Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Hard Way - Part I

Ridiculous, really, that I thought I could get something for nothing. But it is one of the lessons in life that must be learned the hard way. This is the story of


I was dating another car mechanic, his name was Dave. It was a symbiotic relationship: I was saddled with a 1978 Cutlass with four bald tires, a dead alternator, and dirty oil; and Dave was naive and needy, two personality traits that I would usually avoid when dating but I had certain automotive needs and he owned the station.

When I agreed to a date with him, I tried to mean it. I energized myself with the potential of finally finding a “nice” guy. I only lasted a couple of dates before I exhausted my supply of denial. Nice guys were not my gig. I simply advised him that although he did nothing wrong we were meant to just be friends, but that’s all. He took it well on the outside. His insides had other ideas.

I would still go to his gas station once in awhile to say ‘hi’ and keep this friendship balloon full of helium a little longer. One afternoon, as I was pumping the last three dollars I had into my gigantic V8 engine, he quick-stepped out of the garage, wiping his oily thin hands on a dirty red rag. His hair was so thin that it looked painted on his head and his features were almost boyish. But he was “nice.”

“Guess what? I have some good news!” he shouted before he even reached me. “My station won a free cruise for two to the Caribbean!” His shit brown eyes were round, surrounded by his feminine lashes, looking downright innocent.

“That’s great.” I said with fake enthusiasm. Why did he have all the luck? I was put out and full of self-pity. Here I was a single-mother with no financial support or real education trying to support my 4-year old son. Things had gotten very bad for us. Here’s a glimpse: I stole toilet paper from work because I’d run out at home and had no money to buy more. My son would have water on his cereal, if we had cereal. I was rolling coins to buy gas. So vacations were not on the horizon, not even in the peripheral.

He was quiet for a minute and then said “I want you to go.” I was confused. Did he want to give me the trip or take me with him? I didn’t know whether I should automatically accept or get more information. But, God, a cruise? That would be so lovely I couldn’t even imagine it. But no matter, I could not accept such a huge gift from a “friend”, could I? He said he knew how hard it was for me and I deserved a vacation. A break from all of this and that and he was right. I really deserved it, in fact, the world owed me this. I was Cinderella part one long enough and I wanted to be Cinderella part two! But I could tell by the puppy dog look that he was going too.

“Dave, there’s no way I can go on a cruise, especially with you. We’re just friends remember? I’ve explained that to you.” He looked amused and patronizing. “Of course, Sharon. I’m not insinuating anything else. I understand we’re just friends but I think you need this more than anyone else I know. We’ll just go as friends.” I couldn’t resist.

to be continued ....

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