“CHING CHONG CHING CHONG CHING”
It was morning. My alarm was attempting to wake me up.
I had chosen the sound of wind chimes during a more sober time, because they are peaceful. But on this morning, that sound made want to destroy any and all wind chime noises that had ever been created.
I had a headache. And when I say headache I mean it felt like 1,000 tambourine monkeys were clapping in my head.
It was a pleasant feeling.
I replayed the part’s of the night I remembered in my head and gave myself a chuckle. Then I remembered the situation with the bumbler.
I remembered the look on the bumbler’s face as Nance yelled at her.
“Yap, that’s over.” I said confidently out loud.
There was a brunch with the whole family in the lobby of the hotel before people started to head back home. I was not excited to see everyone after my wine filled dance party from the night before.
I got up, showered, and threw some clothes on. The tambourine monkeys had subsided to a dull roar. But ohh they were still veryyy present.
I was walking to the elevator when I passed an older couple cleaning up a mess in front of their room. It looked like someone threw condiments and plates all over their entrance.
“Who would do such a thing,” I said to myself with a snicker.
I would do such a thing!
“Oh me oh my I am the worst person ever,” I thought.
I came closer to the individuals cleaning up my drunken subtle revenge directed toward Nancy.
They both looked at me with a “why would someone do this to us? We’re just frail old timers” look.
I responded with an “I’m so sorry, I can’t believe someone did that, this is appalling” look.
I made it to the elevator and decided to convince myself that maybe it was another drunken individual who vandalized those seniors’ door with condiments.
I arrived to the banquet hall where my family was brunching. I shuffled in with a half smile on my face.
“HEYYYYYY” said everyone at the brunch. Some of the females looked concerned. I’m sure it looked like I was in a losing battle with death.
“How ya feeling?” said an uncle.
“Surprisingly not too bad!” I responded.
I felt like all the hopes a child loses when they discover Santa is not real mixed with a bag of broken dreams that middle-aged men feel when they buy a sports car.
I took a bite of eggs. That was my only bite for fear I would erupt all over the concerned female brunchers.
I decided to get more water so I could keep death and the egg-yolk eruption at bay when —
BING — new message from homegirl
“What on god’s green Earth has inspired her to contact me again.” I thought.
“I thought you were really cool.” she said. “But I don’t know if I could forget what happened last night.”
“I am really cool!” I wanted to reply.
Instead I came back with — “Yeah, I totally get that. I just had a really good time with you. But I get it if you don’t want to see me anymore. I mean I wouldn’t want to see me again if I were you.”
We continued to text back and forth throughout the day and she continued to reply with more of the same “oh I can’t forget this; that was so weird” type of messages.
I agreed with her.
That was weird.
I knew the conversation was headed nowhere, and I finally told her she couldn’t correctly judge my character or person based on what my parents had done.
Something switched. Her tone changed and she began texting in a different manner.
“Hm something about not being judged by parents’ actions resonated with her,” I thought.
I bookmarked that thought and would return to it frequently.
Eventually I was able to convince her to see me again.
It was afternoon now, and I was at my sister’s townhome with Jer watching House Hunters. I turned to Jer-bear.
“Sooooo,” I said in an “I want to ask you for something” tone.
“What is it?” Jer responded. He had heard that tone before so he knew what was up.
“Can I borrowww the carrrr?” I said as innocently as possible.
Jer asked why and I informed him I was going to see a friend.
Jer could see past the bull shit. “You’re going to see vegan girl after last night??” he said with a sense of shock in his voice.
“Yes, I don’t know why she agreed to see me again, but she did” I replied with the same sense of shock in my voice.
“Don’t tell Nancy” said Jer. He tossed me the keys to his chick magnet and continued to watch House Hunters.
“Woooo, alright! Jer coming in for the W!” I thought.
I managed to sneak out without Nancy noticing. I’m sure she would have made a human barricade if she found out.
I arrived at the bumbler’s apartment. I parked in a meterless place to avoid any possible envelopes of doom being placed on my windshield wiper.
I walked up the stairs and down the hall to her apartment. I was nervous. The same pre-meeting butterflies I felt when I first met her had returned.
“What do I say? Do I apologize? Do I just keep cool?” I thought.
I approached the door, gathered myself, and knocked.
She cracked it open a few moments later.
“Yes?” She said in a coyish tone. “How can I help you?”
