Wednesday, November 17, 2004

"I bought a ticket to the world, but now I've come back again."

Sunday, November 7. It's a beautiful, sunny day.

I've been meaning to go back to Silver Lake cemetery and find out who that "Thom" kid was that Steph and I were talking to with the Ouija board.

I drive over, and get out of my car, just where I did that night before Halloween. I find what looks like the spot where we sat with the board.

If I recall correctly, Thom said he was buried within 50 feet of this spot, but not within 10 feet. I begin looking around at gravestones, reading names.

There's a Robert, an Earl, a Peter. Mary, Julia, Simon, Jonathan, Frances, and Mitchell. No Thom, Thomas, or Tom anywhere.

I'll look again another time. Maybe I'll take some pictures, too.

As I pull back onto my street, there's a silver car behind me. It's got a busted headlight, just like Stephanie's.

I live on a dead-end street. There are 15 or 20 houses on the whole block. No one has any reason to come to this street unless they live here, or are visiting. What are the chances that this is some other silver car with a busted headlight, coming to my street?

It couldn't be her. Could it? And what could she want? Could she have changed her mind?

I better not get my hopes up. She probably just forgot something and is coming to pick it up. If this is her at all.

I pull into my driveway, and the car pulls in after me. It's Steph.

I get out and turn around. I am careful not to smile. I am not pissed off, but I'm not thrilled to see her, either. Or at least that's the role I'm playing.

"Steve, I really need to talk to you," she says.

"We already had our talk," I say.

She walks up to me. Her hair is tied up in a scarf, and she's wearing an ARMY sweatshirt. She looks cozy, like she always does.

"I got bored," she says.


She kisses me. Not a huge kiss, just a message.

"I couldn't do it, Steve. I couldn't stay with him. It wasn't right. It felt all wrong."

"I don't get it." I do, but I want more information.

"I broke up with Paul. I gave him his necklace back and told him to keep his job."

"I see."

"I know you might not want me back, but even if you don't, you helped me realize that I'm not happy with him. And he was making all these changes in his life, but he was making them for the wrong reasons. He was trying to make himself into the person I wanted him to be, not the person he was."


"So what are you saying, Steph?"

"I want to be with you."

"Steph, I-"

"Steve, I mean, it WAS only 2 days ago. Not EVEN two days. So unless you hooked up with someone else since Friday, you're probably unattached, right?"

Yeah, 'cause only a total scumbag would hook up with someone three hours after getting dumped....

"It's not that I'm attached, Steph, it's that you made a fairly big life decision, and now you reversed it. That doesn't fill me with confidence."

"Steve. I was with him a year. I didn't want to feel like I wasted that year. I WANTED it to work. I TRIED to make it work. It didn't feel right. Can you blame a girl for trying?"

"This is kinda like sampling a jury verdict, isn't it? I mean, you have a potential appeal to a case, but you wait to see what the jury decides, and if you lose, THEN you make your appeal," I say.

"I don't get it," she says.

"You dump me, and you wait to see what happens with Paul, and if it doesn't work out, THEN you fall back on me."

"I'm not gonna lie to you, hon. I wanted it to work out with Paul. But it didn't. I wasn't happy. I WANTED to be happy, but I wasn't. And I feel like I could be happy with you."

"I don't know, Steph." Actually, I have no problem giving this another shot. Why not? I LIKE her! And if things don't work out, we'll break up.

But what if she changes her mind again, and goes back to dork boy? you are saying.

Please. Since when does the Stevo worry about insecure shit like that? I'm really just trying to make her squirm a bit, so she realizes that I don't like the way she went about this.

"Steve, tell me to leave, and I will. Tell me you don't want to see me again, and I'll go."

"You know how I feel about you," I say. "But if we're gonna do this, it's gonna be baby steps."

"Baby steps are cool," she says. She hugs me.