Friday, September 12, 2014

A Text Message by Kate Sprandio

Kate Sprandio narrates a wonderfully neurotic and misguided stream of consciousness about her character's new man.

"I'll text you tomorrow, gorgeous."

That's what he said last night, Saturday, when he dropped me off. I'm almost positive he called me gorgeous. If he didn't say gorgeous then he definitely said beautiful, one of the two. It doesn't really matter what he said, the general consensus is he likes my face. He smiled when he said it, it was right after he kissed me on the cheek. My cheek is still glowing red like I was slapped, love slapped. It was our first date and it was, for lack of a greater word, "majestic." We only went to a pizza shop around the corner, but it was the most perfect pizza shop my eyes have ever seen, mostly because I was sitting face to face with him.

We met a few weeks ago at a concert. A fight broke out in the crowd right near where I was standing. I nearly got hit, that's when he stepped in and pulled me from harm.

"I've got you beautiful, don't worry," he said, as he scooped me up into his arms. He said something like that. He definitely said, "I've got you."

I asked him for his number by the end of the night. I know that's not exactly male and female protocol, but who follows rules anymore? I see nothing wrong with a girl asking a boy for his number. I texted him right after we parted ways, a girl has to make sure she wasn't given a fake number.

"Hey, it's me."

"Hey, sorry, who?"

He was so funny. Pretending he didn't know who was texting him, that's so him.

"Ya know, Jenny from the concert. Call me sometime."

"Hey yeah, for sure. Nice meeting you."

That was our first text conversation. I have it saved in my phone and I revisit it often. What a wonderful conversation it was. It was so simple, but so complex if you really study the subtext. "Nice meeting you" could translate to "It's nice that I've finally found you."

It's Sunday now. He said he would text me in the afternoon. Well, he didn't say afternoon, but when he said I'll text you tomorrow I can only assume he meant the afternoon. I wouldn't expect him to text me on a Sunday morning. Who texts on a Sunday morning? Well, I do. I text anytime of day really - morning, noon, or night - but he may not be like that. He may not want to seem too desperate or want to disturb my sleep. That's so kind of him.

I wouldn't want to disturb him either. Being a young man who goes to school and works all week, he probably enjoys sleeping in on a Sunday. He's in college and works downtown. I don't really remember what he said he studies or what his job entails. He went on and on about it, but I was fixated on watching his lips move. I noticed how the right side of his face curls up when he smirks and his head tilts slightly to the side that his face is curling. He also cracks his knuckles a lot while he's speaking, probably a nervous habit. I have the same one.

The only part I remember about his job is he interns at an important office and he wears a suit. What a man. I bet he looks good in a suit. His broad shoulders would fit nicely in a jacket. I can't wait to go out to a fancy dinner with him and wear his jacket when I get chilly on our walk home. I just know he'll be that guy.

I, being a young woman, need to catch up on my beauty sleep after a night out with a dapper gentleman such as him, so I wouldn't want to be awakened by a text message early in the morning. It's been proven teenagers need more sleep than infants. Even though I did get up rather early this morning, 8am, early for me at least. I couldn't sleep from all the excitement of last night. He's just wonderful! I could even go as far as saying he's perfect, perfect for me.

I do wonder why he didn't say he'd call me. Is calling passé now? I suppose it is. My own mother and father don't call me anymore, they text me.

"Hey sweetie! I just watched the Ellen Show it made me lol. Mom"

"J, can you pick up trash bags at the market? Thanks. -D"

Texting is the new thing with everyone and I want to keep up with the new things. I'm typically behind on trends. There was a trend at school where everyone wore bracelets made from candy wrappers. I went home and took weeks to construct the greatest candy wrapper necklace, only to come to school and realize I was three weeks late on the trend. Everyone had moved on to bracelets and necklaces with bottle caps. But he doesn't need to know that.

I don't want him thinking I'm old school and want to blab to him about my girl-gossip over the phone and use up all his weekend minutes. I know boys don't like hearing about girl-gossip. And he's in college so he's probably trying to save money. I don't want to be annoying right off the bat. I'll wait a little longer for him to find my annoying side, which of course I don't really have.

Phone calls will be appropriate when we've been going out longer, like a few months. We technically haven't been dating very long, considering we've only gone on one date. However, it could be argued that the night we met was a date since we spent the evening together after he saved me. I'm assuming we're an item, but it's not like he's exactly asked me to be his girlfriend. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure they do that anymore.

The last guy I dated just called me his "shorty." I never really understood that nickname considering I'm average height. He just did it to seem more "gangster" I guess. I've always wondered what those gangster guys do if their girlfriend is taller than them. Do they say, "Yo, this is my tally?" That just sounds absurd. We met outside of a convenience store.

I ended that after a few weeks over text message.

"This isn't working anymore. I can't be your shorty."

"Okay, peace."

That was pretty harsh. Pretty sure there's a song about how you don't text message break-up, but he didn't seem to be affected by it. The relationship only lasted four weeks. I didn't follow any dating rules with him, so maybe I should follow rules with this guy. Well, if I'm following rules then I've already broken two by getting his number and texting him first. I don't have to count those two times.

