I asked Richard over for dinner because he previously brought me a nice birthday present and because he had been a steady friend through the years. At one time he had been my chiropractor in Santa Fe. So, I’d known him for a long time.
He arrived on time and brought a nice bottle of wine for my fresh tomato/basil spaghetti dinner. He wore his golf clothes and a baseball cap, his usual attire. His shaded eyeglasses always made me feel he was hiding something. He wasn’t a tall man, perhaps a tad bit shorter than I and had the smallest hands I’ve ever seen on a man. He was physically fit because of the golf and hiking almost daily, but a small man, nevertheless.
We sat on my small patio and drank a glass of the wine, chatting about our lives and how they had changed over the years.
Richard asked to see my newest paintings and we went inside to my studio so I could show him. As I was talking about my new project and leaning over one of the paintings, he leaned over as well and tried to kiss me. I brushed by him and thought perhaps I’d just imagined it. Surely he hadn’t done that! We were buddies! I wasn’t the least bit attracted to him in that way and I’d thought he’d always known that!
As I rounded the corner of my studio, he once again tried to kiss me and I ducked and missed his aim. I hurriedly moved on to my kitchen, trying to focus on the meal, slightly shaken. Chatting aimlessly, I filled our plates with the cold dish and showed him to the living room to eat. We sat on the sofa, napkins on our lap, as I have no dining room table. The small talk was overwhelming at that point. I dodged every amorous remark wanting this old friend to eat his dinner and go home as quickly as possible.
He drank another glass of wine and began talking about his long drive home and how tired he was. I assured him he was not going to be staying the night with me!
He inched down my sofa to almost where I was sitting and raised his hands up and tousled my hair, wildly. I was completely taken aback.
“You need to relax and let go,” he said. I must have looked so hilarious with my hair in a mess and my shock written all over my face.
“And your frown mark” he laughed as he pushed his finger between my brows as if to iron the frown mark flat that I’ve had between my eyes for as long as I can remember. I was horrified and speechless with his finger in the middle of my face, hair awry and he inching ever so close.
“And your body language”, he practically screamed, “What is that about??”
I was literally in a fetal position sitting up; I couldn’t have been more cowered.
“I think it is telling you to GO HOME!” I screamed, startling him. “What in the hell do you think you are doing? I regained my composure and leapt to the front door, hurriedly opening the way out, pointing for him to leave!
He murmured something about not meaning any disrespect and “see ya later” type of thing and backed out apologetically.
I walked back inside, triple bolted my front door, went to the bathroom mirror and saw a ridiculous old woman, shaken and silly with a spiked, messy hairdo and a red, indented spot between my eyebrows. I thought to myself, “Never again”.
A few days later, an old friend Patrick called to take me to dinner for a very belated birthday dinner he had promised me (when he could get together some money for the feast).
We worked together in the 70’s and 80’s in Santa Fe. I first met him in 1975. He and his wife lived in the same compound in Santa Fe that I had just moved to, after my divorce. He was a nice guy and I really liked his wife.
In the interim of 25 years, he and his wife divorced, he lost his daughter in a terrible accident, he lived with one insane woman after another and I continued to be his friend though many of our friends quit him and his crazy ways. He got married again, had a child or two and disappeared.
I found him on FaceBook and I was thrilled to hook up with this old friend. He came to my house about 6 months ago and was a different person; very quiet, very subdued and no longer the person I remembered. He told me he’d lost everything in the recession, having then been a building contractor. He had several spec houses that never sold and he lost it all. He looked so tired and didn’t seem to have much fight left in him. He was selling cars at that point and was miserable. He no longer drank and was completely sober.
I asked him to my birthday party and he declined (and I figured he would) but promised a birthday dinner in the near future.
This particular evening he came to pick me up to take me for pizza for my late birthday dinner. He popped out of his car in a flash wearing an insanely red silk shirt, his hair spiked and his arms covered in bracelets. He reeked of cheap cologne and I told him I thought he had enough on to kill someone. I knew when he hugged me I’d smell like him the rest of the evening and I did, immediately.
Right away he asked where my bathroom was which was peculiar because he’d just come from his home, not far away. I waited for him to come out and I heard nothing inside the bathroom, except the running water in the sink.
He emerged talking a mile a minute and so damn frenetic I thought I would go crazy from his endless chatter. He never heard one word I said, never looked at my house, just ushered me to the door to go to the pizza place, talking a mile a minute.
Within five seconds of fastening my seatbelt, his cell phone rang. I groaned, already perceiving what was going to be, non-stop talking to anyone but me. I was thankful that the pizza place was very close by because I thought maybe he’d put the cell phone away once we got there.
When we entered the establishment, he immediately began asking the waiter and the dishwasher and those in line with us if they’d like to buy a car. He went on and on until we’d ordered and his phone rang again. I complained and he said, “It’s SALES baby, that what happens and you need to get used to it”. I suggested that I “wasn’t born yesterday” and that he could at least turn off his damn phone long enough for us to eat a pizza!
He gestured with a wide swoop, knocking over my new glass of wine (that I caught in flight and managed to save at least half of it.) The wine spilled all over the table and traveled toward me as a fat little pimpled waitress with Clark Kent glasses came up to the table with our two plates, looking for a place that the wine hadn’t saturated (and the wine was traveling to the edge of the table by this time). I jumped up from my seat and asked her to “PLEASE, clean up the spill and then put the damn plates down!”
Meanwhile Patrick said to her, “It’s okay, you da bomb, you da bomb!” and I looked helplessly at him, as if he’d lost his mind and kept an eye on the waitress who was glaring at me as if she intended to kill me right then and there. She left his plate on the table and took my plate with her as she purposefully walked at a snail’s pace to the sink, set my plate down and glared even more at me as she wrung out a wet rag, taking her sweet-Jezus time.
I never took my eyes off her, believing she would spit on my pizza if I did. She ambled back to the table with a dripping wet rag that did not mop up anything. I had to use my table napkin and Patrick’s as well as she stood there, stupid and angry, holding my plate.
I grabbed my plate out of her hand, and sat back down. Patrick ordered me another glass of wine. She reached down and took my ½ glass of wine and started walking off. I stood up, grabbed my glass of wine and said, “where are you going with that?”
“You’re getting another glass of wine, aren’t you?’ she stupidly blurted out.
I was shocked out of my mind and Patrick’s phone was ringing and the people next to us were huddled, leaning forward to the center of their table, talking about us and the ugly waitress was staring at me.
I turned completely sideways in my chair and started eating my pizza after I chugged my ½ glass of wine, before the second glass arrived. Patrick noticed I was facing away from him and put his phone up and said, “So, are you dating these days?”
I kept eating and after a minute or so said, “Patrick, I want you to leave and I will walk home.”
“Fine, if that’s what you want! I don’t know why you are acting like this”, he said, and promptly left.
I drank my second glass of wine in silence, so very thankful to be alone, under the hateful gaze of my waitress.
I hobbled home the 7 blocks to my house in sandals not meant for walking anywhere except into a nice restaurant, which I did not encounter that evening. I dared anyone to come up to me and accost me. I would have killed them.