The last date with the ex-con.

This time we are meeting at a coffee shop in the Richmond district. The second most likely place I won’t run into someone I know is the Richmond. Seeing as I never really leave the Mission and when I do it’s usually to go downtown for work, I have no idea how long it will take me to get there, I just know it’s far and I feel like I’m in another state by the time the bus lets me off. The weather is different, there are uniform, tidy looking houses, no garbage on the street, no shotguns going off, it’s kind of nice. I guess he thought I was lost because he is walking towards me and tells me he thought he should look for me 'just in case'. It’s still daylight out. I can see his face very well. I can see all of the things I didn’t notice in the dark, drunken haze of Vesuvio’s. But most important, I can see the crazy in his eye. We sit and he drinks espresso while I sip on a beer. Our conversation is strained, he wanted to sit next to me at the table, but even when I’m in a relationship I’m against that. First of all it hurts my neck, second it’s just sort of stupid. If I want to be that close to you chances are I’m in a relationship with you, and if I’m in a relationship with you I probably don’t need to be that close to you all the time, like when we’re drinking coffee at a café. He looks kind of hurt when I ask him to sit across from instead of up against me. He tries holding my hand across the table; he tries playing with my fingers and tells me that my chipping nail polish is really cute. He’s making me feel uncomfortable. I am not attracted to him. I wish I hadn’t kissed him, something happened and he thinks I am really excited to be in his company, I am not. Throughout the date he asks what I am doing the next night and the night after that and next Thursday, I remind him that he is going out of town and say that I just need to be mellow the next few nights, or six. He looks hurt again. I keep seeing busses go by and I wonder how the fuck I am going to get home. I start thinking how long it will take. It looks cold outside; I want to be home, or on my way there. I mention something about taking the bus and leaving soon and he says no problem, he can drive me. I’m sort of a car slut. Even if I dislike you and can’t stand your company, if you offer me a ride somewhere I will take it. It’s been two years since I’ve had a car in this city and although I pride myself on being car-less now, I’ll take as many fucking rides as I can. He also offers to buy me another beer, weakness number two. I drink this one faster, hoping it will help the conversation a little, it doesn’t. I learn that his last relationship was with his mom’s boyfriend’s daughter, “So you were dating you’re step sister?” I ask, hoping he is both offended by the question and realizes how wrong it is. “Well, they’re not married yet.” Yet. He also tells me that his sister, I mean ex-girlfriend’s Dad thought he was Jesus. He explained how he was insane, and hallucinated God speaking to him and part of the reason he started dating his ex was to protect her from her dad, his mom’s boyfriend. I tell him I want to go home. We walk a couple of blocks towards his car, turn, walk down a street and then he stops, looks around and gets this really weird expression on his face. “What?” I ask, a little scared, it’s dark now, and I’m on foreign ground.
“My car isn't here.”
“Do you think it got towed?”
“No, I think I parked somewhere else.”
The first thing I think is that he is fucking with me, we’re walking all these weird side streets and he is hoping that I get disoriented and lost and that’s when he’ll kill me. But the boy is just a fucking stoner. We circle an eight block radius for about thirty minutes, I’ve seen about twenty busses go by in this time and I think about just running onto the next one and not even saying good-bye. “Maybe I should just jump on a bus.” I suggest. He starts hitting his head with his palm and moaning about how stupid he is and how he can’t believe it and how he’ll feel so bad if I take a bus. He says he feels like we’ll find his car soon. We walk down the main street and at every corner he tells me to wait, and then he runs down each street looking for his car. Sweat is just pouring off his forehead at this point, and he looks really confused. After about ten minutes of this he finds his car. We are not talking at this point. I am cold and annoyed and really fucking pissed I came all the way out to the Richmond for this. His car is old, kind of beat up, lots of dead plants and hippy shit on the dashboard, but what really stands out is the giant crater on the hood, “What happened here?” I ask, motioning to the dent, it looked like a boulder had fallen on his car.
“Oh that’s from when I hit that girl.”
Before I even have time to react he is pointing to a spot on the trunk, an equally large dent, “And this is where her body flew over the car and hit my trunk.”
I am not making this up. My first question is if she is still alive and he explains how it was a young high school girl who ran across the street without looking. His voice is a little too detached, a little too casual when he tells me, “Oh yeah, she lived, her hips are fucked up for good now, though.”
Now, if you hit a person leaving two huge dents on your car, and you are on a second date with someone you don’t know, but kind of like and want to see again, wouldn’t you just say you were in a real bad accident? I would. Well, I would probably get the dents out of my car so I wasn’t reminded of the time I almost killed someone every time I drove. But that’s just me. For some reason, with this knowledge, with the crazy in his eye and the dents in his car, for some reason, I still get in the car. I told you I’m a slut for free rides home. He is a bad driver and I am grateful when I start to see familiar landscape. He tells me how he really wants to see me soon and how much fun he had and I turn my face when he tries to kiss me goodbye. The next day he calls and tells me the screen on his phone is bashed in and he can’t read my texts if I’ve been sending them, he sounds really worried and assures me that he is right next to his phone and will answer it as soon as I call. I know it’s bad karma, I hate games and rude people and despite how mean I may seem in the re-telling of this date, I really do think it’s important to be nice to everyone. But I ignore his calls and e-mails. I think that eventually they will stop, and they do. And my fingers are crossed that I will never look over and see him at a stop sign while I am crossing the street.


Tim said...

You sure can capture crazy when you write!

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