"Laurie, can I talk to you for a minute?"
This direct question is the most intimidating question that has graced hundreds of people's vocal cords. Usually it's associated with something I did wrong (running away, stealing bubble yum from Brunos, talking in class, swimming without supervision, using a curse word, etc.).
My chest felt like pounding bricks on the chilly February day Mike said this line to me, waiting to hear what awful thing I had done this time. The door shut, he looked at me, “So, I really like you." More words that formed sentences followed after this nonchalantly built-up phrase, but this and my response is all I remember. "Okay"
Speed through to our first meeting, where I paid for my meal. Not impressed. Then to our second date, when he asked me to coffee and paid the entire $1.63 my small coffee cost. Slow down there, big spender! Against my better judgment, I believed my parents, and sister, and aunt, and friends, and the world when they said it was a good experience for me to like him. (Since when do people talk about dating like it's a job? Should I get recommendations and referrals, too?)
So it was to my surprise that a short month later he didn't want to go to my sorority dance with me. Not only did he not want to go with me, he went with another girl and did not want to dance with me. So like any normal girl, I cried. I cried in the bathroom. I cried on the dance floor. I cried on the bus. I cried in sorority house. I cried on the walk home. I cried in my bed. I cried on my friend's shoulder. And when I woke up, I had puffy eyes, a headache, a heart full of anger and a brain full of rage.
When I asked to talk to him about what happened, he didn't have the decency to show up at our scheduled time. Being the punctual person I am, I was not going to wait around for some loser-jerk, dumb boy who, as my mother always puts it, doesn't deserve me! When he called me a half hour later this is how our conversation went:
Mike: Yeah, so here is the thing: You are a really great girl. You are nice and smart (he said it this time) and you are really mature for your age (no...I'm actually not.). Any guy would be really lucky to date you (BULL).
Me: I don't need your compliments.
Mike: We are just at two different parts in our lives.
Me: What you did was mean.
Mike: I am really sorry. You are so nice and smart. Any guy would be really lucky to date you.
Me: You said that already.
Mike: Okay, Laurie.
Me: I hope you're happy. (Now this comment sounds really mean, but I did mean that I hoped he was happy. He was right when he said I am nice.)
Mike: Okay. Laurie.
And that was that. He was not my NJB, and he was not an NJB at all. And my search hit a pot hole, but only for a little while.