There are a lot of things in life I can say "I just know" to. Like, whenever I tell Mrs. C that someone in work or school flirted with me, I just know she'll ask when would be a good time for her to pay a visit (being about 1/3 Venezuelan - don't hold me to the math - her first instinct whenever her territory is encroached upon is to "cut-a-bitch"). Again, whenever I talk to Big Momma C, I just know the conversation will eventually go to the grandbabies - or lack thereof that we've provided so far (one of my younger sisters has already provided three but me being her first born and only son makes her especially eager). Also, I just know that, nine out of ten times, whenever I leave for work the stray dog that sleeps in front of the apartment building we live in will embarrassingly follow me for half a block jumping and playing and making sure everyone knows it's me she's following.
WARNING! The following is a sappy, sentimental tale of a boy meeting his first love which may-or-may-not result in a boredom induced coma:
Fourteen years ago I was a teenager working in the upstairs office of a local fabric store. I was a gopher/messenger and would usually be out delivering and collecting things for the office. Often when things were slow upstairs I was asked to go down into the store itself to lend the girls a hand. In retail, I noticed several girls come and go. Some were attractive some weren't. Some were "DAMN!!!" fine. You know, the kind that leave you having to wipe the drool off the side of your mouth when they walked by. Being a teenager, of course I objectified women sexually (one day I hope to eventually figure out how not to). But, I digress. There were some that were friendly and talkative and some I became friends with. But, since I was shy and awkward (and clueless) none of these friendships became anything more than that.
Until one day, when I had just returned from one of my gopher runs I stood one of the street entrances just for a few seconds, looking in. It was September. The Christmas season was about to begin and soon there would be barely any room in the store to stand with all the women - with tired and frustrated husbands in tow - looking to buy new fabric for their traditional Christmas curtains and table cloths. Then, something zipped passed me and quickly disappeared into the lobby which lead to the upstairs offices and storerooms. I only saw her for a second. She was petite, even shorter than I was and really damn cute. One of the porters assigned to help the salesgirls with the heavy lifting was close by and I did something I never did before: I asked about her.
"That's the new girl. She started today." was his reply. He didn't know her name. All he knew was that she worked the same table as K. (K was the only male sales clerk and the store's resident drag queen. K would proudly show the guys and girls photos of himself decked off in evening gown and wig. He wasn't too convincing, though. I think, maybe, it was because he refused to shave his mustache.)
But, I digress again. As I was saying, this girl caught my eye in an unusual way. I learned her name in our first conversation that day. It was unique. To this day I've yet to actually meet someone with the same name. We'll call her Diva for now. It's a nickname I gave her because of her amazing singing voice and because she could be a bit of a brat, when she was ready.
Unknown to me was that I caught also her eye as well. And, unknown to us both, our mutual attraction was noticed by K and his merry band of gossips long before we knew the feeling was mutual. Because they thought we'd make a cute couple - and because working in a fabric store leaves you with little much else to do - they hatched a plan to get us together. It was a pretty simple plan. The guys would drop hints that she was asking about me. K and the girls would always send Diva to the storeroom for stock and suggest I go with her to help with the heavy lifting. This left us usually alone on the poorly lit, abandoned floors of the building looking for toweling or tablecloths (before your imaginations run wild and you get revved up I'll dispel any illusions here and now. We just talked... Honest!).
Anyway, it wasn't very long before asking her out became the obvious decision. Being a shy, awkward, introvert I must admit I took my sweet time to work around to it. I'll admit it, I was insecure, but I decided to go for it. I decided to ask her out after work one Saturday in October. We were repacking a table and talking. It was now or never for me. I couldn't keep putting it off. I felt my nerves on edge.
Me (to myself): "Dammit, man! Stop being a little bitch and do it already." I imagined slapping myself in the face a few times since I figured doing it for real would diminish my chances somewhat. I took a deep breath and opened my mouth to say the words when she suddenly interrupted me.
Diva: "You want to meet in the pizza place around the corner after work?"
I won't go on to tell you about our adventures during our seven years of dating until, one day, we just knew it was time to tie the knot and Dive became the Mrs. C we know today (you're welcome).
Even to this day, Mrs. C asks me what it was that attracted me to her. I try to think up an explanation but the truth is it was one of those things I just knew.