Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Supercilious in Seattle
Every day my friends and I would have to walk past the auto shop classrooms on our way to lunch. And every day the guys in the auto shop program would just happen to be hanging around in the hall when we walked by. Even though we protested the cat calls and comments, we loved it. There was one guy-I’ll call him Mike-and Mike would corner me every day and say “When are you going to go out with me?” And every day I’d say no. Now I could tell that Mike was really nice. He acted wolfish like his friends when they were in a group-but alone he seemed to be really sweet. The thing about Mike though—his face was horribly disfigured. I’d heard rumors about exploding firecrackers, or birth defects—but the fact remained that he looked as he looked, and in the shallowness of my youth I was embarrassed to be seen with him. In spite of this-I found myself agreeing to a date. I guess I figured he was never going to stop asking, and I felt sorry for him.
On the appointed Saturday night he picked me up and we headed first to a movie. I mentally took stock of the situation. The walk to his car from my front door: safe. No one was likely to be around. The car ride: safe. Not much chance of any one really seeing him as we sped towards the theater. If we were lucky-we could make it quickly into the theater without too much notice, and once the movie stated: safe. We would be concealed by the darkness. It was the dinner part of the evening I dreaded. There would be plenty of people around…and plenty of stares, and pointing, and whispering…
If Mike was trying to impress me-he did a good job. We were to dine that night at the top of the Space Needle! I should have been really excited. I tried to enjoy my dinner as best I could, but all the while I was self conscious because of the spectacle I assumed we were making, and I just wanted to go home. I excused myself to make a trip to the restroom before the hour drive ahead of us. And I forgot one small detail of the Space Needle’s restaurant—that the tables—arranged in a circular configuration are elevated one step up from the rest of the floor where the aisles are located. Instead of stepping down-I stepped into the air and came down hard on my wobbly high heels. Losing my balance I lurched for our table to keep myself upright, and came perilously close to pulling it over. Luckily, Mike had quick reflexes and prevented total disaster from happening.
I didn’t appreciate the irony at the time. I was so thoroughly humiliated that the rest of the evening was pretty much a blur of downcast eyes (mine) and forced conversation. But now I can see that no one probably noticed us much at all that night-- until that fateful moment-and that I drew more attention to us than Mike and his precious face did. To his credit-I think he had a good time. He’d planned a nice evening, and was a perfect gentleman.
And thank goodness he never saw where the real ugliness was—the worst possible kind of ugliness-- in my heart.
This was written based on the Mama Kat’s writer’s workshop prompt to describe a time when I fell.