As it turns out, Mom decided to clean more just our than toilets.
She helped me organize a clogged file cabinet, which is how I rediscovered some old notebooks and journals from my mid-20s. Some of the stuff is about my trying to navigate life amid fatigue. Others are short fiction. Still others (like this one) are thinly veiled stories from a dive bar I used to haunt.
With a bit of polishing here and there, the writing’s actually not bad, so I decided to throw a piece or two on the blog from time to time.
Andy was a pretty boy, but I stayed friends with him because he had the good grace to be wholly unaware of his attractiveness. The rest of us noticed, though. In order to differentiate him from the other bar-regular with the same name, we referred to him in conversation as “Clark Kent Andy” due to a fair resemblance to Dean Cain.
He was gruff and, in my experience, it took about four months to get him talking to you in earnest. Which might explain his near-perpetual single status.
According to him, he flirted with me from day one, but I never noticed. I think he was just bad at flirting, but I suppose the bar’s overly stiff drinks may also carry some blame. The bartenders put so little Coke into their Long Island Ice Teas that you could watch the the cola trickle slowly down to the bottom of the glass.
Either way, Andy was single and looking nearlythe whole the time I knew him.
Granted, “looking” seemed to mainly consist of listening to me tipsily rate the women who sashayed through the door. He occasionally chimed in and/or rated their nipple quality, which he assured me was very easy to do in a college-age crowd. I took his word for it, being firmly pro-bra myself and having no real opinion on nipples in general.
Andy was protective of me in the sort of offhanded way of an older brother. He was willing to step in. But mainly he just snickered at my discomfort when a drunk oozed onto my shoulder, drooling compliments in my ear.
But again, I kept him around because he was fun to chat with, nice to look at and an overall decent fellow.
He was also one of the few people at the bar that seemed to immediately grasp the severity of my condition. On more than one occasion, he’d walk the half mile back to his place to get his car and drive me home when I’d stayed out too long to face a walk to and from the bus. Sometimes he even walked me up the stairs to my apartment, one arm bracing my shoulder, when my legs were especially wobbly.
You had to love him for things like that — especially since, unlike a lot of men, he never assumed that he was owed something for the chivalry — so I overlooked his general “guyness.” Especially that bit about nipple quality.