“Heyy” I responded. “I’m glad you let me see you again.”
“Get on your knees,” she said.
“How about no,” I thought.
I laughed and slowly started entering her apartment.
“Get on your knees and beg,” she said.
“No” I said with a less playful chuckle.
This was another large red flag I should have heeded more. Homegirl liked to be in power. We will get to that.
She conceded and let me inside her apartment.
“I bet you didn’t think you’d be back here again,” she said playfully.
“No, I honestly did not.” I said with genuine surprise.
I still am very surprised she agreed to see me after the Parental Smackdown of 2017.
We talked and hung out for the next few hours.
And we somehow landed back on the genuine surprise of letting me see her again.
I remembered what I said that seemed to make her responses switch tones — not being judged by parents’ actions.
I decided to ask her about her parents.
She said she didn’t really see her mom much and that her dad and her gma were the main parental figures in her life.
“Hm my gma is one of my No. 1 peeps as well.” I thought.
I let the topic go. But the curiosity I felt about the subject would not leave me.
We continued to gab about nothing until dark.
When you don’t feel the need to fill the empty space between talking points and conversation flows naturally, that’s when you know you’re really talking to someone.
BING — text from Jer-bear.
“Oh shit! I still have the car,” I thought.
I opened the message with the expectation to be yelled at digitally via text.
“Where are you? When are you coming home? Are you still with vegan girl” he asked.
“Jer’s being chill about me holding on to his chick magnet,” I thought.
I informed him I was still with the vegan bumbler and that I was unsure about the time of my return.
“Alright, well I’m coming to pick up the car with the spare keys,” Jer said. “We have to leave early tomorrow.”
Jer and I were driving the ’03 Chevy back to a prominent city in Texas the next morning — where I lived at the time.
I agreed to his car retrieval and went back to gabbing with the bumbler.
I began to analyze again.
I noticed that she ended many of her statements with an upward inflection on the last word. Almost like most of what she was saying was a question.
I had been around people that had done this before. I did not like it. Because who wants to hear “Hello? How are you? I’m feeling well? It’s good to see you?” all the time and try to discern if they are questioning everything they are saying.
But I wasn’t as bothered by the bumbler’s inflection practices. It was cute.
“Who is this girl?” I thought.
We decided to get some dinner. I elected for a non-vegan restaurant, because I was intent on having a non-bunny dinner.
We chose an Italian place close by. “Finallyyy some real food,” I thought.
We hopped in the bumbler’s car and were on our way.
When we got there I thought about ordering a salad. But dammit I was hungry. I mean I had only had a few eggs from the morning to prevent the inevitable egg-yolk explosion that would have occurred all over the concerned aunts if I ate more. So I was hungryy af.
But I wanted to remain on the bumbler’s good side, especiallllyyy after Nance released the Kraken that is her maternal rage the night before.
When it came time to order, our waitress approached us —
“What are you having?” she said to the bumbler.
The bumbler pointed to a salad. “Is that vegan,” she added.
“Yes, I think so,” the waitress said with an “I’m pretty sure it’s not, but I’m just going to say yes anyway” look on her face.
Ha. I would do the same thing as a waiter at an Italian restaurant.
The waitress turned to me.
“What about you?” she asked.
Before I ordered I looked to the bumbler for a look of meat approval.
“I’ll have the pasta with meat sauce and the beef ravioli?” I said with an upward inflection in my voice.
“Oh lord she has infected me with the upward inflection.” I thought. “I will forever speak in questions.”
I informed her that I did feel somewhat bad about my order. She ensured me that it was totally fine and not to worry about it.
But I knew it had to bother her.
When the food came, I was freakin pumped. I contained those emotions.
The pasta with meat sauce and beef ravioli was fire. I, again, constrained my real emotions and downplayed its deliciousness. But it gave me freakin life and made me want to shout from the rooftops.
We enjoyed our meat and meatless dinners and decided it was time to head back to her place.
When we got back to her place, we talked more about nothing. I began to feel somewhat disappointed that I would be leaving her the next morning.
The curious case of the bumbler was intriguing. And I wanted to know more about her.
We gabbed and gabbed and finally went to sleep at the butt crack of dawn.
About four hours later, I woke up.
It was about 10 a.m.
The bumbler was still asleep, so I checked my phone.
“8 MISSED CALLS”
“Ohhh shite.” I thought. “Jer-bear is PISSED!”
TO BE CONTINUED —