What? How was I supposed to know?
One minute I’m playing with a perfectly fine red nosed pit bull and the next thing I know the dog’s person is flirting with me. Tall. Handsome. With a thick Irish brogue. Right off the bat he asks if I’m married & I ask the same thing right back. Please note, we are standing directly in front of his building. Directly. So I believe him when he says no.
We chat briefly, he asks if he can take me out –
I don’t know, maybe. Is this your dog? Yes ’tis.
Are you married? Still no, he says
Is this where you live? ‘Tis.
I give him my number and walk away thinking “Well, wasn’t that nice?” and head on my merry way to cast my vote in the mayoral election, making the day November 3rd. As I walk away I pass a woman just 50 feet away or so talking on her cell phone, with a heavy Irish brogue. How odd, I think. I live in a neighborhood where the primary languages are Spanish & Hindi and the primary skin color is brown. I’m aware I have a bad habit of attracting married men, but this could be a sister or a daughter. I also have a bad habit of making excuses for people who don’t deserve them.
When we talk on the phone I ask Eddie Irish about the woman. His sister is in the Bronx and he has no daughter and no wife, he says, again. He seems nice and attentive and we walk his dog together in the neighborhood. Everyone seems to know him and he seems to know everyone. I stop thinking about the woman with the Irish brogue.
We set a date for a Saturday night. He cancels it that Friday, saying he forgot his nephew’s bachelor party and his sister is driving him up to Yonkers and he’s spending the night. Can we see each other for coffee and sammiches during the week and go out the following Saturday and do I remember how he loves to dance? We stay on the phone for a half and hour or so.
And that is the last time I hear from him.
The week goes by and I think he’s blowing off the coffee & sammiches and saving his energy for a possible hot Saturday night where he thinks he might get lucky. Then Saturday comes and goes and I still don’t hear from him. I wonder if he just changed his mind about how cute I am and is too much of a coward to say so. I wonder if he fell in love and ran off with a stripper from the bachelor party. I wonder if he lied and it’s not his ex-wife who is the alcoholic, but him and he’s off on a bender.
I wonder what is wrong with me that he suddenly lost interest.
By Sunday dinnertime, I’m thinking maybe I’m wrong about it all. I worry about him and about the dog. Maybe there was a terrible car accident and won’t I feel awful thinking all these bad thoughts if he’s laid up unconscious in the hospital or dead. I worry that maybe the red nosed pit was left locked in the apartment and will starve if that’s the case. I call his cell phone and leave a message.
Monday evening. I pass by his house and buzz the buzzer, wondering if his sons are there cleaning out their dead father’s apt. Or, what if a woman answers and it’s his wife and? Or, no one will answer and another tenant will come by and say “Oh, no. Eddie got hit by a car. It was all very sad.”
I buzz again. “Yes?” The brogue is unmistakable.
“Eddie? You’re home? I thought maybe you got runover by a train…”
“No. I’m fine. I’ll talk to you later. Goodbye,” he says quickly, then cuts off the intercom.
I stand in front of the building gauging how I feel about this, (calling him a shitfucker repeatedly in my head so that’s probably how I feel) convinced that there is definitely a wife involved here somehow. I live three blocks away. I am equally insulted for us both, myself and the wife of Eddie Irish.
He peeks his head out from the basement gate. Looks both ways, then calls my cell phone. He’s trying to get back together with his wife, he says. He’s in a heap o’trouble, he says. Please, he begs.
I know what that “Please” means. It means “I’m a weak and cowardly man and please don’t make things worse for me than they already are.” I’m suddenly sure of a few things. I’m sure he’s the drunk in the family and that’s why she left him, not the other way around like he tells the story. I’m sure that was her that first day I met him. And I’m sure glad I didn’t let him come up and smooch me all over that first night he tried.
My picker is still crooked, but my fences are stronger.