When I left off last week, I had just gazed for the very first time into the gorgeous blue eyes of the woman who would subsequently be the sole inhabitant of my subconscious over the next six weeks. At this point, I was in my mid thirties, I lived alone, and I lived a lifestyle that was bordering on train wreck. I had come to grips with the fact that I was more than likely going to die alone and most definitely never going to marry again. I wasn’t sad about it though, so don’t feel sorry for me. In fact, I was so happy being unhappy that I never realized I wasn’t happy.

The point being is that on my days off, I went big. I was a whole lot of fun to be around at the time, so people were constantly calling or texting me on my nights off to find out where I was and what I was doing. Everybody knew that it didn’t matter where or what, but it was going to be fun. Now my fun is geared more towards the toddler through elementary school target market. And they happen to think I’m a blast.

I’m really glad that technically this was not a first date, because my phone didn’t stop going off in the hours that would follow. The first call was from two very dear friends of mine who have since married, but were dating at the time. They had both just finished working the early shift in a bar just a few blocks away. I told them where I was and they hopped on their bicycles and came to join us. We were now up to a party of six and getting more fun by the minute.

Throughout the course of the evening, and with the help of multiple adult beverages I unwittingly ceased to be myself. Looking back on it now, I recall what a goof I was as I desperately tried to impress the shy quiet beauty across the table from me. She tried her best to ignore me but I wouldn’t go away. She politely endured each of my sophomoric barbs and futile attempts at being charming. She said very little and yet I couldn’t cease my desperate attempts to engage her.

I don’t know why I was even trying because I was guessing her to be a good 10-15 years my junior and she was so incredibly gorgeous that I didn’t think I’d ever have a chance. And yet I remained undaunted in my moronic pursuit of the seemingly unattainable. She made it glaringly apparent in multiple ways that the absolute furthest thing from her mind was getting involved with a guy. She was relatively new in town and fresh on the heels of a difficult break up.

At one point, she left the table and went outside to smoke, and I too being a smoker rushed to join her thinking that this was my big chance to get her alone. (We’ve both since quit, so I say again, hold your judgment.) Once we were alone outside, rather than raise my charm level, I sort of mentally regressed to a 4th grade mentality. I’m just glad I gathered my wits before I threw a stick at her or pulled her hair to show how much I liked her. In retrospect, I now realize that she raised just about every possible force field to stave off my advances and make it abundantly clear that she was not interested.

Fortunately, I’m not very bright. When she had just about exhausted all deterrents, she tossed out her trump card. She had kept it in the holster up to this point but she now required the one thing that was guaranteed to send every man running. She told me she had a child. I certainly did not respond the way she expected me to which must have been frustrating to her. My response was, “No kidding. That’s awesome, I have a kid too.” And then I took out my wallet to show her a picture of my son.

She thought I was being a smartass when I showed her a picture of a 17 year old boy as she was showing me a picture of a two-year-old girl. She didn’t know how old I was, but she certainly didn’t think that I was old enough to have a son nearly college bound. I can only assume this was based on my behavior and not my appearance. I think she honestly believed that the photo came with the wallet and it was just another bizarre part of my shtick. Thankfully he looks exactly like me so ultimately I was able to convince her.

We went back inside to join the others at our ever growing party. She had just successfully laid the foundation for an escape later on in the evening. By the time we got back to the table, I had missed a message from my boss. He too was out and about and looking for a fun group to catch up with. Well in that respect, he had just hit the jackpot because he was about to join a group of misfits who were in the formative stages of painting the town. We were now a party of seven.

Shortly thereafter, we would be joined by two more dear friends who had also gotten off of their early bartending shifts. I felt so bad for the poor waitress and busboy that had now had to alter our table or relocate us for the fourth time. My sympathy for them was short lived when I realized that she was waiting on the dream table. I guarantee there is not a server anywhere on this planet who would not love to have a nine-top that consisted of a restaurant owner, seven bartenders, and a drunk guy with a bunch of money. This was the table we all fantasize about on crappy nights.

My bride seems to think there was a 10th member of our party, but I only recall those nine. If you happen to be that 10th person, please accept my sincerest apologies. Had you arrived nine bottles of wine earlier, you’d have made it into this story. Each of us ate and drank as if it was our last day on Earth, and we had an absolute blast. But eventually, we were the only thing keeping the staff of Adolfo’s from calling it a night, so we decided to relocate having done more than enough damage.

Do you recall the initial conversation I had with the waitress in Part 1 of this story? I’m going to end it there this week and pick up next week right where we left off. Thanks for playing along.

Until next week,

Syd Nichols