True Story© Love at First Sight

True Story©…

                Do y’all believe in love at first sight?
I used to.
Like with about any situation one finds themselves soured on, my story begins with me in an unhealthy set of circumstances that didn’t end pretty and birthed a lack of trust in the process that would happen to endure through to the remainder of my adulthood.
I might be so inclined to be angry at what happened, but I am largely to blame for it and I learned a lesson from it, so there is not a lot for me to be angered about…  I’m alive to tell the story, so at least there’s that.
Enough of the setup, let’s talk about what happened…

Back when I first got home from Vietnam, before I found myself in Guantanamo later in life, I happened to see this young lady waiting for the GTA one day on my way to work.
Wait, I have something else to explain…  The way my situation at the time was, I had a license but not a car yet so I caught the bus to work and either got a ride or a car dropped off to me to get home from work.  So I am on the bus stop and I see the girl drive by me, pretty face and all.  She looks at me and smiles, so I wave and smile back to have her smile harder.  That evening, my brother brought the car to the mall, gave me the key and went on about his merry way for the evening.  I stopped at the store just a half-block from the bus stop (three blocks itself from the house) and guess who I saw?  That’s right, the same girl from the morning.  She had a nice pretty caramel complexion, dark brown hair and couldn’t have been a millimeter taller than 5’3”.  I tried to speak, but I was dumbstruck.  I couldn’t muster more than a “hi” and a goofy-fuck smile.  She flashed the same brilliant smile from the morning and returned my “hi.”  I bought my beer from the clerk who never bothered to confirm that I was only 19, got in the car and went home.

This SAME dance repeated itself for THREE WEEKS until I noticed one off day her car parked in front of some apartments two more blocks past the store…  Nothing to this fact other than now I know where she lives.  Never asked her name or age, approached to know if she has a dude and I should back off, if she even likes men or anything else really to gauge whether or not I even had a chance with this girl.
… and THAT was the problem…  I needed not perform ANY of these check-downs before arriving at the station I had arrived to at that point.  She saw me riding the city bus in the mornings and driving home in the evenings, smiled and spoke at me regularly and was not (outwardly) mean to me in any way.  She was beautiful, apparently gainfully employed to be leaving about the same times daily and had a place of her own (so it seemed).  She was everything my underexperienced brain could have WANTED at the moment.  I was MADLY in love.

Still not ACTUALLY speaking to her, I started driving past her apartment to happen to catch her eye as she might be coming or going.  This was mostly ineffective as I didn’t know her to even know her name, let alone have an inkling of what her schedule might be like.  If I saw her, I waved and smiled and she would return the same.  Totally innocent on the outside, sure…  In my head, however, this solidified our situation and justified my having been MADLY in love with her ever since that first time she saw me standing on that bus stop on Julian street.

A short while later, I got a little car and I was no longer on that bus stop five times a week, just a couple times a month when that piece of shit car broke and I had to get to work while it was in the shop…  I still saw her in the evenings at the store, still never had a conversation with her or even gleaned her name.  I mean, I TRIED to script what I would say when I see her in the evenings but when the rehearsal was over and it was time for the show, shyness shit on me every time.
Then my stupid luck comes in…
Mid 1999 (around my birthday or so?), I first hatched my plans to grow my dreadlocks, I swore off haircuts and the beard I am now basically known finished filling in.  In that in-between period, I went to this lady named Pamela in a salon to do my cornrows and she would come up with a different design every Tuesday morning.  I would then walk to my barber Deon and she would trim my beard to match the design.
[Phlip note: looking back on this at 37, this was some SILLY shit that was apparently cool when I was 19/20]
One Wednesday after work, I am in the store with my customary two 22s in hand, she is there buying a Mountain Dew.  She looks at my hair and beard, grins slowly and says “I like that,” we finish our purchases and go outside to talk.  Ten minutes pass and ALL I have allowed myself to be steered into conversation about were the two ladies responsible for my hair, STILL only learning that this woman I have been in some kind of relationship with for like 8 months now is named Tiffany.  Still no details, no phone number, NOTHING.  I had choked again.  Knowing I would see her again soon, I let it be and went home.

That weekend, me and the team are planning to go out after the last of us (me) got off of work and I skipped the store to rush home to shower and change.  I grab two of the homies on the way to meet everyone else.  We hit a couple of our favorite spots and have the normal blast we always do and then called it a night about 1:30ish.  I drop my friends off and think “well shit, it is only 1:50, I can still grab a beer while I am on the way home.
I pull to the store and see Tiffany’s car…  With a dude in the front seat...
“what in the actual fuck is this and who is this nigroe in my woman’s car?” is the first thought to my mind and before I can properly process and dismiss my NEXT thought, I am out of my driver’s seat and dragging this man from the seat and beating on him with one of the squeegees they leave between the gas pumps.  Naturally, there is dirty-ass window cleaner water all over the place.  I don’t know if someone called the cops or if it was my lucky day, but I got to spend the night on Sycamore Street for the assault charge.

Needless to say, my “girlfriend” started to dodge me, I stopped seeing her at the store after work most days.  If I was passing by her apartment (for now-valid reasons), she would look the other way.  In court, I would learn that it was her older brother I had beaten up who had stopped to visit with her on his way home from reserve duty.  Thank God he was a good enough person to leave me to my own stupidity and didn’t press charges and I was only required to pay a small fine.

So yeah…  My experience with love at first sight is another in the long line of unhealthy things that have manifest themselves into my life that I live my day-to-day forcing out.


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