Wednesday, July 1, 2009


There was a guy I was craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazy about in high school. He was fairly shy, and I was ................................. not. But I was smitten with him. [Don't you love the word "smitten"? I got it from a girl I used to work with. I hate her, but I kept the word.]

I talked about him nonstop, probably because in some corner of my brain I thought if I talked about him enough, someday he might actually give me the time of day.

My Aunt Rosie started teasing me about whether or not this guy even existed, so she started calling him Figment. As in "of my imagination."

We had lots of things in common, Figment and I. Except for that shyness thing. We went to church together. We played in the marching band together. At church we sang in a gospel quartet together. I sang alto; I don't remember what he sang, but I think it was bass. We were in chorus together in school. We went on at least one mission trip together with the church. I don't remember whether or not he was along on the trip when I had to get stitches in my eyebrow because I bumped heads with someone else. We had been warned over and over again not to "horseplay". But I didn't consider jumping on his back to be horseplay at all. Figment and I were both going to go to medical school and become doctors. I don't know what kind of doctor he planned to be, but I was going to be a pediatrician. (Isn't everyone?) And then after my step-father died of cancer my senior year, I was going to be a neurologist.

When I was in 10th grade and Figment was a senior, he asked me to the prom. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I kind of thought it meant we were "going together" or something. I started making wedding plans and sending out "save the date" cards. Not really. I didn't know what a "save the date" card was back then.

HE (apparently) thought it was a date to the prom. Period. I hate men for the way they think. Didn't he know it was much more significant than that?

Yes, that is a lime green tuxedo jacket he's wearing. It matches the lime green in the modest cover-up that my mother made at the last minute, when she saw what you get when you combine a halter-top dress pattern with very stretchy qiana fabric. And yes, those are braces shining on my teeth. I finally got them off my SENIOR year in high school.

When I got suspended from school the very week of the prom, there was a slight possibility that I wouldn't be allowed to go. There was an even greater possibility that I wouldn't be ALIVE to go. He saw me in the hall right after I was suspended, and when I told him the news, his reaction was a poor one. I don't remember what it was exactly, but I smacked him on the arm. I think it was along the lines of, "Ha ha ha ha ha, you finally got caught skipping." He sobered up quickly when he realized the whole prom thing hung in the balance. I don't think he would have been heartbroken; he just would have had a hard time finding a date on four days' notice.

When I was a senior and Figment was a sophomore in college, I returned the favor. That's when I wore the beautiful dress that Katydid painstakingly made for me and then told me to throw the pattern away. He said he hoped it was okay if he DIDN'T rent a tuxedo, and surprisingly it WAS okay. He bought me a wrist corsage when all of my friends got nosegays (what the hell IS a nosegay, anyway?), but that was okay too. At least I didn't keep misplacing my flowers. And since my corsage was on my cigarette hand, I didn't have to worry about setting them on fire. Classy, no?
By this time my step-father had died, and Mother was too tired to care anymore if my dress stretched and showed things it shouldn't.

He went away to college, and we kept in touch by letters. One Valentine's Day I received a card from him that said on the front, "One night I dreamed about George Washington and I found a dollar. Another night I dreamed about Abraham Lincoln and I found a five dollar bill." On the inside of the card it said, "The other night I dreamed about you, and I woke up with heartburn." I was puzzling over what it could possibly mean when I read what he had written: "This can be taken two ways. I hope you take it the right way." Well THANKS FOR CLEARING THAT UP. I kept the card for years, but I finally threw it away. Probably in one of my many moves or marriages.

One night during the disco era I had (for once) dressed up to go to the ........ nightclub ........ oh what the hell, it was a bar ...... where I was a regular. A regular to the point that the bartender had my drink ready when I got there. Sad but true. I wasn't sporting the whole disco outfit, but I had on platform shoes, a skirt, and a snug sweater. Forgive me, but due to the structure of certain parts of my body (two of them), EVERY sweater was snug.

I saw Figment walk in, and I just about fluttered myself to death. Yes, I am aware that I have used that meaningless phrase two blog entries in a row. We ran into each other there all the time, but on this particular night I was aware that I looked better than the typical jeans and shiny blouses I wore. I decided to take the initiative and let him see how glad I was to see him. He stood by the bar, letting his eyes get used to the dimness, when I approached. Remember that I was wearing platform shoes. High-heeled ones. And I forgot to remember that where he stood, the floor sloped upward.

I literally fell at his feet. He helped me up, but I could tell he was A) embarrassed that he knew me; and B) struggling not to laugh. I said, "You can pretend you don't know me if you want to." That's all I remember about that night. If I had any sense, I would have left immediately. But I was never accused of having any sense.

One night when I was living alone in an apartment (God, I loved that apartment), I was headed home after a night on the town when I saw blue lights behind me. Now I have to admit that it is only by the mercy of God that I never got stopped the whole time I was in college and ripping up and down the road at all hours of the night. Thank you, God. Again today. These blue lights got behind me when I was less than 100 yards away from the entrance to my apartment. "Great," I thought. "Busted this close to home."

Behind the wheel of the cruiser was Figment. He had become a police officer briefly in his quest to discover exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up. He had night duty, and when he saw my car out at that time of night, he just had to throw a scare into me. I loved him for it. Really. He said he might swing back by when he got off duty, and I hung all my hopes on those words. I went to sleep on the sofa with all the lights on, so if he came back by he wouldn't see a dark apartment and think I'd gone to bed.

Eventually I gave up. I went to his wedding (after which I attempted to drown my sorrows); I THINK he came to mine. He married a nurse, and he became a physician's assistant. [My MOTHER has gone to see him before for some illness or another. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!] I got a doctorate in education. So we both sort of became doctors after all.

I don't know why it makes me sad to think about Figment. I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have lasted. In retrospect, I don't think he was really all that shy. He was just too calm for me. I think he would have crushed my penchant for risk-taking. And I am pretty sure I would have crushed his mother by now. I ran into her outside the pharmacy when Sweet Girl was two weeks old. She looked puzzled for a moment, and then she said, "Gosh ....... somebody told me you'd already HAD the baby."

Yeah, we're much better off the way we are. Especially his mother.

1 comment:

KatyDid53 said...

This is priceless!