Part One found here.
* Note: I didn't realize just how long this part of the story was when I started typing it, so I've broken it down into smaller, readable chunks for y'all, thus the double posting tonight.*
Fifteen Years (and one month, and one day) ago: Friday, December 5, 1997
The morning of the Baptist Student Union Christmas party came. She was neurotically nervous- would he come? Would her cheesecakes come out ok? Should she have practiced making them one more time before the big day? Would he come? Would he remember her? What should she wear? Did she put on deodorant this morning? Would he come???
She spent all afternoon in the BSU kitchen preparing the food for the party and, when the party started, she had given up all hope of wearing anything 1950’s related. Her black and white nylon jogging pants, blue hoodie, and classic black Chuck Taylors would have to do. Hey- they wore Chucks in the 50’s, right? And women were known and expected to work in the kitchen back then, so…..she was ready to roll. All she needed were some pearls, but perhaps the blobs of flour and cheese on her shirt would be mistaken for a necklace if she stood at just the right angle. Besides, he probably wouldn’t come anyway and she had nobody to impress so what did it matter?
Since she was in charge of the food, she spent most of the time in the kitchen, scurrying here and there making sure everything was working well. Truth be told, hiding out in the kitchen also gave her an excuse to not have to interact with such a large crowd all evening. She was nervous enough without throwing in a social faux pas or five into the mix. She would peek her head out the kitchen door or serving window from time to time just to see if he had arrived, but the time slowly passed and still there was no black leather wearing Fonzie wannabe in the crowd.
About an hour into the party, she was in the middle of the kitchen and was giving instructions to the other kitchen helpers who had just propped open the door to either take out or return some serving trays. As she turned toward the door in the middle of giving an order, she noticed someone standing at the entrance wearing a black leather coat and the world’s brightest smile. He came. And he was smiling at HER.
She stopped mid-sentence, her mouth slowly returning the smile as she felt the blood rush to her cheeks. He waved. She waved back and shyly walked over to him.
She told him she was surprised he came since it was so late already. Her mouth’s ability to just spew out words while completely bypassing her brain seemed to amuse him. He was sorry he was late- he and his roommate ran into some difficulty or other but he was glad to see her and couldn’t wait to try her cheesecake.
She was flattered he remembered and was telling him how busy she had been in the kitchen and was going to go on and on and on with random details since she was so nervous and couldn’t really stop her mouth once it began. Luckily, at that moment she was interrupted by one of the other volunteers who said they needed her in the kitchen. She told him she had to go, feeling pleased to be so important in front of him and went back into her safety zone. Once inside, she briefly turned back to the still open door to wave to him when her heart sank to the bottom of her Chuck Taylors. In just the 2 seconds it took her to walk away, he was swarmed by 5 other girls, all of whom he seemed to know and with whom he seemed to be pleased to spend time.
Ah well, she thought. She knew it was just a foolish dream since she obviously wasn’t his type. By the look of his new harem outside, he liked blondes. Tall ones who twittered and laughed stupidly at anything he said. They were probably as dumb as they sounded and if he liked such high maintenance bimbos, then he wasn’t worth her time. Not that she was bitter or anything.
As the party progressed, she resolutely told herself to not shove a cheesecake into the face of that one tall bimbo who kept hovering all over him, playing some stupid game of “splash each other with a cup of water” who would then stupidly squeal in mock annoyance when she got wet.
No. Our busy little bee would simply take the serving tray to the table and then pretend she didn’t see him as he dodged a playful hug from Tall Bimbo and instead came up to the table and asked if he could help with the tray.
Harumph, she thought. Just what kind of game was he playing?
As she was going back to the kitchen, someone came up to tell her that her mom was on the phone. Since this was 1997 and cellphones were just starting to not look like shoeboxes anymore, that meant her mom had called the BSU and she didn’t know whether to be super embarrassed that her mom was checking in on her, or to be worried that there was a family emergency. Knowing her mom, it was the former and Mommy Dearest would now have to die.
When she got to the phone, she tried to play it off like her mom was some sort of loony and did crazy stuff like this all the time. Her mom asked, “How’s it going?” as if small talk was what was needed at this moment. “Well, uh, I knew you were going to stay out late, but I had to tell you that someone called for you and wanted you to call them back tonight.” It had better be Angela Lansbury herself to warrant such an interruption to a major social event!
“It’s Mr. W.”
What the what?! Why would Mr. W. be calling her? Did he need her to take a
shift at work for him or something? Of course her mother knew about her ginormous
crush on Mr. W. and was so excited that he called that she just had to
tell her the good news right away. She jotted down his number and then
thought it wouldn’t hurt to call him right now. Since she was scheduled
to work bright and early the next day, she couldn’t fill in for him at
work and should let him know as soon as possible.
So she called him.
telling him who she was and that she was returning his call, he asked
what she was up to and seemed to take forever to get to the point of
asking her about work. She let him know she was at a Christmas party, so
what did he want?
“Oh nothing. I just wanted to talk to you. Thanks for calling me back!”
What? Did she inhale too many fumes from the kitchen? Why would he call “just to talk?”
recovering from her shock, she asked if she could call him back later
since she was, you know, at a party right now and couldn’t really talk
and thought he needed to ask something about work, so….
“Yeah! No problem! You can call me anytime! I have a cell phone and it’s always on and I never sleep.”
Huh. A cell phone. Was he trying to impress her or something?
After saying good-bye, she got back to the party.