4. “Your Boobs” I said, when she asked me something I liked

Hey I was going through an honesty phase ok

* * *

It started simply enough. A nice day, a blanket on the grass in a park in Beverly Hills. A journal, a notepad, a couple beverages. A beautiful blond girl and an insecure blonde guy.

To be clear I’m not normally thought of as insecure but I’m getting better at telling the truth. In fact to others I project the opposite: A confident, risk-seeking, nomadic traveler in search of the next story, film, or place to lay my head.

And most of the time they’re right.

But not this time.

I’d met this girl at my 2nd lowest point ever regarding self-esteem and confidence — the first being my mid-20’s, when a job loss and a car loss and friends moving conspired in a perfect storm of circumstances that led to isolation and hopelessness and put me in a very dark place. Very dark.

My whole life is a darkroom. One. Big. Dark. Room. — Lydia/ Beetlejuice

How could she know I was so low?

She couldn’t. Which is why I don’t hold it against her.

If I told you you had a great body would you hold it against me?

(sorry couldn’t resist)

* * *

Back to the girl.

How do I tell about the girl without the girl accusing me of sharing too much.

Well.

Let’s just say she’d moved to town herself recently and had left the guy she’d arrived with and if I’d been less self-concerned at the time I would have seen that she was in a precarious position too. Not a bad position. Just a precarious one.

Similar to the precarious place I found myself in after I’d answered her question so honestly.

Here’s how it went down.

We’re on a blanket near the border of Century City and Beverly Hills maybe in late June. We’re not slumming it in other words. A journal for her and a drawing pad for me are spread out on the blanket and we’re getting to know each other and talking about college and choices and life and parents. You know, the things you talk about when you want to be around this new person and think you need something to talk about.

“You never say anything nice,” she said, at a pause in the conversation.

When you’re first hanging out those pauses can be killers.

“Sure I do,” I snapped quickly, not thinking of whether or not I actually had.

“Like what?” she responded.

My mind raced.

<five seconds passed>

Got one!

“Well remember you sent that picture from the beach in Jacksonville? I said you fill out your shirt nicely.” I noticed that my voice trailed off towards the end. As the words came out I knew I was already on shaky ground.

“So what does that mean? You like my shirt?” she said, her voice rising.

Now she was sitting up and looking at me like Al Pacino looking across at Bob DeNiro in Heat. Intense. Direct.

“Well not exactly” I said, knowing at that point I had overplayed my hand.

“Then what?” she demanded. She knew exactly what but she was gonna make me say it.

“What are you saying you liked?” she asked rhetorically and even more demanding.

This moment brought to you by Snickers.

— Wanna get away?

At this point it would be good to imagine the common interchange between a police officer and a teenager at a traffic stop:

“You sure you don’t have anything in this car, boy? Because if I find something and you didn’t tell me and then I do find something it won’t end well.”

And it didn’t.

“Your boobs,” I said.

The look on her face was utter shock. And man did that picnic end quickly.

The blanket was swept up and the drinks spilled and I grabbed the journal and notepad as she walked to the car. I think I may have seen a tear coming down.

I hadn’t touched the boobs but I had touched a nerve. Maybe touching the actual boobs would have gone over better.

I also didn’t remember getting caught like that by other girls. Then again other girls didn’t have those boobs.

I had the car keys so she waited before getting in but her back was to me when I clicked the thing. We drove but didn’t speak.

We got to her place and walked up the stairs and I said I’ll see you later and walked down to my car and started to drive away when my phone vibrated:

“Are you hungry?” read the text.

I drove down to Shaq’s favorite Thai food spot on Pico and brought two combo plates back to her apt. and we talked about Dylan and Petty and I said I’m sorry and once the wine kicked in she cracked a smile and said it’s fine.

* * *

The boob comment was six years ago. I saw her this Thanksgiving and we got into an argument about politics.

Would we still be together if not for the boobs comment? Maybe. Or maybe not. She’s a really sweet and good-hearted woman but with a bitchy side that seems to win out more often than not.

And maybe with boobs like that she can act pretty much however she wants.

After all, they really are amazing.

I was born in a small town to John and Priscilla. Not a pilgrim exactly just another latch-key kid obsessed with BMX and Tom Petty. Now I make films.

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