There was a girl back in Alabama who would have married me if I asked. In a heartbeat.
That's what you do down there. You get married out of high school, or if you're studious, while you're in College. You meet someone, you settle down, and then... well, you're settled. I know so many people who just didn't take the time to think about it. I know people who were divorced before 25. I don't mean everybody got married or even got married "too" early, just enough that as I approach 30 and have no plans to get married, most of the people I knew, especially in my family, see me as a black sheep.
I dated this girl for about four years, starting when I was 21. I think the question of marriage first came up after one. Well, she started dancing around it even earlier but I either didn't notice or played it off. And I liked her just fine, but I think I equated marriage with settling down and basically becoming dead, and I didn't feel like I had lived yet. From there, it was a matter of waffling, waiting to see if my feelings changed, stringing her along while I collected reasons not to marry her. Look, I didn't say I was a world class human being. I had shit to figure out. I still do.
I tend to think she never got over me, but she hopefully has. I do know she's been seeing someone, and maybe they're married by now. I haven't checked. I'm not the sort of person who stays Facebook friends after a breakup, you know?
Since then, I've dated here and there, hooked up, pined, and done just about everything except had an actual loving relationship. Now and then, I feel regret for not marrying her, but the smallest part of me pipes up and reminds me I wasn't in a place to do that. It was the smart play. Not the nice one, but the smart one. Sometimes you've got to be ruthless in life.
Ouch, I am not making myself look good here. So let's talk about the reason for this flashback. The girl I saw - pardon me, the woman.
I saw her outside a cafe, when I was stopping by for a bit of hangover cure.
She seemed like a classic East Coast intellectual, which, let's face it, really does something for me or else I probably wouldn't have come here. Short, unevenly cut dark hair, glasses, the faintest sight of tattoo under her forearm - not a white trash biker chick tattoo, but a "I'm really finding myself in college" phase tattoo. Something written in script, but I couldn't read it. She was reading a really thick novel.
There was only two tables outside. I was planning on taking a walk while I sipped my coffee, but after she caught my eye I decided to take the other one. I sat and sipped and stared off in deep thought in every direction except hers, trying to appear interested in my surroundings instead of her. I was wearing sunglasses, though, so hopefully she didn't notice me shifting my glance over to her every so often. Although I thought I saw her glance back at least once.
Hopefully tomorrow she'll be back. And hopefully I'll get the balls to actually talk to her. I have no idea what about. Maybe she likes guys with McConnaughey accents. He's from Texas, but I'm betting folks up here don't see much of a difference.
Oh, and who do I speak to about the stranger's luggage that was left in my room? Is there just no lost and found? Am I supposed to babysit it? How... trusting.