|There Are Places I Remember...|
One night, I had been hanging out with Yolanda and her dad drinking wine. Her dad and I got into a philosophical conversation about girls. He was under the philosophy that girls and boys couldn’t be ‘just friends’ in the same way, in which I vehemently denied. There were many girls I was just friends with. Then he gave me a scenario: If his daughter was upset about something, how would I console her? Would it involve a hug? I said yeah, sure. Now if it were Denver… Would I console him the same way? I said no. At that point, he made the argument, that the situation, hence the relationship was inherently different. Haven been drinking, this made sense and was a revelation to me. While we were having this discussion, Yolanda was brooding about something as she had a tendency to do from time to time. Brendan and Yolanda had broken up after dating briefly for a few months, but it seemed to me that she was over that.
What her current problem was, I wasn’t prepared for. She had a suddenly revealed crush on my little brother, Tommy. And right now she had the sudden need to tell him how she felt. She asked if we could drive back to my house to tell him. I told her no, because it was a bad idea and I had been drinking. What seriously concerned me was I had no idea what Tommy’s reaction to her would be. I believe he was dating someone and on top of that, he was not always very sensitive to other people’s feelings. Honestly, in my mind, nothing good could come of this. She was unrelenting in her demand, almost irrational. Alcohol and she didn’t mix. After we ‘debated’ in her room, she went downstairs. I waited. After a little bit, I went to look for her. She drove herself. There I sat, in her room, by myself, feeling a little awkward. After a little bit, she returned, almost in a daze.
“What happened?” I asked almost afraid to hear the answer.
“I’m dead.” She said in a monotone defeated voice.
“It can’t be that bad.” I said, trying to cheer her up without hugging her.
"I hit something" she said.
“I hit something. I’m going to bed.” As crawled under her comforter as if she planned never to get up again.
“Wait. What did you hit? How bad is it. Was it a person?”
“I don’t know.” was all she would say, repeatedly. She was in shock and no help under pressure. II sobered up pretty quickly, went outside to assess the damage. The back window was shattered, but physical body damage was relegated to what looked like a tiny door ding on the back of the car.
I came back in, informed her that there would be no problem. She was certain her dad was going to kill her, take her car away and ground her indefinitely. In all honesty, there should have been consequences for her actions, but ‘White Knight’ that I am, she wasn’t going to suffer on my watch. I dragged her out of bed, forced her to see that there was no real damage to her car. Then we went off in search of a large object to strategically place in the back seat of her car.
I was only going to stay until I sobered up, but agreed to stay the night. After that we went back to her room, she climbed into bed and I slept on the floor.
Her dad came into her room in the morning and yelled, “Yolanda, get up.”
Yolanda didn’t budge. “Yolanda. Get up. Something happened to your car.”
Feigning ignorance, I ‘woke up’ asking what was going on.
“Yolanda pissed somebody off. They threw a log into her back window last night.” Jackpot. Yolanda was motionless.
Her father went outside to survey the damage. He was on his cell phone to the insurance company. He pondered whether it fell from the tree. Not that log. We wanted to find something big enough to break a window yet light enough to carry the few blocks we had to carry it.
Shortly after, Yolanda came down and her father told her they needed to get the window fixed. I recommended the place that I got my cracked windshield for the Nova so many years before. Yolanda didn’t want to drive. I drove her car. Her father would follow us. She hugged me the entire drive to the shop. “I owe you big time,” she cried.
One of the negative effects my interest in Jen had was that Dena showed a renewed interest in me. What caused this newfound interest in me is easily debatable. She had been dating a guy named Mark who I found to be a bit scary to begin with, but when she suddenly started visiting me more often at work and kept asking to hang out with me ‘as friends’ it made Mark even more scary. Mark began following her to see what she was doing when not hanging out with him. I think she was just trying to gain some more independence from a guy who felt she should always be around. I’m sure they had a ton of issues on top of that as well, but I didn’t want to be in the middle. When Mark couldn't find Dena one night, he came to my job looking for her. He would ask if I had seen her and then tell me that he feared he was losing her. Apparently more and more often, she would compare him to me and he was ending up on the losing end. Right after he left, Dena showed up. The timing was so impeccable, I'd had thought she was hiding in the clothes racks. She told me she explained to him that we were just friends and he wanted to know why we all couldn’t be friends together as a trio.
Dena came over to my house one particular day in a blatant attempt to hook up with me. I resisted. It was hard to resist, but I had Jen on my mind. I always had Jen on my mind and it made it easier. I told her as long as she was with Mark, that it would never happen. When she finally gave up and was getting ready to leave, we noticed Mark parked outside of the house watching Dena’s car and waiting for her to come out. She freaked out. I ended up beeping Yolanda, having her meet us around the corner after Dena and I snuck through the woods behind my house. We got into Yolanda’s car, introduced the two of them and she drove us around the corner as if we were all hanging out together. I told Yolanda if I didn’t have to explain all of this, we were even.
I agreed to hang out with the two of them together only once. The day they broke up and announced they would just be friends. She didn't want to be alone with him. I understood that. We went to see the second Jurassic Park movie and it was awkward and uncomfortable. Never again. As their relationship disintegrated, Dena wanted to vent to me more and more. What I think she wanted was me as a safety blanket that she could fall into so she wouldn’t be alone. I think she believed that if she broke up with him, I would take her back. When I told her I wouldn't be with her while she was dating Mark, I said it to spare her feelings. Saying that was better than saying "I don't want you'. I have difficulty saying no to anybody so it wasn't easy.
We went for coffee one night as she vented and after I drove her home, we sat in my car for a few minutes to finish the conversation about how he carries a knife with him when an enraged Mark came running over and started pounding on my window. We calmed him down despite his insisting we should be friends. Never going to happen.