I guess texting me is better than Facebook messaging me, or even worse tweeting at me. That's so indirect and not as intimate as a text message. Facebook is all about telling everyone everything. I wonder if we'll go "Facebook official" after he officially asks me face-to-face. Will he want it to be on Facebook? I wouldn't mind posting it on the Internet. My philosophy is to share life with everyone. Some people do say if it's not on Facebook it's not real, but I don't want to be one of those people and he doesn't seem the type. If he wants to though, I'll do it. I'd like people to see who my boyfriend is.

I must admit that I did tweet about him the night we met.

"Met my dream guy tonight."

He can't see it though, because he doesn't follow me... yet. He probably doesn't have a Twitter anyway and maybe it would be best if he didn't. He's a college man, much too sophisticated for a Twitter.

I check my phone again after not looking for twenty minutes. I need to make sure the sound is turned up. Yes, volume is all the way up and his ringtone is set. I have a special ringtone for him, but I didn't tell him that because that might scare him. It's that song, "You Make My Dreams Come True" by Hall & Oates. What a classic song. I wonder if he likes Hall & Oates. So far he has made my dreams come true. I mean rescuing me in a crowd of people is something out of a dream.

I don't want to tell him that though, then he might start having nightmares about me and I don't want to be a nightmare to him. I want to make his dreams come true too. I want to be the one person he can tell everything. Only me though, he won't need anybody else when he has me.

I would text him, but after texting him the first time immediately following the concert my friends warned me to never do it again. They say I have to let him text me. Men are hunters; they enjoy the chase. I don't agree with that because how is he supposed to know I'm interested if I don't contact him? How is he supposed to know to like me back if he doesn't know if I like him?

What was that? I heard a noise. I check my phone. Nope. Nothing. Sometimes, when I'm waiting for a call or text I think I hear it go off. I'll just leave it in my bedroom and go downstairs for a while. Occupying my mind with something else will make the time go faster. I'll go on the computer and check Facebook. That always occupies at least an hour or three of my time. We became Facebook friends the day after we met. I'm a little ashamed to admit I found him and friend requested him first, but he accepted just 22 hours later, I think that's a sign. I mean he didn't have to accept my friend request, he could have easily denied it.

He could have started a poke war with me, although, it may be too early in our relationship to poke. I don't want to rush anything, taking it slow is a good idea. I'm sure he believes that too. I'm sure we'll poke somewhere down the line. He also could have written on my wall or put me in his status, "I had the greatest night of my life with the best girl I've ever met!" That would be a flattering status. Let's see, here's his page.

"Billy is tired."

Why would he want people to know he's tired? Maybe that's code for, "I had a great night last night." That's got to be it. People are constantly writing encrypted messages as their Facebook statuses. Aw, his profile picture is so cute. It's him with his little sister at a family Christmas party. At least it looks like it's a family Christmas party and I'm guessing she's his little sister. There's a Christmas tree behind them and presents, and it looks like old people sitting on a sofa to the left, probably his grandparents. They look like such nice people. They're smiling without even knowing they're in the picture. They must be happy together. I can't wait to take a picture like that with him. I just know once our relationship progresses we're going to have so many pictures of us on Facebook. If he's from a happy family that means he's a happy guy, which means we'll be happy.

I can see the two of us walking down the street with our arms wrapped around each other's backs, hands in each other's butt pockets.

"Jenny, a senior in high school, walking with a college man?" That's what the girls at school will say. I'll just smile and nod, owning my prize, looking forward to so many beautiful days ahead of us. I'll go to all of his college parties and formals and he'll tell all his friends, "This is the one." Many girls will hit on him, but he'll scowl at them like the animals they are, and come home to me. When we both graduate, from the same college of course, we'll move away to the beach to start a family. He'll be a successful business owner selling boats. I prefer a man who can be his own boss. Meanwhile, I will be home with the children, while maintaining my clothing business, Jenny's Jumpers. We'll have six children, three boys and three girls, just to be even. Jimmy, Josh, Jason, little Jenny, Julie, and Jessica. They'll be the most brilliant looking children. They'll have his dark hair and chiseled features with my hazel eyes, genetic jackpot. He has a few pictures of himself on Facebook as a child, what a cute child he was. I was a pretty cute child so it's only natural that we would produce decent looking children.

I'll just scroll down and see what kind of friends he has. Hmmm, a lot of girls have written on his wall; I wonder if I have fierce competition. One of them said, "Great party the other night." Did he have a party? If she said the other night that means it was recent like this past week, possibly Friday. That's why he couldn't go out Friday. I specifically requested we go out on Friday to allow him to take me out again on Saturday.

That's okay if he had a party and didn't invite me. We're not official yet, after all, at least not official enough that he is required to bring me everywhere. Plus, I was busy on Friday night. I had to dog-sit, so there. I couldn't have gone anyway.

"Hey I'm throwing a party and it'd be awesome if you could come."

