“The course of true love never did run smooth.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by William Shakespeare.
A few months later, Vic told me Molly had moved back to L.A.
“Was it because of the oil thing?”
“Nah. She rearranged my apartment. I told her she should’ve asked first.”
“Well, yeah. Did she say why she did it?”
He pitched his voice high. “You don’t like it? But it looks so chic now.”
“Chic, huh? And what did you say?”
“You didn’t check with me. Please put everything back where it was. That pissed her off.” He shrugged. “She said I had no style, phoned a hair salon in California, and got her old job back.”
It was all about what she wanted. Vic’s like me. He wants to communicate. My pulse raced like a freight train at the news of Molly’s departure, but I tried to look sad. “Sorry. I know it hurts when a relationship goes south.” Did Billy’s reticence mean our relationship was in its death throes, too?
“Nah. I’m cool. First she keeps my cash, then she turns my pad into girly chic. Enough already.”
I thought Molly was a fool to pass up a chance for intimacy with Vic. Wish I felt as secure as Vic does to assert myself. Wish I could talk to my lover as freely as I can to my friend.
On the 4th of July, Billy got fired from his longtime lifeguard job. He plopped into a chair beside me and grabbed my hand. “I’ve given up on finding another job on Oahu.”
Anxiety made me slightly nauseous. Was he serious? I almost fainted when he said he would move to his cousin’s house on Maui.
Tears poured down my cheeks. “You’re leaving me,” I whimpered. My gut cramped. Abandoned. Again.
He frowned. “I might come back.”
Robin was the one friend I told about Billy leaving. Nibbling on cookies in her kitchen, I cried, “We’ve lived together for five years. He was my only faithful boyfriend.”
Robin shook her head. “I always thought you could do better than that angry bum.” She hugged me. “You’ll get over him, you’ll see. Maybe now you and Adonis…”
That revived me. Wait a minute. Of course! Vic’s here and single like me.
A couple of weeks later, I summoned the courage to confide in Vic. “Billy split to Maui. Please don’t let the guys know.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Why not?”
“I don’t want the playboys in the station thinking I’m up for grabs because I’m living alone.”
He raised the other one. “Like who?”
“Like Pete and Stan. They made it clear, if Billy’s ever dumb enough to leave me, I should—”
“Yeah? Well…okay.” He crossed his heart. “Mum’s the word.”
Three weeks later, on a Saturday night, I drove to Vic’s apartment. I had casually mentioned, now that Billy was gone, I missed going to movies but I didn’t like going alone. Vic offered to go with me, and asked his fireman pal Tony and Tony’s girlfriend Annie to come along.
My excitement had me trying on everything I owned before settling on new blue jeans and an embroidered top. But anticipation turned to disappointment when Vic drove me straight home after the movie. He shook my hand, smiled, and said he’d had a good time.
“Me, too.” Actually, sitting beside him in the theater had been too unnerving for me to fully enjoy myself. Wanting to touch him, but not daring to lest I scare him away, kept me jittery. I was glad for the darkness hiding the glow from my flushed cheeks, and for the movie soundtrack that masked the intense pounding of my heart, like a Taiko drum leading men into battle.
“I’m heading to Pete’s pad, to play poker, down some suds.” He waved as he drove away.
I could have stayed with him the entire evening. Why didn’t he want to stay with me? In my apartment, I sobbed as my Prince Charming fantasy withered. Well, I tried to console myself, Vic’s friendship enhances my life more than any man-woman relationship I’ve known.
The following morning, black clouds blanketed the sky. Vic didn’t drop by the alarm room that day, or the next, or the next. Bewildered and anxious, a sense of dread filled me. Had I somehow turned him off during the movie? Two weeks later, I spotted him at the drinking fountain in the airfield truck stalls and hurried over to say hello.
He frowned. “You talk too much.”
Huh? What was he talking about? Why was he blaming me without asking me if I’d said something? Especially after he’d shared his resentment toward Molly for rearranging his apartment without asking. The asphalt beneath my feet seemed to melt until I no longer stood on solid ground. My breath caught in my throat. I just stared.
Vic wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, glared at me, and strode away.
Ever had a romance go from good to fair, to bad, to worse? Please leave me a comment.