Above NormalPENSONFIRE 2012
I wasn’t always picked last, but I was never picked first; not even when my brother or my best friends were doing the picking. My brother I can understand—but my best friends, the twins, well that always left a bad taste in my mouth. I would wait for a while and by a while I could mean days or months but I’d get back at them. Never anything big, nothing they could point to and say “you’re doing that because I didn’t pick you first in basketball last week, last month, last summer,’ no they wouldn’t say it because they wouldn’t think it, so I’d get away with it—get my revenge without them knowing it. Yes, there is satisfaction in revenge or retaliation even if the person doesn’t know.
What would I do—you ask? Small things, always small things—well not always small things but mostly. I’d conveniently forget to tell them that a group of us were going into the City and to meet at the train station at nine and then I’d call them at eight and ask if they were ready. That kind of stuff—nothing they could wrap up in a nice tight revenge theory.
I’ve been that way now my whole life and even though I’m fifty-two I haven’t changed—I’ve perfected it. Maybe that’s why my third marriage is on the rocks. I waited two years to get back at her for the engagement injustice. A normal person would have ended it right then and there but not me; it’s not that I don’t consider my self normal which I equate with average but I like to think of myself as above average—so then I’d be also above normal. Anyway, over a fine dinner at “our” restaurant and god knows what made this “our” restaurant, except that she liked to identify things that way (our song, our movie, our hotel, our position); I pulled a ring box from my pocket while we were waiting for our coffee and desert. I pulled the ring box out and opened it up with the ring facing my third wife to be and she looked at it and said nothing. Our coffee and flourless chocolate cake came (we always shared one dessert—our dessert) and still she said nothing. She said nothing so I said nothing. She sipped and I sipped. We sipped. We took turns making the cake disappear. Still she said nothing about the ring. Was she expecting me to say something? Wasn’t it obvious what I was saying—what I was asking? Of course it was—why make me say it twice? Couldn’t she tell how romantic this was?
The check came and I gave the waiter my credit card and still she said nothing—in fact neither of us had said anything since I took the ring box out. How could I have been so wrong about a person I was thinking? I signed the receipt, pushed back my chair and took the ring box and put it back in my jacket pocket. We weren’t kids so why was she playing this kid’s game?
We walked outside in silence and started for my car when she slipped her arm in mine and said, “Okay Romeo, try it again.” She stopped so I had to stop also. She wrapped her arms around me and gave me a hug and then stood on her toes (I’m much taller—above average in height) and planted one on my lips. It was a long, delicious, sexy kiss and I felt most of my anger subsiding. She started to giggle and I always thought that her giggle made her more beautiful and desirable than she already was. I lost the rest of my anger and she reached into my pocket and took out the ring box and handed it to me. I opened it up and looked at the two-carat marquis diamond glisten from the street light. I turned it towards her and held it out waiting for her answer. I waited and she looked at me as if she needed me to ask the question which I was asking once again by holding out he ring. Neither of us said anything and finally she turned and walked to the car and when I opened her door I saw tears glistening in her eyes and so I said, “So you want to get married or what?”
She nodded and cried some and giggled some and sobbed "yes" and at that moment I knew. I didn’t know how or when but then again I never did—but I knew this moment would come back to her as it did to those who picked me last.