The One Two Summers Ago
All I’m saying is that summer is overrated. I’ve felt that way all my life, even today, living with a water view in Flanders ( the place is not quite the North Fork, and not quite the South Fork; it’s sort of in the middle, so I consider myself a “MOFO” ). I’m stuck driving my work van right now, with no A/C because I broke my car – at 293,475 miles. I don’t do well with the heat and humidity, the Cidiots get on my nerves ( keep reading; I used to be one ), not a big fan of the sun ( I have two skin tones; pale and burned ), and never was much for the beach – sand gets in everything. I’m a winter baby; I like cold, snow, Christmas, iceskating; so maybe living on an island is not such a brilliant idea.
There is one really huge plus when it comes to the summer – there’s more daylight, though don’t get me started on Daylight Saving Time. I can get more done; my day has two distinct 12-hour halves. One starts before the sun is up, working for a Unbelieveably Predominant Shipping company ( hint hint ), and then after noon for the second half I’m self-employed as a carpenter/handyman. That’s how I met my good buddy – we’re both in the trade – and prior to his move to another state last year, we would regularly get together on either Friday or Saturday for a fire at his house on the North Fork. And that is where this summer love story begins.
Late one August he ( the names have been excluded to protect the innocent ) invited me over for a fire, but indicated that the family had already eaten. Didn’t matter to me, I told him, I would just swing by my favorite pizza place for a slice. I was looking forward to another evening that would last late into the next morning, talking through a range of topics like starting businesses, inventing backyard games, astronomy, hockey ( see~? I’m more attuned to winter ). What I did not expect was who I would see when I went for my slice of pizza.
Now, I should tell you that I was not in a relationship, nor was I expecting to be in one – I was not looking for “the one”, but this was the day that changed. She was working as hostess for the restaurant behind the pizza parlor, and I thought I knew everyone who worked there – I was a regular lunch patron. I was glad I was wrong; there stood before me the perfect combination of attractive elements – she is petite, with long raven hair, a peculiar walking style, and the one trait that made my heart skip a beat – maybe even two; deep pools of liquid blue in her eyes. Stunned just isn’t enough to describe my reaction. And she had a great fashion style, too, considering the limited dress code color range of black and white.
Saying “hello” – ah, here’s where I get in over my head. What I need to tell you is that I am in recovery – 11 years now – and that’s due to a spirituality I found here on the East End, when I was ‘invited’ to live in a sober house located in Aquebogue.
Where the hell is that~? I grew up in Centereach – I didn’t know there was life beyond Riverhead. Well, OK, once a year as a kid my dad would drive us out to Southampton every summer; more specifically, we’d camp one night at Shinnecock. The south shore beaches are different from those on the north shore; the waves are bigger and the beaches are sandy, not rocky. For me, what I really enjoyed was the trip; seeing the ridiculously large homes of the ‘beautiful people’. There we would be, driving slow, rubber-necking, trying to get a glimpse through the tree screen at the next spectacular mansion, and they would get more exotic, especially when we reached Dune Road. Years later, I would end up going to drafting school and working for an architect.
But I digress. I was telling a story. There has been a lot of water under the sober bridge back to life, and most of it churning and murky. I’m socially inept, never really developed any communication skills as I changed school districts half way through 8th Grade. It did not get easier for me in college, not even with a little liquid courage – and now I don’t have that option. But I’m intelligent; maybe I could think my way through this dilemma. So I came up with this “great” idea – I would play “secret admirer”. Yeah. I liked it. I liked it a lot.
I went to the local florist, and arranged to have an arrangement of blue flowers delivered the following Saturday just before this adorable hostess arrived at work. I wrote a few lines of poetry to go along with the hydrangeas – something about hearts beating and butterflies in the tummy. The plan was to pique her interest, then approach her the following day at an event I knew we were both going to attend – until I found out the event was canceled. But by then the flowers were ‘en route’. Oh well.
The next time I was in for my slice at lunch my “inside guy” told me that she was thrilled, which made me feel better. He claimed that she spent the whole evening asking everyone if anyone knew anything about this. (my “guy” stayed silent ). He then asked me what I planned to do next. I said I did not have a plan. My “great” idea did not work out so well. He thought I should keep it up, and I had to admit, I found it tremendously exciting going to the flower place, writing my few lines, waiting to hear from her. I wanted to keep going, so I did. The next week, there was a teddy bear in a bag on her counter ( and it was a cute one, at that – he had blue eyes, too ), with a hint as to how she could find out who her ‘secret admirer’ was. Then the next week, my inside guy left my card for her with an invitation to coffee or ice cream, and a way to get in touch.
I’m still waiting to hear from her.
I think she’s the one. It’s worth the wait. Do I dare go back~? I have turned a simple “hello” into a frighteningly awkward predicament, and there are days when I think sobriety just plain sucks because I have to deal with these emotions. It’s August again, and it’s going on two years now.
Did I mention that I’m not fond of summer~?