Great White Buffalo….
(Great White Buffalo…..)
I have two, but we’ll save the terribly heartbreaking one for another time. This is long. Feel free to ignore.
Jamie was a brilliant lass, the kind of gal who would say “Oh bother” when she dropped a pen, and sing along to whatever song was over the Student Center PA system – and on my speech and debate team. She was an actress and had a spirit that was was rare in salty Massachusetts, a Judy Gardland kind of elegance.
So naturally she had a boyfriend that didn’t appreciate her. And he was fat and liked wrestling and wasn’t creative. Holy shit, this girl was in my league.
I had a girlfriend at the time, too but was transfixed by this dame. I suppose at the age of 20 the idea of a “crush” was pretty stupid, but I had a major one. I actually ended up getting drunk for the first time ever with her following a tournament, and she regaled me with stories of the stage and her alternating dreams of being an ASL interpreter and an Actress. But she didn’t think she was good enough to make it. Seriously, just rip my heart out now, you can have it. I felt a connection there, and I like to think maybe she got a hint of it too. How many (straight) men stay up with a gal all night talking and drinking screw drivers and blabbing about Queen and Billy Joel and Musical Theater? I was so inspired to impress this woman, I wrote a script that very night that turned into this very (bad) short film.
My girlfriend ended up cheating on me during the epic 2005 AFC Championship collapse of the Patriots against the Colts, where she faked car trouble, insisted I stayed and watch the game, and proceeded to make out for hours with a guy whose name I can’t remember that worked in the produce department of her grocery store.
Which set the stage for Texas, and a national speech and debate tournament. The week long tournament is a grind, and the last two days were spent drinking. Jamie was mighty upset with her boyfriend whom she was ‘on a break with’, and was pretty emotional the entire week. She was giddy for some of it, and there’s nothing quite like a girl laughing out loud in professional attire.
The night before the finals, Jamie knocks on our door asks if she can sleep in our room, as her roommate is busy have very loud sex with a very annoying man. My roommate and I say sure, and she takes my bed before kindly asking if I wouldn’t mind taking the easy chair. Sure. I wake up the next day and Jamie’s gone. I slip back into my bed only to awake with blood stains on my legs and Pajamas.
The roommate wastes no time teasing her about it, and I’m just meh on the whole subject, accidents happened. Who *hasn’t* gotten period blood on the bed of a guy who’s fawning after you, amirite? It explained the emotional part, at least.
The night came, and everyone begins to party, taking to the 5th floor pool, and pounding the hard stuff, ya know, Malibu Rum. The night winded down and I tried not to hover, but wanted to at least spend some time Jamie, whom by that point had been tipped off that I kind of dug the cut of her jib. I think she avoided me as she being perused by an Arminian fellow who purported to be a massage therapy major when he wasn’t hitting on another one of the teammates with promises of the kacane.
The night came to a pleasant end for me, as I made it all the way to 2nd base with a pretty neat chick from Kansas. Still…I felt like I missed my ‘shot’.
Until I got to my hotel room around 2am and saw Jamie’s Malibu rum was on the floor. Call it liquid courage or post-coital confidence, the best idea in the world at the time was to knock on Jamie’s door and let her know I had her rum.
“Jamie, I have your rum, did you want to like, drink it or something?” Sandpaper is smoother than I am.
“No, but you can come in anyway,” My heart and testicles jump out of my body and bounded downstairs to hit the hotel bar.
I don’t remember what we talked about, but she was sad, upset she didn’t make finals, upset with her life, upset the guy she was talking to chose our hot teammate over her, upset at a lot of things, PMSing, and I think I was probably the only one left on the team that was willing to listen. I was willing to listen, but instead I talked. Without telling her, I told her – she was brilliant, bright, full of life, she’s rare in these here parts, one of a kind even, the kind of girl a dorky guy dreams about (I can’t remember if I said that one).
There was a doe-eyed look to her sadness, which maybe I invented from countless movies, but it was the kind of look that said if I ‘wanted’ her, I could have her – any kind of tenderness would be welcome – even from a big, bronze medal sorta lug like me. I guess some stupid guilt complex or lesson ingrained as a kid about not taking advantage of vulnerable women gave me pause. I wanted her, I didn’t think I wanted her this way.
Before I could realize what a fucking idiotic idea that thought was, the door knocked three teammates stumbled in carrying the hot teammate who was high and drunk and crying after being led on by the Armenian fellow. After that I still carried a torch for Jamie, but I knew in my head that stars would likely never align that properly again.
I look back at this whole situation with mixed feelings. I did not feel good about being mezmerized by a girl while I had a girlfriend. I did not feel good about how single minded I was about this after me and my girlfriend broke up. When you’re crazy about someone you kind of lose a bit of sanity, and when you get it back and survey the situation with hindsight, you feel like kind of a dope.
Ultimately I’m not sure if I regret not being more direct. I think directness is the key to all perceived problems, but when you’re in college and around the same 10 people every other day, the fear of making things awkward or being “the weird one” is a real one. I’m not sure if I had acted differently in that hotel room if things would have gone differently, or if she would have given a simple not interested. But in the proverbial moment the fear of reality forces you to cherish a pleasant fantasy instead of facing what could be a harsh truth.
I did feel good knowing there were girls like Jamie *out there*, with creativity and spark and passion and kindness and whimsy. I did feel good knowing that we stayed personable and there wasn’t any real awkwardness, though it wasn’t like we were good friends, either. I feel good knowing that regardless of whatever I did, my intentions were about her as a person and not her as a body. She was gorgeous because of who she was, though I’ve been told you call the smart ones pretty and the pretty ones smart, so who knows.
I consider this not my Great White Buffalo, but a white buffalo none-the-less, a situation that could have played out differently had different things occurred, and her eyes and the black and emerald pant suit she wore on the first day of the tournament flash into my head whenever I hear a Queen song, drink a screwdriver, or write overlong posts on wrestling blogs about girls I never caught, but got away anyway. The legacy of this experience was the knowledge that there *were* girls out there for me. Smart and pretty and fun and kind, eager to be good people, eager to make something of themselves, but not so perfect they’re unobtainable.
A year later we’re at the national tournament in Illinois, I mention to her a guy who did a hilarious reading of a poem about getting old and dealing with erectile dysfunction. She meets the guy and says his reading came highly recommended. He moves halfway across the country to be with her later that year.
They’re married now.
1. Making up for lost time with two-a-QOTDs, and I figured if I’m going to over share, might as well do it with a supplementary question!