The One That Got Away
I walked into the party, like I was walking onto a yacht.
On that enchanted evening, I saw a stranger across the crowded room.
She no doubt noticed my confident swagger and could not keep her eyes off me. I felt self-conscious as she undressed me in her mind. I hoped it was not obvious to the other young men in the room. It would hurt their feelings and cause jealousy. It was not my fault. I could not help it, a victim of my own attractiveness.
I was in college, a college man among college boys. Some of those boys were bad boys. They were wild and immature. They had invited me to go with them across the river, crossing the state line for immoral purposes — to see Miss Nude Universe, who was appearing at some bar. They wanted me to chaperone them, I suppose. They probably recognized my maturity and wanted me with them to keep them out of trouble. Plus, it was my 21st birthday. They invited me to a night of celebration. I accompanied them simply to be polite. Little did we know how this evening would forever change the life of Miss Nude Universe.
As I said, she was drawn to me. She was oblivious to the cheering crowd. She only wanted to get closer to me, the man of her dreams. She danced over to where my rowdy friends were sitting with me. They were enthralled. I was cool. I was like a character in a Louis L’Amour western novel — strong and self-assured, not looking for trouble, but ready for it if it came my way. I’d been around, you know. As I said, I was cool. Like always.
I remained cool, playing hard to get. The reverse psychology worked. Miss Nude Universe skillfully removed her garter (see, despite the title Miss Nude Universe, she was not allowed to actually be nude under local ordinances, probably, and at least had a garter, but that is really all I recall of her attire) and handed it to me. She wanted me to have it as a memento of our time together.
It is so, as they say today, AMAZING that she picked me. It was as if she intuitively knew that it was my birthday. What a sensitive person! What a big heart! And, um, nice clavicles.
To her great disappointment, I left without conversing with her, without so much as a “Howdy do.” I left without giving her my telephone number. Poor thing! I see now that it was very rude of me to take her garter without giving her my number.
I did not realize the implications at the time, but I have since learned that in many cultures the offer of one’s garter is a marriage proposal. I am ashamed of breaking her heart. It was hard for her to meet a nice guy in a dive like that. I was her chance for a better life. I am pretty sure that was what she was thinking. She did not say it in so many words, but I could see it in her eyes, if I had looked into her eyes. If I had looked at her lips, I would have seen her mouth the words, “Call me.”
Somewhere, despite the passage of decades, I imagine that the former Miss Nude Universe is reminiscing about that night I came into her life, accepted her garter, letting her believe we were engaged, and then left too soon, leaving her only with unfulfilled longings.
Somewhere, the former Miss Nude Universe is thinking about me every day. She is thinking about THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY. She needs to get over me. I hope that, with proper psychotherapy and compassionate counseling, the artist formerly known as Miss Nude Universe will be able to move on, like I have.
I, on the other hand, am glad that I saved myself for Sugar, my trophy wife. She was worth the wait. She was not Miss Nude Universe, but I am glad about that. Plain old Miss Texas is good enough for me. Sugar is someone you can bring home to meet Mama. Miss Nude Universe? Not so much. Miss Sugar back in the day (80s). Notice she is fully clothed.Sugar’s selfie yesterday without make-up. She has not changed much in 30 years since Miss Texas days. She is even more fully clothed.The present day Miss Sugar is pictured with her trophy husband, who did not want to get away. We are both fully clothed. I have been an unsigned NFL free agent for as long as I have known Sugar. Some things never change. Except my time in the 40 and my weight. Next year I hope to be signed by the Broncos. It is a waiting game. Another 30 or 40 years and this opportunity just might work out. And when the call comes, I will be ready. I suspect that Miss Nude Universe saw that big NFL contract coming and just wanted to use me. She did not really love me. Miss Sugar has stuck with me even without that contract.