Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Man

The year was 1976. I had just finished my freshman year of college and I was home for the summer. I was working at a local nursing home as a dietary aide. I had had more than my share of negative experiences with the opposite sex during the past year so the nursing home job seemed like it might allow me a chance to relax and not worry about relationships.

I was rather surprised to find out that a number of young men worked at the nursing home, holding down a number of positions. There were the dishwashers, the security guards, painters and maintenance men. One maintenance man in particular caught my eye but I tried to focus on my job and not be distracted. But I checked him out whenever I thought he wasn't looking.

The summer progressed. I spent lots of time hanging out with my friends, going to the beach on days off and going out dancing at night. I became friendly with some of the nursing home staff and some harmless flirtation had begun between the maintenance man and myself. I was still determined to just have a fun summer - no strings attached.

A group of my girlfriends and I decided to take a mini-road trip down to the Cape to visit a friend. We piled into my Plymouth Fury III, turned up the radio, and headed down the highway. We spent the day laying on the beach, slathering on the baby oil, baking in the sun. Ah, those lazy, hazy days of summer.

Later that evening we got all dolled up and headed for the local club for a night of dancing. We found a table, settled in and looked for potential dancing partners. At first glance it didn't look too promising. We were actually thinking of leaving when a new player entered the game. He entered the bar with confidence. He was the best looking male in the place and he knew it. Arrogance and cocky are qualities I despise and this guy's veins were overflowing with both. He strolled out onto the dance floor and pointed at our table. I elbowed my friend, Karen, and told her he wanted to dance with her. She was the cute, perky one in the group. She started to get up but he came over to the table and pointed at me. What the heck. My friends pushed me toward him. I must be honest and say that not only was I surprised but also somewhat pleased. This good looking , muscular hunk chose me over every other girl in the place. My confidence could use a little boost so I agreed to dance with him. And dance we did - all night long. After the last dance we exchanged phone numbers and I floated home. I was the envy of all of my friends - something I had never experienced before.

I returned home the next day. Imagine my surprise when I arrived home and my mom told me that the nursing home maintenance man had called. Hmm...interesting. Later that night my dancing partner called. My summer began to heat up.

Life at the nursing home was getting interesting. The maintenance man definitely had my attention. He was shy and a gentleman. He was tall and lanky, and I was very much attracted to him. I enjoyed watching him work.

My dancing partner continued to call. I will call him Alex because that's his name. He was extremely confident and bold. His phone conversations caused me to blush. I was curious as to why he was still calling me. I had never dealt with a guy like this before.

My family was leaving for a week's vacation to Maine. I was not looking forward to it since the cottage was located on a quiet, secluded beach with little for a 19 year old to do. Alex convinced me that he would brighten up my vacation so I should convince my parents to let me bring him along. My maintenance friend was working over forty hours a week since he had to pay rent to live in his dad's basement and pay his way through college. He didn't have time to take a vacation.

After much talking and arguing, mom and dad allowed Alex to come up for a couple of days. He convinced a friend to drive him to Maine. I remember being shy when I saw him -the first time since our night of dancing. Was this the same guy? I think the dim lights of the club had tricked me or maybe it was the Colt 45's I had been drinking. The minute he opened his mouth I knew it was the same guy. I wondered what my maintenance man was doing? As I drove Alex to our camp I learned that his favorite words were "I" and "me". My stomach started to churn.

I knew that my parent's first impressions of him were less than favorable when dad offered him a snack. Alex politely accepted. My mom quietly looked on as he nibbled the cracker. I held my breath as I watched him devour one of my dog's snacks. Yep. Mom and Dad had fed him a dog cracker. Guess I should have stopped him. My maintenance man would probably be taking his afternoon break right about now.

Alex and I headed to the movies. I paid for us to get in which was only fair since the women lib's movement was in full swing. No man had to pay my way. Alex then ordered a large popcorn and soda. I did the same and stood to the side while Alex went to pay. Why was he motioning for me to come over there? Alex had forgotten his wallet. Of course.

The little hairs on the back of my neck were standing up straight through the whole movie. Red flags were flying high. Listen to your gut.

I was quiet as we left the movie theater. Alex threw his arm around me and whispered sweet nothings in my ear. I decided to not pay attention to the little hairs, red flags or my gut. I looked into Alex's eyes and shook off the bad feelings which ran up and down my spine.

We drove to a secluded beach. Yes, I was naive. We started smooching and then things heated up. I pushed Alex away and asked him to stop. He ignored me. I think I heard him murmur "I" and "me". I shoved him away hard. I said 'NO' and I meant it. Did I mention that I do have a temper and I can be feisty. Alex sat up and screamed at me and thirty years later I remember his words. "What's your problem? Do you know how many women are dying to sleep with me?" I started laughing. It was at that point that Alex shoved me out of the car. My car! Yep, Alex shoved me out of my car, shut the door and drove away. I was left standing on the beach, alone but safer than I had been five minutes earlier. I started to walk, trying to comprehend what had just happened to me. I longed to see my maintenance man.

Alex came back after about fifteen minutes. He had calmed down. I told him to get out of my car. I got behind the steering wheel and tried to figure out what to do. Alex convinced me to give him a ride back to the camp. I agreed but I told him that he was to leave early the next morning. Looking back, I realize how foolish it was to have let him back into my car and I was very fortunate to have arrived back to our camp safely. Thank you to my guardian angel.

After a sleepless night I woke Alex early the next morning. I wanted him gone before my parents woke up. I couldn't hide the way I was feeling from my parents. I worked hard to hold back my tears. What if my maintenance man was tired of waiting for me? I knew there was a little twerp nurse's aide who also had her eyes on him. I felt nauseous.

We started down I95 in Maine. I drove about fifteen minutes and pulled over on the highway. "Why are you pulling over?" Alex asked.
"So you can get out," I replied calmly.
"Are you crazy? How do you think I am going to get back home to the Cape?"

I stared at him with a crazed look in my eyes. "Yeah, I am crazy. I was crazy to ever have danced with you. I was crazy to ever have talked with you. I was crazy to ever have had anything to do with you. And Alex, you shouldn't have any trouble getting a ride home. Do you know how many women are just dying to be with you, dying to give you a ride? Now get out of my car." And he did.

I then headed south on I95 as fast as I could to my maintenance man.


Flower said...

That was quite a life changing time you had!! Good thing you were strong..in many ways!!
My poppies were so amazing but they won't last until the wedding and the spot they were in is important to the wedding...:) The wedding is for a family member...we would only do this for a very special person!! The new garden will be really wonderful..so come back and see what we are doing. I'll wait for the new roots to take hold before posting about it.

Marg said...

Isn't that fun remembering those stories. That's a good one. So who did you finally end up with?
I'm dying to know.
I can tell that you are feisty but I think most women have that tendency.
I think it's good.

Pam said...

I love the paragraph where the dim lights and colt 45 blurred your vision - at that age I refused to wear my glasses while out in clubs - wow did I have my share of surprises when I put them on. Thank god for that maintenance man - we all love him.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...