brandon.

Hourglass

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When I met her, there was already a countdown on whatever kind of relationship we were going to have. This is what she told me.

We met at 11:00AM in the library. She was on her way to the reference section, and I was in the periodicals. i was looking for political science journals. I had a paper I had to finish by the next day and I barely had any work done on it.

Her research was on ostriches. It wasn’t for a class. In fact, she didn’t go to school. She was a waitress at a Mexican restaurant. She just figured she didn’t really know anything about ostriches and wanted to know more.

As most great loves stories, it starts with two people bumping into each other in some random place.

I was carrying a stack of Asian political science journals that I needed for a class I was taking, and she was lugging around a big gym bag. When I was helping her back up and trying to pick up the gym bag, I asked about what was inside. She said she was going to strip the encyclopedias of their security tags and take them home.

“You mean steal them, right?” I ask.

“No, I’m going to bring them back.”

“You’re not supposed to remove reference materials from the library.”

She says that’s why she has to strip the security tags. Her cousin who works at a library in Virginia told her how. All libraries use the same system. It’s just one company making them all. it’s kind of how if you can hack one computer, you can pretty much hack them all.

I asked her how long her job would take.

She told me she’d be busy for about two hours.

I said I could wait outside at the bus stop afterwards if she wanted to hang out and do something.

She grinned and said that she’d see me later then. And so I waited. I waited for four hours. I waited till after the library closed. But she never came. I stopped at the store for dinner provisions and went home.

For dinner that night, I grilled two chicken breasts, and made a side dish of stuffed peppers. I drank a riesling and finished the bottle while staring at the moon from my balcony.

At 11PM, my phone rang. I was her. I was kind of pissed that she blew me off, but I was happy to be talking to her.

I barely finished asking how she knew my name (which I hate forgot to tell her I was so nervous), let alone my phone number, considering I’m not listed in the phone book, when she said she knew the girl who I checked out some books from. She said you could tell a lot about a person from their library record. She told me three times that I returned books late. This was supposed to be a good thing. She said it was because anybody who’s never had an overdue book is too much of a goody-goody, and people with a chronic overdue problem don’t have any sense of personal responsibility.

“You on the other hand, ” she starts, “have had three overdue books this year, but returned them all the day after they were due back. That seems like you were trying your best to get them back in a timely manner, but just slipped up a few times.

I made excuses for each time, like I was ashamed. it’s hard excusing yourself with no prep time.

“But you still have an outstanding balance of $.30 due to the county library. You should pay that,” she instructs me, in a motherly-tone.

I told her I’d get right on that.

“So what’s the point of all this,” I ask.

“To let you know that after reviewing your library record, I feel I can now safely go out with you.”

“That sounds so bureaucratic.”

“Sorry, my parents are both civil servants.”

“What do they do?”

“IRS.”

“That sucks, I think.”

“Don’t I know it. Anytime a kid from school’s parents got audited, I’d have to lay low during recess.”

We spent the next hour on the phone. We talked about stuff from our childhoods. our families. We’re both only-children. I told her I started kindergarten a year early. She told me that she started a year late. I told her my mom worked at a children’s hospital, and that my dad worked at an electric company. We talked about food and beers. We even both had the same tastes in alcohol.

I asked her out for dinner that Friday night.

She said she’d meet me in front of the library, at 7PM. I went to sleep with a smile on my face.

This was ruined by a pounding on my door at 3AM. It was Crockett. That’s actually his middle name, but what a middle name. It couldn’t be ignored. I could never call him by his real name. I stubbed my big toe twice on the way to the door. Each one accompanied by a loud, “fuck.”

I open the door and he just falls into my apartment.

He asks me, “Dude, what’s going on in here? I heard yelling.”

“That’s me cursing the day your parents conceived you. Crockett, what are you doing here?”

“Dude, don’t call me that. You know I don’t like it. My name’s Jon. It ain’t like it’s that hard to pronounce.”

“Fine. Just tell me why you’re here. At my apartment. At three o’clock in the fucking morning.”

And he begins, “Well, I met this girl. And I offered to take her home. Turned out she lives down the street from you. I let the cab go cause I thought I’d be staying the night. But she wouldn’t let me past the door, and I barely had enough in my wallet to get me that far.”

“OK, you can sleep on the couch. Goodnight.”

“C’mon, you can’t just go to bed on me. Have a drink.”

“It’s past three in the morning, and I have to get up for class in a few hours.”

“Pretty please?”

“What do you want?” I ask.

He wants a Rum and Sprite.

I pull two tumblers from the cupboard, and he asks me what’s new. I tell him that I met a girl today.

“Did you nail her yet?”

I give this cross look.

“I met her today,” I repeat.

“Yeah, and by tonight you should’ve fucked her.”

I just hand him the drink, and he asks where the lime is.

I do that thing where you press the tip of your tongue against your top molars, and take the drink back to the kitchen and pull a lime from the fridge.

“Why do you always have to say shit like that,” I ask as I slice the lime up.

He says, “I’m just looking out for your well-being man.”

“That’s touching, really.”

“You should appreciate having me as a friend, you know.”

“Here,” and I hand him the glass. “I’m going to bed. You can sleep on the couch and I’ll talk to you when I get up.”

“Aren’t you going to finish your drink?” he wants to know.

I pretend not to hear him, and I go on to bed. I went to bed that night trying to forget the guy on my couch instead of remembering the girl I’d met. Fiona.

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Written by Brandon

March 30, 2007 at 5:21 pm

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