Continued from last week's story 'What I Thought I Said'
"Say it again...what you just said, 'cause surely I didn't hear you right the first time!"
Tiny lightning bolts streaked across her darkened eyes and I swear I caught a glimpse of smoke billowing from her nostrils as Leslie the mail lady sent a half eaten banana split spinning across the table, splattering whip cream all over the Dairy Queen napkin holder.
I cleared my throat cautiously and spoke in a whisper as I struggled to force air into my lungs.
"Leslie, I asked you if you would like to go with me to that country bar up in the city this weekend and maybe dance?" I swallowed hard awaiting her next storm surge.
As I feared, she leaned across the table bringing me into swatting range and with a curled lip she responded.
"The last place on this planet I want to be is in a bar! Men in bars are sorry!"
She said it with such emphasis that little spit droplets escaped from her lips as she accented the word 'SORRY.' Then, just in case I missed the whole sentence, she repeated it again, with more spit spewing from her pretty lips. Her head began to bobble like a bobble head doll as if she just had a new revelation.
"Matter of fact, men, in general, are sorry! Men only want one thing!"
And there it was. We men have heard it all our lives..."Men only want one thing!" We have heard it all our lives from those who think they know us best...women. But, doggone it, they always stop right there. They never tell us what exactly that ONE THING is. So, here we are, us men wandering hopelessly around in a stupor, trying to figure out just what women think we want. Hell, we're so busy worrying about that, we ain't even got time to think about what women want...
"And let me make something else crystal clear, mister! I come with baggage. My kids and I are a package deal. We do everything as a family! Ain't no man going to drag me away from my children. Kids can't go to a bar! What are you thinking?"
My eyes veered from side to side at people sitting nearby, staring intently, eavesdropping.
"Oh! And no man is getting in my britches until he puts a ring on my finger and my name on his checkbook. Been there and done that and got the kids to prove it!"
I knew my face had to be beet red and I was very aware that every Dairy Queen patron had their eyes fixated on me, awaiting my next move. I had to play the man card.
"I don't want in your britches. I just wanted to take you out dancing. Most women would jump at the chance to go out dancing. I'm sorry I pushed your button...sorry I asked you out. Believe me, I am really sorry I asked you out."
"Hiiieee, you two!"
I glanced up over my shoulder into the most beautiful blue eyes in west Texas.
"Hi, Jacy." I wanted to die right there. Jacy Morrow of all people had witnessed my public humiliation.
"I was just sitting over there," she pointed a finger at a booth behind me, "and I looked up and saw you and...what's your name, mail lady?"
Not waiting for an answer, she continued, "I must say the two of you really make a great looking couple! So, mail lady, are you taking good care of my man? 'Cause I don't loan him out to just anyone. He's a special guy and I can't have women kicking him around. I must say, girl, that you look really...um, you've got a blob of whip cream on your upper lip. Well, I just wanted to say 'hi' since I don't see you much anymore, Rusty. I best get back to my DQ Dude."
Jacy patted me on the shoulder as she turned to leave.
I grabbed my hat and scooted across the bench. Leslie, speechless, followed my lead.
We walked across the parking lot in utter silence, Leslie finally speaking.
"Who is she to you? Have you two ever dated?"
I shook my head, "No, never went out with her. That's just Jacy being Jacy."
As I began veering off toward my pickup, Leslie slowed her pace, finally stopping in the middle of the parking lot, staring at me as I made my retreat.
I paused and looked over my shoulder reluctantly.
"You wanna come over to the house Saturday night and watch a movie?" Her eyes were clouded with doubt as she spoke.
Truthfully at that very moment, I couldn't care less if I ever saw Leslie the mail lady again. I eyed her as she stood there in the Dairy Queen parking lot like a desperate little school girl crushing on the star quarterback.
'Do yourself a favor and tell her no,' my mind whispered in my ear. Then I saw the tear resting gently on her cheek.
"Sure, sounds good."
"Jack," I began as the barber tilted my head to the left, "a woman told me yesterday that men only want one thing. What one thing is it that we want?'
The man sheared a healthy portion of my hair off as he pondered my question.
"I just want football season to start. I think my wife does too. I quit pestering her for sex when football season kicks off."
I pursed my lips and nodded my head in deep thought.
"Naw, I don't think football is the right answer, Jack. It's gotta be more than that."