Ben didn’t have much going on this week.
No job to tend to because he lost that last week.
No fancy social appointments. No special meals scheduled. No love to plan a date.
Not even the pet rabbit was around because the ex had this week’s shift.
All he had was this damn Volvo wagon (something’s rattling in the front tire).
Maybe he would watch some television, though.
Mondays are empty. Though Ben did search for some jobs online, ate a kielbasa sandwich and wrote a really catchy song on his ukulele that you would totally dig.
He was supposed to take the car to get the rattling checked out but he didn’t really have the money for the gas to get there. Nor did he have anything to pay the car guy.
So he watched the first two Rambos instead. Ben fell asleep at some part where Rambo was running in the jungle.
That was an odd dream about his grandmother at the public pool, though.
Tuesdays usually pick up a bit faster, only if Ben actually made plans to be eventful.
“Everybody has a slow Tuesday,” a wise man once told him.
He watched his morning Price Is Right (which he NEVER got to watch before with his pesky job), ate a delicious bacon wrap and practiced his golf swing on the front lawn.
His mother then told him to get a job and move out of her basement.
That night, Ben had a terrible sleep. Fidgeting and twitching regularly, coated in a body tan of sleep sweat and shaking so hard it awoke him at four in the morning.
He downed a shot of Baileys accompanied by a warm glass of milk and went back to lay in his thoughts.
“Hey, it’s Leslie”, read an unexpected text message. Ben looked at his phone, puzzled.
Leslie Who? That bartender from Chilly’s? It was all coming to him now.
He remembered going to Chilly’s the weekend before with his best friend, Roger. Ben met a cheerful, full of life pretty young thing by the name of Leslie Disher. She was an energetic bartender with a hard-not-to-stare movement accompanied by an even more addicting smile.
“The Dish!” Ben would nickname her never to her face.
Leslie already knew Roger which made an easy introduction for Ben.
Though Roger was in no spirit for infatuation. Roger was bummed. Like all of us can fall in the habit of doing, Roger just left from a relationship with the devil. Now all he had to talk about was how much of a headache she had given him and how he was grateful that she was (hopefully) out of his life. Leslie was cousins with this said devil woman and apparently shared a close relationship, which did not make for a good description from Roger. But their relation wasn’t developed from the same womb so Leslie couldn’t have been as crazy as Roger described her cousin, right?
Ben drank a bit much that night but not with his unemployed wage.
“What do you mean fifty dollar bar tab?”, Roger exclaimed.
Ben even gave Leslie a business card before he left, though. Now she had his number… score.
Ahhhh yes, that Leslie.
Ben looked at the clock to have it shout 5 o’clock back at him. A little late to still be up but bar hours could do that to you. Maybe she worked tonight and still had the bar sprint jitters. Ben impulsively had to jump on an invitation to see her.
He ran to his Volvo wagon on to pick her up. Leslie was hammeredly intoxicated when he arrived. She explained that she did not work that night so her excuse for being up so late was a party abundance at a friend’s birthday party. She was a champion drinker and Ben had no choice but to respect that.
Leslie explained that her roommate was obviously still sleeping and she considerably did not want to hooligan the house and wake him up.
So Ben drove them to a dead end road and sketchily parked in front of a neighborhood of houses, where the two of them smoked jazz cigarettes, drank blues pops and talked storms away. They shared a friendly collection of eye contact and maniacal laughing to the ridiculous ideas they had in common for their morning breakfast. He had to drive her back to the house so she could pick up more beers, too. Just for them to drive back five minutes later and park in the same spot to sit there and do the same things they were just doing. Any people looking from their house were undoubtedly concerned.
Leslie even played Ben a song by Phoenix he had surprisingly never heard before. So she’s into good music… score.
Leslie took Ben back to her house at 8 a.m. when the roommate had left for his job. Leslie’s story about the house she lived in didn’t really make sense to Ben and this only intrigued his suspicion.
She lived in a nice house in a quiet town. A welcoming sitting room, tidy kitchen, and a beautiful den with large televisions. They even shared a dog. The only room she didn’t show Ben was the bedrooms. He made some jokes about her being secretly married. She told him that her roommate and her were best friends since grade school and he was engaged to another girl, leaving Leslie single… score.
9 a.m. of more unsober conversation had triggered tiredness. Ben offered to bring her some b&e (bacon & eggs) after she had napped and she joyously accepted. Ben politely found his way out and drove home. He didn’t think to make a move to kiss her. These were still the beginning stages of admiring somebody. In his beatdown car or in her house while her hyper dog was present wasn’t the most convenient of opportunities, anyways. And she was hammered.
Wednesdays are always an optimistic day. Ben was full of life and still high on the experience of being high and drunk at early morning hours. He just had to tell everyone about his morning.
