Archive for May 5th, 2011

5th May
2011
written by amber

Jonah Loves Jessie

I met a girl today. It happened because my buddies forced me to go with them to a bar.

“Jonah, it’s time to get back to doing the things you used to like doing,” Matt said. Well, aside from the obvious things I used to like doing that I can’t do anymore, like walking, going to a bar isn’t high on my list. Maybe I’m afraid that if I were to start drinking, I might never stop. But let’s not go there…

So we went to the bar. Not the one we hung out at two years ago, which is noisy and rank and potentially dangerous for someone who can’t run away like I had to do on more than one occasion, but a quieter – a more adult – bar. Perhaps you’d call it a pub. There were dart boards, but no one was playing darts. A few people were playing pool. Some pretty good canned blues over the music system. Designer beer at twice or three times the price we used to pay.

Matt and Andy and Luc were known there, the waitress and some girls at a pool table greeted them, and when they were finished their game, the girls came over to the table in the corner where I’d parked myself discreetly. One girl, Jessie, really made me sit up and take notice. She’s the kind I find attractive, a natural beauty. Oh, she probably was wearing make-up but it wasn’t garish, and her hair is a pretty soft brown colour with that tousled look, nothing contrived. And her smile and laugh were real. Jessie.

My friends and her friends went to play a game of pool, and we got to talking and found out we have many things in common. We both like the blues and Thai food and oddball independent films, we love the outdoors. She’s into hiking.  I would be if I could, but I stayed quiet about that, not sure if she’d noticed that I wasn’t sitting in a real chair, not sure how she’d react. I told her I played football in high school. We compared notes and discovered that we both went to the same high school.

I had to confess that I didn’t remember her.

“I was really shy then,” she told me. “I came to school, kept my head down, hurried from class to class and went home to do my homework. No clubs, no sports.”

She said she didn’t recall me either, so I tried to jog her memory. I wanted her to have an image of me as a whole person before she discovered I’d never stand up from behind that table.

“I was on the debating club. And I ran for class president in Grade 12, but Ruth Coombs kicked my butt.”

She shook her head.

I pointed at my buddies, still at the pool table with her friends. “Matt and I and Luc, we hung out together all the time. People called us the Wildebeests. We got into all sorts of hell. Matt’s mother says it’s a wonder any of us made it to adulthood unscathed and…”

My words trailed away, partly because I realized I wasn’t exactly ‘unscathed’ but mostly because the way the expression on her face had changed. She was avoiding my eyes, looking toward the floor, toward my wheels.

“Sorry, I don’t remember you,” she murmured, then said she had to go. Gracefully, she stood and walked over to her friends, making some excuse to them before practically fleeing out the door.

She walks with a bounce in her step, as if it’s the easiest thing on earth, as if she could do it forever. I absolutely understand that she wouldn’t want anything to do with a guy like me.

But I absolutely am going to do my damnedest to make her change her mind.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted by Amber every day on her website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012.  Stories must be a minimum of 200 words.  Please support Amber by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

Today I wrote this story at a local coffeeshop, the Old Grind.  This is the first in a series of linked stories.  Watch for more about Jonah and Jessie.