I watched him as he struggled to parallel park the car, always a challenge on a San Francisco hill. I was nervous. This was the culmination of seven weeks of communication complicated by a separation of 3,000 miles. This was real life. The last moments of anticipation: a straightening of wheels, a gear shift, a door open, and I would finally be faced to face with the boy I hadn’t seen since he was the hot lead singer of a band and I was the artsy weird girl in glasses. My hands were sweaty, and not just because I’d been sitting in the California sun for the past hour. Can you enjoy talking to someone on the phone but hate them in person? What if he still has cooties?
The lock on the car door clicked and he stepped out. “New York Cliché,” he said, grinning. No one can say your name the way someone you went to grade school with can; someone who knew you before really understanding what last names were. The friendliness lacking from our last encounter was now present by tenfold. He grabbed me and pulled me in for a hug. As my Elementary School Nemesis, if we’d ever touched before it was with malice: a hair-pull, a pinch. We’d certainly never hugged. Turns out he gives good hugs. I smiled, enjoying the feeling of his strong, I-live-on-a-ship arms. There was no question: he’d outgrown cooties.
In kindergarten we all drew pictures of what we wanted to be when we grew up. I drew a tightrope walker (a trip to the circus left me infatuated with the shiny pink costumes of the performers). I have no idea what Nemesis drew, probably an astronaut or cowboy. Does anyone follow through on their kindergarten dreams? By fifth grade my answer had changed. I remember clearly filling out a 5th grade graduation questionnaire: What do you want to when you grow up? I carefully wrote “Actor” on the line provided. Again, I don’t recall what Nemesis wrote, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he filled the blank with “Writer”. If that is the case, we’re both pursuing our ten year-old dreams. My fill-in-the-blank remains the same. His fill-in-the-blank is now considerably more specific. He’s a communications specialist. That means he’s employed by the United States Navy. That means my Elementary School Nemesis grew up to be a sailor boy.
You all know how us ladies feel about sailors. Just walk through Times Square during Fleet Week and watch how many female heads turn.
To continue and read the story of the actual date click here: A Date with My Elementary School Nemesis: Running Uphill