Daniel and The Romantic (Part 1)

“So, if you don’t mind me asking, what exactly did you learn from all of this?” The stubble-faced man had his eyes intently trained on his colleague as he awaited an answer. The two had been sitting here for a while; one obviously going through relationship problems, and the other just lending an ear. I was being entertained by their randomness and mood changes. They were two decent fellows, both kind of reserved but comically witty – even in their state of melancholy.

“What do you mean, Daniel?” He knew exactly what his colleague meant. He just wasn’t prepared to answer such a question. He also seemed to be a bit offended by the question and the look he gave him as he asked it. I had to admit though, he had a right to ask; he had been listening to him vent, ramble, and gripe for the last hour at least.

“I mean, like… None of this really means anything if you didn’t learn anything,” the guy named Daniel said. He seemed to be very reasonable and was making it his business to make sense of everything. “Like, you’re a really smart guy, and confusion doesn’t suit you well.”

“Hmm… What did I learn from it?” The romantic pondered on this question for a few seconds. Then he smiled and started with…

“I learned that night can be as bright as the day.” 

He then sipped from his glass and gave his friend a crooked smile.  Daniel grimaced at the romantic’s poetic tenderness. “Please just stop! Forget I asked!” Nonetheless, the romantic continued on.

“I learned that great pain is only a loss of great gain.

I learned that simply holding hands can change lifelong plans. 

Shadows only lie where her smile doesn’t shine,

And sleep is merely to be with her in another place and time.

I learned that love travels on the winds that carry her scent,

And that there is much more love than time to be spent.” 

I laughed a bit as the love-sick patron annoyed his friend. He then put his arm around the shoulder of his buddy and asked, “You know the feeling, right?” and laughed at his discomfort.

“C’mon, just stop! Go and tell her! Just get off of me!” He threw the arm off of him as he jumped from his stool. “I don’t even want my last wings.” His friendly time of lending an ear had come to an end. His trust in the Guy Code had failed him as he was forced to listen to free versed poetry from who I could now tell was his best friend; and that’s why he wouldn’t leave him. They were close, and one was in need of the other right now.

“I learned that arguing doesn’t fix as well as a kiss,

and apologies are necessities when hearts are at risk.”

As Daniel turned and walked toward the exit, the poetic reject burst into laughter and followed after him. They grabbed their coats from the hangers and continued out into the night.

“The first time I saw her, I knew love was at hand…”

I cleared the tables where they were sitting and wiped the area clean. As I poured the liquid from their abandoned glasses, it occurred to me that they had only drank soda. I said a prayer for their continued sobriety, and went on to wait the next table.

Thirty Seconds Ago… The Fight

When I looked up and caught the piercing stare of the woman I have called my girlfriend for the last few months, I knew this relationship was over. I didn’t know what was wrong, but I’m sure guys all over the world know that look. It’s the one where they stare past your eyeballs straight into your brain to read your thoughts. It’s the look where their nose is flared up, and they can smell your crap before you even say it. You know that look that they have as if they have the answer to your lie before you tell it? Yeah… It was that look. Even so, it wasn’t the look that bothered me. It was that fact that she was marching straight towards me flailing a single piece of paper. Since I was in the backyard of her house, I could immediately scratch off the fact that she had printed that piece of paper from my own computer. I rarely log off of anything since I’m the only one who uses my computer, so access to old emails from girls before or love letters would have been easy access. Whatever this evidence was that she was holding though, was from her computer, but was about to be used against me. I decided to stop wondering and let her explain.

She stood across from me as I leaned back in the steel garden chair; and awaited the cue to walk away from what had seemed to be a good thing.

The stares continued. I refused to ask the cliché, “What’s wrong?” My mind was made up, and pride had already settled itself deep within me concerning her, that paper she was holding, and whatever she was about to say.

After a few more seconds of awkward nothingness, she threw the paper to me and announced, “I just finished reading your last Thirty Seconds Ago post.” Immediately I released the pride I was holding and remembered what it was about.
“Babe,” I started.

“Oh naw Mr. Casanova! Don’t Babe me now!” That statement introduced me to the first of many neck rolls to come.

I continued, “That was something I had written a while back. I didn’t have time to write anything yesterday, so I just pulled something from a stash.” That was true, and she was buying it. But then I had to go and say, “And how do you know it wasn’t about you?”

The annoyance that had seemed to be fading when I asked that. I had forgotten the details of the essay, but I instantly knew that there were more than enough details in it for my now ex-girlfriend to know that it was not about her. She then reminded me of some of the details.

“Negro, I am five feet four inches tall! Do I look like a “long-legged ladder of love” to you? Oh I guess I’m also a “chocolate treat for the eyes to taste” too?”

“Yeah you can be all of that to me, Babe!” At this point, I was just trying not to laugh. I just wanted this to end in a not-so-messy fashion.

“Please!” she retorted. “Do I look chocolate? I’m lighter than Peter Cottontail and you’re trying to fool me into thinking that was about me! Whoever that is you described sounds like what Mother Earth would look like as a person… And it makes me feel like Frodo Baggins, Reggie! Frodo Baggins!”

I took a pen from my pocket to write down some of the nonsense that was spewing from her frustration. It was too good to not have a record of it.

“Oh so you’re writing this down for your next Thirty Second story? Negro, you may as well call this one Thirty Days Ago because I’m gonna be on you all month!”

I chuckled and replied, “No you won’t.” I picked up my things and headed around the house to my car. Only my hat was still inside. I’d buy another one on the way home. I had my bag with me since I had been working in the fine summer sun.

We spoke on the phone a couple days later and laughed about the whole thing. She blamed most of it on the monthly gift, and we both got over ourselves. We never got back together, but the door isn’t completely closed either.

And I lived happily ever after… Until about Thirty Seconds Ago…