Yes that hot bartender from Chilly’s, The Dish!
He got a phone call saying that he had a job interview in an hour and they were wondering if he was still coming in. Ben saw it was noon and seeing that he was up four hours ago getting intoxicated, he politely rescheduled for next week and took a nap.
When he awoke, he was greeted by a series of cheerful messages. Like a couple still high on their first month of dating and not yet finding reasons to hating one another. She was funny and filled with jokes for someone who was up all night drinking. She also forgot her wallet in Ben’s car and asked him to bring it to her work that night.
“I’ll buy you a drink”, she bargained with him.
Ben distinctively remembered her strapping her purse around her chest when she left his car. Ben could not understand why her purse and wallet would be separated. The most realistic answer would be to blame it on her state of drunk.
Or maybe it was all part of Leslie’s plan to see him again? Ben fantasized to think so.
Ben and Roger went for a drink to Chilly’s, where Ben personally delivered Leslie’s wallet (which had her banana lighter in it which she also forgot).
She was friendly to see him but not as conversational as she was that morning. Work can kill a buzz like that, probably. Ben drank his bev, gracefully wished her a good rest of night and ordered to message her later.
He then went home and fell in love with her Facebook pictures.
Thursdays always look to have high hopes.
He wakes up to text Leslie a good morning but doesn’t get a response until three hours later. They arrange to go get lunch.
Ben drives her to a little dive with a great menu selection. She smokes him a joint on the way there, insists on paying for his hamburger and encourages a second on the beer. This girl was delightful.
She then had the nerve to challenge him to a game of pool. Leslie won the first but Ben got his revenge… though she sank the 8 ball. It was time for her to start her bar shift, so he accompanied her with a round of coffees and adieued her in gentleman fashion.
He felt the need to continuously text her through her shifts. Saying encouraging comments like “you look great today” and “keep up the good work”. She asked him questions as to what the name of the place they earlier ate was called, which meant she must have been telling others about their date. Ben took that as a good sign, too.
He then had a dream about swimming cows in an above-ground pool.
She tried calling him at 5 a.m. again but he was distracted with cattle in swimwear.
Fridays are the best day of the week. Everything is cheerful and society is full of compliments. Leslie doesn’t answer his morning text until 3:30 p.m. It was the kind of day for a barbecue so he hand-rolled a bundle of deliciousness in a meatball, grilled it up and delivered it to her.
The two sat in her kitchen, as Ben makes an effort to give the dog attention. The dog just probably wants to bite his arm off. She held a glitter in her eyes at the burger gesture, as she quickly ate the plate. He ate his already so spent the time making sarcastic comments about how nice it was to watch her eat.
She bought him rounds at a holey bar Ben never thought he saw himself going to. It reminded him of a B Network sitcom.
There was a Spanish man getting himself drunk in the far, dark corner. He was speaking in Spanish but with his phone closed in his hand and no bluetooth in his ear. He confronted Leslie and Ben for what he addressed as a couple and wished many good lucks to. He entitled the two as “very attractive people”, most accordingly to the fine looking lady.
He insisted on buying a round and the couple gulped their liquor cups quickly. They hurried out of the hole, as the bartender greeted them a goodbye. More importantly giving Ben a stiff handshake with an attentive eye contact and saying “take care of her”.
What was she telling everyone?
She had some time to kill before work so they threw around the football in the park. Then ran down the street to indeed another sketchy bar, Wrapper’s and played shuffleboard.
They were adventuring now… score.
Despite her again calling him at 5a.m. asking for a ride from work, he was nothing but excited for what could be a new relationship.
He drove her home, smoke a J and smilingly wished her a good night. He didn’t need to kiss her because they already felt like they had something between the two of them.
He couldn’t wait to see what more surprises she had to show him.
Saturdays are meant to be special.
Leslie made it clear that she was excitedly awaiting her day-off. She invited him over later that night to drink with her roomates (now added was yet another guy into this mysterious party house).
She revealed to him a rather curious message earlier in the day. Leslie explained to Ben that her roommate that was engaged to get married was scheduled to get married on this day… though they canceled the arrangements a month ago.
She explained that that’s why she didn’t bring Ben around the house because she wanted to avoid any weird vibes and maybe didn’t think flaunting a boy around would be appropriate around this dire time.
So was he to take that in high hopes? Or was he to see it as avoidance?
Her roommates Todd and Chest were ok guys. They liked their dance music. They also had quite the whiteboy dance moves at the hips. They thought LMFAO was a good band.
Ben was patient. He smiled at the sight of Leslie getting in party mode and had nothing but good intentions that he was going to make his point clear with her. If everyone was all mourning a sad day, then he would take everyone out to gallivant in society where the guys would PartyRockClub with new creatures and he could distract Leslie with his independent charm and entertainment value.
