“Four ball in the side pocket” I called. It was after work beers with a few coworkers. A Friday regular occurrence that had morphed into regular outings with games of pool into the evening hours. Though facing the other direction, I sensed immediately Anna’s presence at the front door. I have heard devout catholics say they could sense the Pope entering a room without seeing it. This must have been similar. Whether a magnetism rippled through the air ahead of her or the awareness of a few guys heads suddenly and subtly turning their attention in her direction, I don’t know. But the effect was unmistakable; her presence was unmistakable.
She was becoming a regular, usually with her medical student boyfriend but this time she was alone. She joined us and fit in with our billiards games quite nicely. The place was popular and there was ample competition for the pool tables. Challenge games of doubles with winner stays on. Now, as a couple times before, she teamed with me. Also, now as before, I would play in a zone sinking winning shots and sinking better opponents. The connection was as real as it was unlikely. She, a tall striking nurse with chestnut brown hair that hung nearly to her waist – she turned heads in her wake; me, an inexperienced, habitually lovesick non-‘player’ who was excitedly being thrust into the big leagues. She was direct. I was scared but more excited than I had ever been.
It should have been clear that it was time for her to choose a mate for life and she was not sure about doctor boy. Sitting with her sipping drinks as the band played into the night, she told me she wanted to see me. Me? The doctor boy would be out of town. I was used to spending every waking moment obsessed with an overwhelming crush, but there was never any hope of more, until now. The infatuation hormones that made these lovesick feelings the end of all happiness had been turned 180 degrees. It was an adrenaline rush that didn’t end. Life, for the present, was unbelievably good.
On the first date I was to cook dinner. A pot roast with carrots and potatoes. I got instruction from my mother though I didn’t tell her why I was taking on such a culinary challenge for a bachelor. I don’t talk about personal stuff with family members. It was a fine effort all in all; of course as I served dinner she informed me she was a vegetarian – oops. It didn’t matter too much though; I sure did enjoy the making out on my couch. I couldn’t get enough of kissing a girl this stunning and really didn’t need things to progress much more than this.
I still struggled with acne flareups, didn’t have great teeth, and had a thinning spot on the back of my head. I didn’t even know this until she pointed it out. I was too dense to realize that her noticing stuff this, along with her periodically asking “ what are you thinking?” were signs that she was exploring the idea of life with me long term. She was 25 and ready to put her life on a path..
We later had dinner at her apartment. Pasta and asparagus – yum. We were going to go out but instead stayed at her place. Lots of long kisses. At the end of the evening she invited me to stay “no funny business” she added. Lots of making out and rolling around and the irrepressible question “what are you thinking’. I needed to open. I needed to take charge. I could do none of it. I became ‘soft’ after a while which made any thought of taking the plunge out of the question. I didn’t understand how I could ever be this way rolling around with the most beautiful girl in the world. Me – who day dreamed 20 hours a day about such an opportunity, me – who could jack off five times before noon on a Saturday. But this got into my head and my fate was sealed. Nervousness trumpts all sexual desire – who would have thought. I feared, and with good reason, that this would be in my head for any future opportunities. I even started to notice minor performance anxieties like being unable to pee if someone is at the urinal next to you such that the lack of the sound of a stream hitting porcelain was a giveaway for lack of performance. I thought there was a medical condition for everything but I had to give my problem it’s own name. I had cockfright and this was going to weigh on me heavily.
She didn’t completely give up on me yet. A couple of more uneventful dates including going to see CATS which I slept through. At the end of this her doctor boy roommate worked a little stakeout of his own and confronted us car to car driving down the road. I was totally wimpy and blah blah blah next thing I heard they were engaged. I guess he started looking pretty good to her after I showed her enough weakness. I would be doomed to spend many months hopelessly lovesick and feeling sorry for myself. I never would have had to look at another girl again – I almost had it all. I was so desperate I even wrote her a love letter and left it on her windshield after she was married. I let the ‘one’ get away.