"Sorry, I have a previous engagement, thank you for the offer."

He also could have gone to a friend's party and not wanted to reveal me just yet. That's understandable. He wants to wait for the perfect moment to reveal his new love interest. That's a big deal and I appreciate him waiting. But I'm sure I would have been a big topic of conversation at that party.

I'll just click "view friendship" to see if he responded to her wall post. Nope, just what I thought, he didn't respond. Sorry Sally, Billy is all mine. Her profile picture is her doing a keg stand. How un-lady like. I would never make that my profile picture, or do a keg stand at all, unless of course Billy asked me to do one. I trust that he knows what's right for me.

I'm going to check my phone again. It's half past noon. He's got to be awake by now. No messages. Maybe my phone doesn't have good service. I'll stick it in the window. Sometimes if I set it in the window the service increases. I'll bring it downstairs and place it in the window while I make some lunch. He's probably getting a shower, that's a good sign. Good hygiene is an admirable trait in a young man. Last night he smelled like my two favorite things, oranges and chocolate. I have no idea what cologne it was, but the scent is still lingering in my nostrils.

I'll turn on the TV for a little bit while I eat. HBO usually plays some good movies on a Sunday afternoon. Let's see, channel 301. He's Just Not That Into You. This movie is filled with neurotic people who don't know what they're doing when it comes to love. Maybe he hasn't texted me because he isn't that into me. I am sort of acting like that one girl in the movie who freaks out over all the guys by obsessing over every little detail. She even goes as far as "accidentally" bumping into them. I wouldn't do that. But she is the one who ends up with the guy at the end, so even if I am similar to her I will end up with Billy. I'm much cooler and calmer about all of this than she is though, but then does that mean I won't end up with him? I really don't care all that much if he texts me. There are over six billion people on the planet and probably half of them are men and millions of those live within at least a hundred miles of me, so chances are I'll meet at least one of them.

"And how, I can't explain. But you make my dreams come true."

There it is! I jump off the sofa and run to the window. It's him. I grab my phone and stare until my eyes burn, my hand turns white from clutching it so hard.

"Billy: Text Message."

I run up the stairs to my bedroom. I have to be in my room when I open it. It's important where you're sitting when you receive a text message from a male, especially a new male. It's such a nice memory to look back on when you've been together for a long time.

"Ah yes, I remember where I was when I received one of the first text messages from your father, children." I'll probably have to explain to them what a text message is. By then, they'll probably have hologram messages.

I almost don't want to open it. Oh, I can only imagine what it says. "Hey beautiful, last night was great. What are you doing today? I can think of nothing better than spending more time with you." Yes, that's definitely what it says.

I throw my stuffed animals off my bed and sit down. I prop up the pillows behind my back to get comfortable. There really is nothing worse than sitting in an uncomfortable position when you're texting. We could be texting for hours or maybe he'll even call me after we text! Here it goes. I slide my finger across the screen, the message pops open.

"Hey. How are you today?"

What a great word hey is. It's just sublime, is what it is. And he asked me how I am. It blows me away how considerate he is. There is nothing more considerate than asking a girl how she is. I could go on for hours telling him how I am and how I've been thinking about him since the moment I left his side and how I want nothing more than to gaze into his eyes for hours.

I look up from my phone, breathe a sigh of relief and attempt to control my excitement. I close the text message and toss my phone on my bed. I'll text him back soon. I don't want to seem too desperate.

10 comments:

  1. really first class. loved it. especially the last line! super!

    Michael McCarthy

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow - what a fun story! Really well done. Thoroughly enjoyed this!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The end scene takes that one giant step to making this story even more appealing than it already has been to that point. I would guess that end scene was Kate's target. The rest was the well-paved road she constructed to get there. She knew her character well and gave her all the nuance she could muster. Well done and enjoyable and so true.

    James Shaffer

    ReplyDelete
  4. Such good narration, great story!

    Charlotte Hayden

    ReplyDelete
  5. Brilliant story! What a superb evocation of the internal conversations we have after meeting someone new - and our capacity to go from zero to a thousand miles an hour in a nano second. Sharp well observed, and excellently communicated. Thank you,
    Ceinwen Haydon

    ReplyDelete
  6. "I don't want to seem too desperate."

    Ha, ha. Good story, good ending.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very well done. Among other things, serves as a cautionary tale about assumptions and expectations. Loved it.

    Oscar Davis

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ms. Sprandio brilliantly captures the narrator's neurotic voice here. I can't help but feel a twinge of pity for Jenny as she struggles to fit in with her classmates (spending so much time constructing the candy wrapper necklace). If her oblivion to reality weren't certain to set her up for disappointment, it would almost be endearing. The story ending is fantastic, a sardonic way to sum up Jenny's self-absorption.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This was a fantastic read, Kate! Last year a Kurdish girl asked me to go out with her and see a play. I got too excited and kept sending her text messages. I sent her three text messages in the morning, three in the afternoon, and three at night. Unfortunately, she didn't like it and we broke up before seeing the play!

    ReplyDelete