Frustration – Post Graduate

I awoke Sunday morning after tossing and turning all night.  I was reliving that awful scene in vivid color and stereo sound.  My inner voice kept laughing and taunting me with hindsight’s such as ‘you should have cut out when the third guy cut in’ and the like.  I guess what really burned my beans was that Molly seemed so willing to go along with the rest of them.  I had her pegged as a snooty social climber, but not willing to humiliate someone so badly.  ‘Just chalk it up to experience’ the voice mused, but I couldn’t let it go.

Throughout breakfast I plotted elaborate, highly detailed schemes for extracting revenge. As each one formed I would savor the satisfaction I would get from its implementation.  No matter how bizarre the scenario however I avoided anything that would hurt Molly.  I sensed that maybe she was being used just as much as I because I couldn’t get over the feeling that there were times last night that she actually seemed to enjoy my company.  With an exasperated grunt I pushed it all away mentally and faced the rest of the day.

My Sunday bowling league went okay, if you consider slamming three consecutive gutter balls ‘okay’.  I had a hard time concentrating but managed what would be called a good day’s score.  I kept expecting my buddies to start kidding me about my so-called ‘date’ but they never did.  Was it possible that they hadn’t heard yet?

One of the two Asshole Twins, Lloyd or Leonard, I couldn’t tell them apart, came over and slapped me on the back.  “How’s it going?” was all he said.

“As good as can be expected,” I answered warily.

Here it comes, I though.  Now it will get much, much worse for me.  However, he paused, punched me on the arm, pointed down the alley and walked away with a “keep it up” over his shoulder.  What the hell?  Maybe I should rename them to The Double-Entendre Twins – nah, too long.

After bowling broke up I was walking back home when Sheila and Big Bozo (who’s real name was Frank) approached with Simone in tow.  Simone smiled, showing a great many perfect teeth, while Frank asked if I wanted to grab a hamburger with them.  Now, I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box, but even I thought I knew when I was being conned.  Sheila just looked at me.

“Why would I do such a thing; especially with you guys?”

“Hey, come on man, it was just a joke.  Nobody thought Molly would actually do it,” said Frank.  “It was a dare.”

“She feels really bad about it now.  Come on Tom. Come with us.  She’ll be there,” added Sheila, meaning, I guess, Molly.

“Well, okay.  But if anything looks fishy, I’m outta there.”  When, my inner voice cried, ‘idiot, won’t you EVER learn?’  I mentally told it to shut up.

“Fair enough” said Sheila, and took my arm.

I fully expected to walk into the snack bar and have all the noise gradually fade away like a trite cowboy movie when the sheriff squeaks open the flappy doors, but that didn’t happen.  A couple of my friends noticed me, waved and then returned to their conversations.  We headed to the table with Molly, the other brother, and Slick (Artie).  Molly pulled out a chair next to her and motioned me to sit.

“I really hoped you would come,” she said, gazing into my eyes with all the sincerity she could muster. “That was a pretty mean thing I did and I apologize,” she added, leaning over and pecking me on the cheek.

Artie leaned towards me and further added in a low voice that he was pretty pissed off when Simone did that to him.  Aha!  Did this meant that my whole ordeal was just some prank?  A joke?  I guess now I was supposed to laugh and be big buddies with them.  I managed a rather brief smile and said, “Well, I was kinda at first.”

What a load of crap that was!  I had been plotting various ways to retaliate all morning and now I was supposed to shake it off?  Molly put her hand on my arm and I turned in her direction.  “Please, Tom, it would mean a lot to me if you weren’t mad at us.”

There was that sincerity in her eyes again so I just nodded and turned to the menu.  I considered just standing up and walking away without saying a word, but like it or not, I was still smitten with Molly.  No matter how angry I was, I just couldn’t blame her for doing something I’d done a couple of times personally when I was younger.  I could remember some of the hazing I’d done back in D.C. at Scout camp.  I hadn’t meant to hurt anyone, but I suppose I did actually.  I decided to forgive, but I personally wouldn’t forget.

“Okay, I can see my way clear to forget about it, but just to be clear I will not participate in doing anything like this to anyone else.  Right?”

They all nodded their agreement and we signaled to the waitress that we were ready to order.

Molly and I started out a bit slow but went on a number of dates over the next couple of months.  I took her to dinner downtown as many times as I could afford, which she enjoyed.  She was surprised the first time I spoke German to the waiter and asked me how well I spoke it.  I told her that except for some technical terminology I’d been told I spoke it like a native.  From then on, she would ask me to go with her, and sometimes her mom, to stores downtown to help buy stuff.  I got my first real introduction to a “women’s” store that way.  I didn’t have any idea until then what ‘getting ready for a date’ actually meant; other than my own experiences, that is.  No wonder it took so long to ‘unwrap’ a girl.

On one occasion, she and I went to a movie and spent the whole time in the back row making out.  This time there were no games, giggling, or running away.  She allowed me to unbutton her blouse and put my hands on her breasts.  When I began nuzzling her shoulder, she pulled my head down and guided my lips to the soft rise above her bra.  When I kissed it, she shivered all over.

That was pretty much the fullest extent of any petting we did.  She stuck to her principles and I either had to go along with them or just walk away.  I chose to stay because, as a person and not an object, she was nice to be with.  One by one, she divested herself of the ‘hangers-on’ and became more interested in group activities that the both of us enjoyed.  She and I joined the German-American Club downtown which opened the doors to diverse experiences such as plays and skits, cycling trips, river rafting, and one visit a North Sea beach.  We became, in every sense of the word, very good friends; but not lovers; although there was one time we both ended up in the same room in a Gasthaus.  But that’s another story.

Molly and I stayed together for around six months.  We went to movies, dances, the snack bar, and occasionally downtown to dinner.  The pace of our dating began to slow, falter, and then finally stopped.  I don’t think either one of us could actually point to a time where we decided that our interests were diverging.  We mutually decided to call off whatever romance we had.

We would smile and wave to each other when we crossed paths, but never dated again.  I felt a little hollow for a while, but bounced back when other interests took over.  I noticed a new face showing up near me.  It was attached to a girl named Virginia.

T.O.M.

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