Steve was divorced for several years and had never stopped being in love with Saundra. When he “friended her “on Facebook he was thrilled when she accepted and actually responded to his “Hi” on chat.
After several chat sessions they graduated to a phone call, which led to text messaging and their decision to meet at a diner in Staten Island. They both lived in Brooklyn and their thinking was they would never see anyone they knew there – so it would not be risky.
The first time was awkward as they did not know whether to exchange hugs, handshakes or kisses. He went in to hug her and didn’t let go for several seconds too long. She preferred to just give the “half-hug” but wasn’t able to break free from his long armed hug.
He thought she was gorgeous and wanted to cut the chitchat and rent a place so they could finish what they never started 20 years earlier.
She was convinced that he was “slow” but enjoyed his company because he would make her center of his attention.
They would drive separately to the Diner, drink coffee and talk. They would then leave the diner separately – usually 10 minutes apart. They would then do it all again a week later.
Steve had a warped sense of himself. He was born into a semi-wealthy family, got his first job directly after High School, at his father’s business, and never left.
In High School he thought he was popular but he was actually a laughingstock. He would hang around the Varsity basketball team and was the “water boy” before Adam Sandler was out of diapers. He thought he was the manager of the team, when in fact he was the mascot.
When he was working at his father’s business the people who worked there, who had all paid their dues, would mock him about his “Bosses son” attitude.
He also joined the volunteer Fire Company, and although he never got close enough to the flames to feel its warmth, he claimed to have extinguished the flames of “hundreds of homes.”
The firemen, usually respectful of the volunteers, all hated him and called him “Dud” in place of “Dude.” Several times they made him walk ahead of them into a burning room or deflated his inflated sense of importance by keeping him in the firehouse when a call would come.
Saundra was attracted to the faux danger in their clandestine meetings. No one knew anything about them and she was able to disappear into a different world when she was with him. She was never attracted to him physically, it was the attention he gave her and the sneaking around that reminded her of another place and time.
Steve was a nice guy but he was someone who would not grow on you but would grow under your skin until you would take any sharp instrument and do your best to cut him out. Without any regard for the damage and pain you would cause to yourself one needed to exorcise his presence from.
He would always, always use the wrong word in sentences. At first she thought he was kidding, but as they kept on speaking she realized he was, unfortunately not.
“I could use a great massage – do you know any good misogynists?”
“I find your perfume quite repugnant, Sandy.”
“I was wondering if they had a boy or girl…when I got to the Brit Milah there was blue all over, so I assumed it was a boy.”
“They should have exonerated that man, he was so guilty. So sad.”
She broke the news to him that they needed to stop meeting.
“Its not fair to anyone in my life, not fair to you.”
“Me? Of course its not fair to me. I was hoping for-”
“Steve, come on and lets end this the right way.” She cut him off before he said anything.
“I find this to be quite exhilarating.” He said staring at his empty cup of coffee.
She paused when he said that and then said, “Do you mean…? Ok, I need to leave now. You leave first and I will follow.”
“I respect you and I will always have intensive feelings for you.”
“Steve, I care about you, I truly do. But I have children and I am married. I was wrong to lead you on. Life has been really difficult with David these past couple of years and I guess I just needed to feel…”
“We haven’t done anything wrong. We haven’t even held hands.” He sounded like a pestilent child as he usually did when he didnt get his way.
“I know, but you know as well as I do that its coming.” She was being kind – she had no intention let alone desire to be physical with him.
“But I…,” He paused and caught himself quickly. “I understand. Let’s not lose touch all together. You are truly one of my only friends. One of the only people who do not make me feel as if I am interrupting something.” He stood up and said, “I will walk out first. I,” He almost said it. “I’ll see you around.”
He walked out of the Diner, heard the bell on the door pound and bounce and then he walked towards his black Cherokee. He turned the ignition went to put on his seatbelt and then thought to himself, “I am tired of always being the safe one.” He turned off the ignition and stepped out of his car.
He walked back to the entrance and looked through the window. He watched as Saundra was sitting down waiting for the ten minutes to pass.
He walked away and stood by his car waiting for her.
At last, ten minutes passed and it was her turn to walk out of the Diner. She saw him standing outside of his car and moaned to herself. “Shit…”
When she came out he walked towards her at a brisk pace and went to kiss her into loving him. He went in hard and kissed her on her lips. Too hard actually, as his top front teeth banged into her top front teeth, which were caps and knocked them both out of their place.
“What were you thinking!” Saundra yelled at him, in tears and with blood coming from her mouth.
“I was thinking to kiss you into wanting me.”
“Well, that was stupid. I dont want you, if I did I would have fucked you by now. Now leave me alone.”
“I don’t want to leave-”
“Get the hell out of here or I will file a restraining order.”
“No, but please just leave. I need to call my dentist.”
She drove to her dentist’s office with a box of tissues in her mouth and a pounding headache.
“How Am I going to explain this?” She said out loud to herself as she climbed across the Verrazano Bridge.