We Almost Never Met

It was about 9pm on a Friday night. Donald, a good friend from high school, was in town from his new job in Hawaii. I could barely make out his invitation over the noise of the pounding music and shouted drink orders at the bar when he called. I was in my pajamas, my hair still wet from the shower, did I really want to drive down to the beach for a drink in a noisy bar? Reluctantly, I pulled out a pair of cutoff shorts and a blank tank top, threw on my Rainbow sandals and haphazardly ran the blow dryer over my hair. “I should go out,” I thought to myself. After all, I was 21, it was Friday, and Donald had come all the way from Hawaii.

Pacific Beach on a Friday night is a zoo. Street parking was non-existent, so I pulled into a lot and paid my $3 for two hours of parking. When I arrived at the designated bar there was a line out the door. It was my biggest pet peeve about clubs or bars, or clubby bars. I hated lines. Like seriously? What’s so great about this place that I have to wait in line just to get in? I could walk right into the little dive across the street (and probably get cheaper drinks). Donald was already inside with his friends, so I called and explained that there was no way in HELL I was standing in line. He came out and tried to sneak me in, to no avail. We made a detour to the uh… classy little tavern on the corner for some vodka tonics. I could already tell Donald was sufficiently wasted.

After a drink or two we returned to the original rendezvous point. The line was gone so I agreed to go in. $5 cover. Fuuuuck that. I feel the same way about covers as I do about lines. Drunk Donald graciously paid my cover so I could join the group. A few guys he knew from high school, one I had met before. Some blond girls.

A few more drinks in and Donald became obnoxious. His inhibitions lowered, he attempted to make a pass at me. I deflected, explaining that I was trying to salvage the tattered remains of my college relationship. He persisted. I defended. He announced to the bar, “She has a boyfriend everyone!” The color rose in my cheeks. I needed some space. I sat next to this blond guy, one of Donald’s high school lacrosse teammates. He was quiet, mostly alone and refreshingly not drunk. I spilled everything. Everything I hated about clubs and bars, how my relationship was crashing and burning, how in my tipsy haze he kind of looked like Kevin Bacon (I had no idea what I was thinking), how freaking annoying Drunk Donald was. Then Drunk Donald got kicked out and they had to leave.

The next morning I had a Facebook message. The sender thought I was cute and sweet, wished me the best of luck in my relationship, but left a phone number just in case I wanted to give him a call in the future. It was from a name I recalled but couldn’t put a face to. Tristan. The lacrosse kid from the bar.

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