Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Three

I was sixteen years old when I met Scott. I was in a stage of my life that involved watching Romeo and Juliet over and over again, and creating elaborate day dreams about making Leonardo diCaprio fall madly in love with me (screw Claire Danes, whom I love and hated at the same time). I was also sure that I would never find someone who would love me as passionately as those two star crossed lovers had loved each other. I was fat (really, I only weighed about 118 lbs), I had a big nose (unfortunately this was true), and I was flawed in countless other ways which would prevent any suitable man from wanting to ask me out, let alone die for me. I had never been on a date, and while I would have liked to believe this was due to my strict family environment and the fact that I was not hypothetically allowed to date, I knew that really it was because no one liked me, which was based on the fact that I had never been asked out before.
It was during this time that I worked after school and on the weekends in a restaurant called Kisor's Grill and Bakery . I loved this job because my best friend worked there also, and I put in close to 30 hours a week - impressive for a high school student. It was during a lunch break, between double shifts on a Saturday, that I was sitting alone at a booth in the back of the restaurant when Scott walked around the corner and asked if he could join me. He was wearing an employee shirt which signified he was a cook, although I had never seen him before . I must not have noticed him standing behind the line. He was short, after all. I also could tell he was older than me. When he asked to sit down (he too was on a break between shifts) I had to resist the urge to look around behind me, to see whom he had been speaking to. I knew I was the only person around, but cute older men had not made it a point to sit with me in the past, at least not voluntarily.
Somehow despite my shock I was able to indicate in the affirmative, and he sat down across from me as my lunch arrived at the table. Horrified, I realized that my choice of a messy BBC bacon cheeseburger might send him running for the hills. Oh god, was the burger good (I knew because I ate them all the time) but they were not a prim and proper, flirt over lunch sort of food. I could see him eyeing my meal, obviously considering his options which (I was certain) included: A) make a snide remark about how fat girls shouldn't eat so much red meat and cheese; B) get up from his seat and walk away without any explanation whatsoever; C) politely watch me eat the monstrosity while trying not to laugh and end up choking on his own meal in the process.
He surprised me by looking up at the waitress, a friend of mine as it happened, and ordering a BBC bacon cheeseburger of his own.
With a sigh of relief, I began to eat and we talked about inane things between stretches of semi-uncomfortable silence and my own ridiculously loud chomping of French fries. It turned out that he had graduated from my high school, only it had been one year before I entered as a sophomore so we had never met before. He was 19, lived with his parents, and had just bought a new truck. I don't recall what else we talked about, but I do remember that I had a fleeting thought about how I would love to date this boy. Of course, he was too old and I was too...insert list of flaws here...but it was a nice thought. His food had arrived and he was mid-way through it when I realized I had to go back on the clock for my night shift. I got up from the booth with my styrofoam cup full of Dr. Pepper and proceeded to make an ass of myself, as I had previously avoided doing with the BBQ burger. Apparently, I thought the straw was somehow capable of holding the entire cup in the air - was some how magically able to defy gravity - because while holding the straw between my teeth, I let go of the cup to collect my dirty dishes, and the cup went tumbling over the table and into the booth beside Scott.
If I could have stuck myself dead at the instant, I would have done so without a second thought. I felt a hot flush spring to my face and neck, and I stood stunned by embarrassment. Scott glanced from me to the cup (thank god it had a plastic lid on it, or he would have been sitting in pop), then back to me - it was then that I realized I still stood with the straw sticking straight out of my teeth. Oh dear god.
Instead of laughing at me and calling me names, all of which would be true representations of my stupid and clumsy self, Scott merely picked up the cup and handed it to me. He told me to have a good night and that he would see me around.
I think I was stunned by his lack of harsh judgment as much as I had been frozen with embarrassment, and I spent the night trying not to walk anywhere near the kitchen where I might see him peering at me from behind the grill or the prep counter. I imagined him telling the story to Clint (a mean boy who cooked there as well, and who had been known to cause the toughest of seasoned waitresses to burst into tears over hitting the button for the wrong cheesecake topping on the POS and then having to ask for a new piece), and I could hear the two of them laughing and pointing at me each time I walked by. Oh, the shame, I thought.