So they hopped in the car and drove on over to the Parliament, not necessarily a place Ben was fond of but was one that everyone else was familiar with. Despite Ben personally making an oath to not go there for a year, he gave in to see Leslie happy.
Ben was not in the soberest of states to be driving but was in the best shape out of the rest of the gang. Stupidly, Ben sped through a yellow traffic light and by the time he was halfway through, it appeared he blew a red light. Well, he was halfway there. Ben was embarrassed but nobody in the car seemed to make a fuss about it so Ben stupidly apologized and they went on as if nothing happened.
When Ben got to the bar, all his old friends were there and Ben couldn’t be more ecstatic about it. Finally, where Leslie was taking him to all her places of comfort and popular society, he was in a zone where he could be seen as the famous one.
But Leslie didn’t seem to move much. She stayed hidden away in the corner with her two roommates who were slumming in their seats and not showing many signs of liveliness. While Ben was slapping hands and catching up on friends, Leslie was playing pool and staying quiet.
And then Roger walked in with a new main squeeze. Definitely not something Ben and Roger had planned out and not something Leslie took kindly.
She didn’t make an effort to say anything to Ben but did confront Roger with a comment of “you’re an asshole” and darted for the door as Ben turned his head.
It seemed that one minute Leslie was still working on her first drink, then the next she was out the door.
Ben ran after her.
“Where are you going?” he asked confusingly.
“I need to go” she repetitively insisted.
“But I don’t understand. I don’t even like this place but I came here so I could be with you… and now you’re leaving?” he just explained the obviously currently occurring.
“My friends are really freaked out that you blew that red light” she quickly blurted out. “I had some friends that just recently got in a bad car crash and we just don’t want anything to happen”.
It was an excuse that she seemed to have held in for years and delivered it so suddenly. It was the least thing Ben had seen coming or even considered. Maybe she was right.
He let her leave and she was quick to jump in a taxi and take off with her mute roommates. Ben no longer had a reason to be in his least favorite of bars.
Ben got home and went straight to sleep, desperately not concentrating on his smorgasbord of emotions.
While he was sleeping, she texted him a fine layout of excuses.
“If I never talk to you again” it began, “don’t drive like an idiot. Life is too short for anything to happen to you like that. I think you and Roger hang around each other too much. I think you are a great person but you are terrible at reading people. I am such a caring person, why would you ever want to hurt me? Well, have a good life and I still left my car phone charger in your car”.
Sundays are the worst day of the week.
That message was a scattered scrapbook of mixed excuses. It left with with more questions then answers.
If it really bugged her, why didn’t she just tell him about the car thing instead of randomly choosing to leave? Was she even going to say goodbye if he had not seen her leaving? What did hanging out with Roger have to do with the way she felt about Ben? And what the hell did reading her have to do with anything and how would it change their night?
That morning had persuaded him most by his grumpiness. So he typed her everything on his mind and she had no response.
She didn’t say anything to him back. Ben took it as her expression of disappointment so he left her alone.
Then Roger felt the need to let Ben on every insight he was missing out on.
The reason Roger and his ex-devil-girlfriend had so many problems was based solely on her the crazy collection of emotions she would rush through caused by her addiction to cocaine. Roger had also experienced the contact of only getting attention from early hours of the morning.
“Did you think she was up every five a.m. just because she liked to miss out on sleep?” Roger realistically mapped it out.
Ben felt he could blame most of her behavior on a possible addiction but only was hurt by it as he thought about it more.
Did she only flower Ben with attention because he was the only one willing to accompany her every late night?
Was her addiction the only influence to her showing affection to Ben?
Were the roommates the influences to her habit? And what if he could take her away from her destructive lifestyle? Could he have changed her?
Ben fantasized to think so.
The week after, she still left him messages but of no subject he cared to read. He didn’t respond back, only to watch another random collection of conversation lay in front of him.
“Hey where are you? Are you done being mad? Oh Ben please come back. I’m going to have a heart attack. I wish I had a bigger rack. Then maybe you’d be back in black. Well if you’re not going to be my friend so can I have my charger back?”
Just when he had thought she was seriously furious, here she was trying to make light of the situation. Not one acknowledgement of concern as to why Ben had stopped talking to her. Not one acknowledgment to her mixed plethora of prior excuses. Not one thank you for being overly polite to her and not the rude, sexual moron her beauty was probably used to.
And what bugged Ben the most, not one apology.
Ben never needed to talk to her again.
He thinks now about how much fun “Leslie and Ben” could have been but also worries about how destructive his life would be now if he had her around.
The idea of being something with her still makes him smile, because it was the fastest growing respect and love for someone he had ever grew.
They could have been great. But she was too ahead of herself to slow down and notice him. And he was too slow to hurry up and kiss her.