A.

Lpeg said...

haha I remember that next day at work! :)

 

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