Let me get this straight, your brother was a PAC-12 OPY and your other brother was an All-American!?
Yup. My family’s always been heavy into football, haha.
It had been two weeks since the hit and my stitches and I guess Half Pint felt obligated to hang with me. I didn’t mind, he seemed all right to me. We were strolling down Queen Street West after school. I know what you’re thinking. It’s typically teen or high school of anybody to go hang after school with somebody of the opposite sex, but whatever. He was always looking over at me and my scar and stitches. It made me feel pretty awkward.
Hey, I know I look like a freak. No need to always look at my head, you know.
Oh yeah, right. Sorry.
He turned his gaze toward the street immediately.
Tell me more about yourself. I’ve been asking too many questions about your family and football in general. Seems like we both love the sport and everything, so why not talk about something else? Do you play any instruments?
Nah…I took piano lessons when I was a kid, but I quit soon after.
Wow…that’s so typical of any Filipino kid, haha.
He had his hands buried deep in his pockets and he looked like such a nerd in his school uniform. A powder blue collared shirt, maroon necktie, grey flannel pants and a navy blue blazer. Who in the hell designed this uniform anyway? I hadn’t noticed how far we had walked when he stopped me.
Hey, mind if we go to Steve’s? I wanted to check the prices on a few things anyway.
I nodded my head and he opened the door for me. I had no clue where we were…it was a dark and dingy store. Pretty cramped too. The store was filled with guys with long hair and tattoos and it smelled like…well, guys.
What is this place?
One of the best music stores in Toronto. I know it doesn’t look like much, but trust me. C’mon, I wanna check out some of the Fenders.
He grabbed my hand and began walking me towards a bunch of guitars on racks. I knew what he was trying to do…
He picked a guitar off of the wall and plugged it into an amplifier.
Hey, aren’t you supposed to ask an employee for help before you do that!?
Nope. Haven’t you ever been guitar shopping before?
Oh…well, you can only figure out how a guitar sounds and feels by playing it. Obviously, you have a choice of whether or not to buy the floor model or have the exact same one made and shipped to a store. It’s like buying a car.
He strummed a few chords…or something. I knew nothing about music and I was trying my best to resist the fact that we was a musician. Guys back home in Cali always do this kind of thing. They figure out how to play and instrument and try to woo all the girls into liking them. I always vowed that I wouldn’t be like that…but I couldn’t really help it. It was so cool. He wasn’t singing or serenading me, but it felt a lot better than having another wannabe sing “Hey There, Delilah” to any other girl.
I really don’t dig Strats. Seriously, I have a crazy love-hate relationship with them. They’re too twangy one time, then another time I can engineer the most perfect tone ever. Maybe I should buy a Tele.
Umm…sure. Whatever that means.
Sorry, I kinda think aloud. Hey, I’ve been meaning to check out the acoustics. Mind if we stay another 10?
He put the guitar back on the rack…I hadn’t noticed that it was somehow flipped in a different direction.
Hey, you’re not left-handed by any chance, are you?
Yeah! Haha, how’d you figure it out? The guitar looked like you were watching somebody in a mirror playing, huh?
He picked up his bag and led the way to another part of the store. It was full of acoustic guitars…No duh, Anne. He just told you that he wanted to check out the acoustic guitars, why would you be so surprised at the amount of them in the room?
He set his bag down and grabbed a small and very curvy guitar. He played the same thing that he played on the electric guitar outside. It sounded familiar, but I couldn’t tell what it was…sounded bluesy though. I was pretty caught up in it…it was nice to hear that he actually knew how to play guitar. He was refreshing in comparison to the guys from back home just because…well, it seemed like he was in this store because he loved to play, not because he was trying to sleep with me.
He put the guitar back on the rack and we left the store. We began walking towards some street called Spadina and he said we were gonna wait for a “streetcar”…whatever that was.
So, you’re musically talented. You play football. You seem to have a pretty decent vocabulary and you’re not a total ass, what’s wrong with you?
There has to be something wrong with me? I can’t just be a nice guy with a couple of talents?
