Beauty and the Jock

   I swear I’ve flipped. Completely flipped. a dozen roses, one prosciutto and goat-cheese pizza, two gelatos, and now the romance station? God save me. I’m a high school boy. I definitely should not be like this. But I’ve figured something out! That “on the moon” feeling IS a good thing! Thanks, Anna, for enlightening me! As I turn up the volume on my stereo, I wonder if she’ll let me call her “pet.” It just seems to fit her: adorable, and not only in the physical sense; she’s gotta be the funniest, sweetest girl I’ve ever met. And smart! I mean, mostly we talked about football, but, what the hey. And she’s musical, too! And popular! Not as popular as me, but still! She’s just all around amazing. This great amalgam of every fantastic sight, noise, scent; feeling…she’s just great. I’d love to see her act one of these days. Maybe I’ll go to opening night of the musical…

   Speaking of acting, I suddenly remember something my grandmother, a star actress in our small town in Southern Wisconsin, had given me for my sixteenth birthday, something I had never had any use for but had never managed to get rid of. And thank you, God, for that! It’s a mask, half black, half white, half laughing half crying; symbolic of the theatre. Why my grandmother gave it to me, I’ll never know. Sometimes I think she used to see things, hallucinate. Like, one time, when I was really little, maybe six or seven, she asked how I had fallen and broken my arm. I told her in all honesty that, no, I had not fallen and that no, I had not broken my arm. She insisted I had and I insisted I hadn’t. I even did a handstand to prove it. That’s when I fell and broke my arm. So, maybe, Grandmother had seen Anna in my future and had decided I should have her prized Venetian mask. Grandmother had just tapped her nose knowingly and winked at me. At the time I had been most offended… now it sort of made sense.

   Either way, I now have an opening night gift to give to Anna, one I think she’ll love; she seems like that type of girl. And I’ve already bought her roses. I quickly fire off a text to my older sister, Shelly, the current dumping ground of the mask, asking if she would be able to drive it into New Glarus sometime within the next few days. Then, I toss my iPhone on my bed and go into the bathroom to stand in front of the full-length mirror attached to the closet door. Staring back at me is a delirious, hopelessly head-over-heels hot football player who has just had the best day of his life with the coolest girl in the world. I don’t know who is luckier: her or me.

   I grin at the mirror, saying, “I had the best time tonight, pet. I really love being with you. It’s like the world just disappears when we’re together.”

   By this point my reflection has morphed into Anna. She says, smiling softly, “I had a nice time, too. You’re wonderful company.”

   I smile charmingly at her before falling to one knee and saying huskily, “Darling, will you marry me?”

   “Oh, that’s rich!”

   I nearly topple over myself as I leap up to whirl and face the laughing intruders. Standing in the doorway of my bathroom are Kamil, d’Arrigo, and James, the freshman boy, new to the team. They’ve got their arms around each other, their heads ducked as they let their laughter spill. My face is hot as Hades in the summer. I can’t believe they just caught me in the act of proposing to my mirror.

   “How long have you been here?” I demand, trying to act unphased.

   “Oh, just since the world disappeared.” d’Arrigo hoots, slapping James on the back. I feel like slapping my forehead.

   “Why the heck are you guys here?” I whine.

   “Someone tipped us off about a delivery of twelve roses to some drama queen’s house. Wouldn’t give us the name, but we’re assuming she’s something if you’re already practicing your proposal! Oh yeah, you left your door unlocked.” James taunts jovially as he saunters into the bathroom, posing next to me. “Is it really a magic mirror? Let me try: mirror, mirror on the door, show me the girl he’s pining for…” James pauses for effect. Then, slapping me upside the head, he says, “You fool! It doesn’t show you anything. Hey, guys! He was proposing to himself!”

   More hoots follow his statement and I kick them out the bathroom door and out of the bedroom into the family room.     “The family room?” d’Arrigo says, looking innocently around, “It’s missing something…”

   “A family!” Kamil says, snapping his fingers. “Maybe after you two get married…”

   “Oh shut up!” I growl, but I’m beginning to laugh on the inside. Looking back on it, I really can’t believe I just proposed to my mirror. But really, if I didn’t have the speck of common sense I have left I would have probably would’ve dropped down on one knee and proposed when I dropped her off at her place. “Guys, I think I’m in love.” I say, wrapping my arms around them.

   “Whoa-oa!” Kamil says, pulling away, “Slow down, bro! Love takes time!”

   “Like you would know!” James says, puffing out his chest for show. “Atty, my boy, I, here, am the expert in love: avoid it.”

   “Oh, he already knows that.” d’Arrigo says, thrusting his thumb in my direction, “He used to be a prophet for that religion, bachelorhood, I mean… now look at him. He’s a sinner! Unclean! Unclean!” he shouts, beating his heart and averting his face. I laugh out loud this time.

    “Oh, yes, veeeery…” James says, grinning at me. I roll my eyes and laugh again.

   “So this girl…” Kamil hints. I wink at him.

   “You’ll meet her at the wedding.” I say, giving them ammunition for the next millennium and a half. Together we swagger out of my house, laughing, to d’Arrigo’s crappy little Buick, ready to head to practice.

This is a prime example of a guy you probably don’t want… a guy who will drive with his friend in a Buick. Buicks are cars for people over sixty. Just kidding 😉 but really, you don’t want a guy like Atty. He is clearly self-absorbed. Not to mention, he is taking a high school relationship far too seriously. Proposing? For real? A dozen roses? You’re a high school student, bro; you should be saving for college.

Hey… think about it… the majority of people driving Buicks are over sixty… weird, right?


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