It’s the night before high school graduation and I’m at home. It’s almost midnight and my best friend and I are in my kitchen staring out the window, waiting for my uncle to pull up. He had a late flight in and was due any minute. Rosy, my lovingly named red VW Bug, is parked out front. She’s the love of my life at the time, and the streetlight is showing her beauty perfectly. I look down at the sink for a few minutes and am startled at Kaylene’s outburst. “There are people walking down the middle of the street!” she exclaims.
I look up without a word and there are four figures walking slowly. Normally, not such a weird deal. However, I live on an obscure street, in a small town, in the middle of nowhere Idaho; no one ever walks down my street in the middle of the night, except for Chester Molester Steve. Kaylene is about to come out of her skin with excitement and says, “I’m going to go see what they’re doing.” Par for the course for her; always in everyone’s business and always has to be the center of it.
I don’t go outside right away. While the idea of new strangers is enticing, I’m really not that concerned with what they’re doing and where they might be going. Kaylene is waving frantically at me to come out, so I give up and mosey out. Ends up being four guys who were just walking back home after getting a drink at the gas station that happens to be less than a block from my house. Strategically, my street was the most direct route from point A to point B.
Kaylene has effectively been asking them shotgun questions no doubt for roughly ten minutes thus far, most of which I have tuned out. Not only was I more interested in body language versus actual conversation initially, but I had always learned to be habitually quiet while out with Kaylene. Even if I had something I wanted to say, finding a moment, and not having it instantly discounted because it didn’t come her mouth, was a challenge I’ve never been quick to accept.
Sometime during the conversation, there had apparently been a mention of us all going to The Diner; no special name needed because there was only one. The Diner was a weekly hangout for never-ending coffee and the occasional small meal; we were broke and young of course so French fries and coffee were not such an outlandish pairing. They also ran 24 hours, perfect for hangovers and pointless conversations till four in the morning.
We all managed to pile into Rosy and drove to Kaylene’s to get her car. Two of the guys were dropped off and four of us remained; until Kaylene’s habitual addition of more people. Our group arrived at The Diner and all sat down at a few tables that we had pushed together. Kaylene did her normal introductions and I was still in la-la land, trying to sum up the two strangers that remained.
A point has to be made that my relationship with Kaylene was one of tolerance. I was pretty enough to be in her close group of friends, but not too pretty as to take away any spotlight. All guys we ever met, undoubtedly ended up attracted to her over me and she was not afraid to rub it in. I had yet to see a man come into contact with the two of us and reject her, so what was about to happen was one for the record books; well my journal at least.
Conversation was going on as it always had, her talking about her days and new movies she’s watched or the party she was last at. I make eye contact for a brief moment with Marty, one of newbies, and the look on his face is one I will never forget. It was a “Is this chick for fucking real?” kind of look. I was elated, someone saw what I saw. I was no longer the only one at the table who thought that Kaylene was the most egotistical, soul sucking, dick-teasing prude they had ever met in their life. Brian, the second stranger, could barely keep the drool from his chin as he listened to her every word. Can’t win them all. I got one though, and one was all I needed.