Well, based on what I know about guys from my experiences, there’s always some sort of catch.
You do realize that what you’re saying sounds like something exactly from a movie, right? This whole, “the-guy-is-too-good-so-he-must-be-psycho-or-something” bit is a bit old and annoying, to be honest.
He was right. I guess I was being a bit harsh or stupid for even looking for something wrong with him. After all, I was just getting to know him and he was being nice because he hit me at practice that one time.
Sorry, didn’t mean to offend you. Just trying to figure you out. And what do you mean by annoying?
Wait, are you serious? You’re trying to figure me out? I’m trying to figure you out. You’re pretty, you know football inside and out, your whole family comes from football and you clearly aren’t stupid. You’re also a cheerleader. So, what’s the catch with you?
Trust me, I’m kinda stupid. See, I’ve got a thing for football players. And shut up, I never wanted to be a cheerleader, it just turned out that way!
Wow, I never would’ve guessed. And why did it turn out that way? If you don’t want to do it, there’s no reason for you to have to do it.
I have to admit, he kinda had me on the ropes. I wasn’t expecting him to just come out with a few questions. He also knew how to make me feel good; I personally thought that I looked like Frankenstein’s Monster with the scar on my head. Still, I liked it. He wasn’t a pushover but he wasn’t a bully.
Hey, the streetcar’s here. We’re heading to Spadina station. You know how to get home from there?
Holy crap, it’s like a bigger trolley from back home! And yeah, I think so, haha.
As we boarded the streetcar, a thought came to mind.
Hey, just curious but have you ever considered applying to any American colleges? You might be able to grab a scholarship from one of the bigger football schools!
Naaaaaaah, haha. I’d never make it in the NFL, let alone the NCAA. Besides, I’m not even that good at playing it…I just started playing organized football, remember? Besides, I’m more of a basketball guy anyhow.
He let out a chuckle. His voice was soothing…like one of those glossy bass singers from the 50’s. It was funny because he was a lot better than he gave himself credit for.
My last girlfriend always came to watch our open practices and games…err, not to say that you’re going to be my next girlfriend…or that…um…crap.
I found it hilarious. He was getting himself tongue tied. Not that I was into him or anything, but he was making a pretty decent case for himself.
Let’s forget I said anything, yeah? Not that I don’t think that you’re attractive, but I think that we’d be getting off on the wrong track if I was actively trying to date you. Besides, we’re just starting this friendship, huh?
Date. I liked the sound of that. It also reminded me that Diana wanted to go on a double date…
Yeah, I think you’re right. But…don’t take this the wrong way or anything, but I’d like to see you again sometime. Not in pads and not on the field. My girlfriend wants to set up a double date with this guy she really likes and…well, I guess tha-
Whoa, slow your roll. You’re asking me on a date?
Um, yeah. I just think it’d be a good chance to get to know each other some more.
He stopped. I know that I was blushing because my face was burning with embarrassment. Annie, you totally just contradicted everything that he just said. Good going…well, if you’ve already begun a downward spiral, might as well commit entirely to crashing and burning.
Yeah, sure. I wouldn’t mind. But is this a strictly friends kind of thing or is this a real date?
I think we’ll find out as we go. You okay with that?
Yeah, haha. Kinda surprised me there.
Guess you’ve gotta be ready for another surprise.
I leaned in and kissed him…but I missed and got his lower lip and his chin. Why? I don’t know why. Some crazy thought told me that this was a date…I don’t know. To this day, if anybody were to ask him about it, he’ll say that the “Imp of the Perverse” prompted me to do it.
Wow. Well, thanks for that, haha. Looks like we’re at Spadina. I guess I’ll see you for that date?
Yup, haha. I guess I will.
He flashed me a quick smile and kind of awkwardly tried to shake my hand but wound up waving instead. He walked towards the trains heading eastbound and I stood at the same platform, beating myself up and yet basking in some kind of happiness.
My first kiss with a decent guy and I messed it up. Brilliant work, Annie. Brilliant.