We were a couple of twenty something year old men circling each other in the parking lot of a bar. I had a couple of drinks in me which is code for I wasn’t feeling any pain. Can’t tell you how much the other guy had to drink, but I guessed it would have been about the same.
He was a little bit taller than me and a whole lot dumber. We probably wouldn’t have ever been friends and under different circumstances I wouldn’t have paid any attention to him, but these weren’t normal circumstances.
He was an ex, Ann’s ex. The guy who she went out with before me. I really didn’t know a ton about him other than he was a big oaf who played baseball and had a bad temper. She had told me a few stories but I didn’t care all that much because he was history and I was the present and the future, or so I had thought.
Anyhoo, we really didn’t hang out in the same places or have any reason to interact so all we were to each other was a name. Somewhere down the road that changed. He and I ran into each other at the mall. I can’t tell why we were there or how we recognized each other, just that we did.
The way I remember it is that he kept giving me the stink eye and that eventually I glared back at him. That was enough for him to start talking trash. He started out by asking pointed questions about Ann that were supposed to show me that he knew her intimately. They were the kind of details that only someone who had been with her would know.
At first I ignored them but he kept trying to push my buttons so I decided to respond. I told him that Ann said that since he was her first she never realized how inadequately equipped he was and that I had shown her the difference between the men and the boys.
Granted it was a juvenile response but let’s face it, we were both juveniles. Ok, maybe not officially but when you take two guys and ask them to fight over a woman this is how it goes.
He turned really red and started advancing towards me. I encouraged him and promised to help make some adjustments that would alleviate his need for female companionship. We were about thirty seconds away from engaging in the big dance when mall security intervened. Two of them stood in front of him and one in front of me.
As he walked away he promised to pay me a visit and I told him to make sure to ask the manager at the sporting goods store he worked at to give him a bat to bring because we all knew he was in need.
Two weeks later the tires on my car were mysteriously slashed and the car was egged. I didn’t see him do it so I can’t honestly say that he was responsible, but I do know that when Ann broke up with him he egged her parent’s house. Maybe it was just coincidence or maybe it wasn’t.
After that there weren’t any other mysterious incidents with my car but Ann and I did run into him twice. The first time almost isn’t worth mentioning because it was really nothing more than two cars passing on the street. But the second time was at the mall and he tried to start up with me again.
Except this time his opening salvo was to call Ann a whore. I told him that his best course of action was to walk away or risk not being able to walk again. He called her a whore again and this time I didn’t say anything. I just started walking towards him.
Had Ann not grabbed me I wouldn’t have said anything. I would have walked right over and punched him in the mouth. I really wanted to, but she wrapped both of her arms around my right arm.
Hell, I ought to check that off as another example how well she knew me because she grabbed me before I started walking. I probably dragged her half the distance towards him and had it not been my concern that she would end up getting hurt it would have gotten ugly.
Not that it mattered because apparently we had a date that wasn’t going to be stopped. It took a long while for it to happen, but the big difference is that when it happened it was after Ann and I had split up.
Can’t tell you how long I had been at the bar when I spotted him but I knew when I did that I hadn’t lost any love for him. He clearly felt the same because he made his way over and immediately started in about how he knew she would dump me.
“Fuck you. We’re nothing alike. You are a big stupid oaf that she dated to piss off her parents. No one liked you. High school is long over and you have a long life of selling shoes and footballs.”
The best part of this was the look on his face. I had stung him and since I was already hurting I was happy to share my pain. When I think back I like think that Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting) by Elton John was playing on the radio, but I think that is just my writer’s brain adding to the story.
What I can tell you for certain is that there weren’t any security guards in the parking lot. I’d like to say that there were two thumps. The first was me hitting him and the second was him hitting the ground, but that is not true.
He slugged me a couple of times and we ended up wrestling on the ground, but I got the best of him and not by just a little. He called Ann a whore again and I hit him twice. I didn’t care if we had split up or not, I wasn’t going to let anyone talk about her that way.
I am not proud of that moment but I don’t really regret it either. There is a reason why her friends thought he was an asshole and that hadn’t changed.