Sunday, March 4, 2012
(No) Breakfast at Sweetheart's
There was a girl I pursued relentlessly through high-school; let's call her "Sweetheart", because that's what she was, and that was why I wanted her. She was a very sweet, very shy, and very attractive young lady, and I just wanted to wrap her in my arms and shield her from anything that might take a smile from her. Theproblem was, I was also very shy, so my pursuit did not involve, as we say in Australia, 'putting the hard word' on her, meaning I never formally asked her out, or explicitly stated that I wanted her.
At the age of 16, I quit high-school to focus on my drinking. Most days involved waking at around 7.30am, puking for a half-hour, then drinking again at around 8am, while she stayed in school, so I didn't see her for a couple of years.
Cut to 2 years later, and I received an invite to her 18th birthday. I accepted, and to celebrate I started drinking even earlier than usual. I couldn't tell you what time myself and my friends, who were driving me to the party, arrived, as I was quite hammered, but I saw Sweetheart, and my heart felt something it hadn't felt in some time: it felt, for want of a better word, alive. I hadn't brought her a gift, but for years I'd worn a pendant with my birthstone (rose quartz, if I remember correctly), and as her birthday was in the same month as mine, I gave it to her, drunkenly placing it around her neck. I didn't think a lot of it at the time, as my focus was on free party-booze, but it must have touched her on some deeper level, because later in the evening, as the party was dying down, she approached me and said, "Aaron, I really think you should, you know... stay. You should stay tonight." My reaction? I thought, "Oh, she knows I'm hammered, and she must think I drove myself here." So I said, right to Sweetheart's face, "Oh, there's no need for that. I came here with friends, and I'll be leaving with them."
A while later, she approached me again, and said, "Listen to me Aaron. I have a caravan out the back. We can stay in there. You really, really need. To. Stay." I was touched by what I still assumed was her concern for my well-being, but couldn't fathom, while I was still keeping one drooping eye on any potential free booze, why she didn't get the message. "It's okay, Sweetheart. Like I said, I'll be getting a lift home with friends. There's no need for me to stay, but thanks for the offer. Say, have you got any booze around here?"
It wasn't until my friends and I were halfway home before I realized what she was really offering. I felt like a total heel, as I thought of how she must have perceived my words, my rejection of her. It was a heart-crushing moment for the both of us, I'm sure. I never saw her again after that, but sometimes I wonder how big of a boost it would have been for me to feel like I was protecting someone that sweet from the crap life throws at us all, how fulfilled I would have been, to feel like I was keeping the heart of the woman I loved, sweet.
Anyway, thank you for listening, and guys, keep your ears open. Don't make the same life-changing mistake I did.