Thursday, November 04, 2004

Looking for salvation at Chili's

I was headed over to my friend's house and realized that I hadn't eaten dinner yet. Knowing that my friend's refrigerator never yielded much that I wanted to eat, I pulled into the Chili's to pick up some chips and queso to go.

I was pointed to the bar by the hostess at the front. I sat down and asked for a menu. A young woman with an even younger male companion sat looking at me.

"Can I buy you a beer?" she slurred.

I looked into her inebriated eyes and saw that her question was sincere. I sat there for a second and finally said, "Sure!"

'Hey Spiderman! Get this lady a beer on me. She wants a big one!" I finally convinced her that I just needed a regular sized beer and the barkeep known as Spiderman obliged my request.

She introduced herself to me, and after we traded names, she reached out and hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. Under normal circumstances, my boundary alarms would have been sounding loudly, but something about her caused me cut her some slack.

She bummed a drag off the cigarette of the young man sitting next to her. He offered her a cigarette of her own and she replied, "Oh no, honey! I don't smoke and don't worry, I don't have cooties!"

She talked loudly about things I'm not even sure I understood for a while. She pointed out things on the menu that she liked, finally throwing up her hands and saying, "Hell, everythin' is good!"

After placing my order for chips and queso with Spiderman, the woman asked me where I was from. "Smyrna." I replied. "Well, what are you doing all the way up here?" she inquired.

As I tried to explain to her about visiting my friend, she interjected that she knew that it was none of her business, but she was just curious.

"Hey! I know!" she almost screamed, "Can I get your phone number and some day we can hang out? I'll make some chili and we can rent some movies and drink some beer - it'll be FUN!" She paused for a minute and then said laughingly said, "You think I'm crazy, don't you?"

I told her that I didn't think she was crazy. That I knew she was just having a good time. I must admit, I secretly hoped that she would forget that she asked me for my phone number.

"Do you go to church?" I replied that I do. "Well then, maybe I can go to church with you! I need to get back to church. What church do you go to?" I told her what church I go to and she said, "How do they feel about homosexuals, because that girl over there is my girlfriend - HONEY! Come here and meet my new friend!"

Spiderman looked sharply at the woman and she giggled and said, "Hey! I'm just trying to get my girlfriend over here!" She returned her attention to me, "How does your church feel about homosexuals?" I told her that my church was accepting of homosexuals.

The woman's girlfriend finally walked up and the woman quickly introduced us, "Honey, this is my new friend that I just bought a beer for and she's going to take us to church!" The girlfriend shook my hand and said, "I'd love to talk with you further, but I'm drunk, so I'm going to go sit down now."

The woman's memory was better than I hoped it would be because suddenly a bar napkin and a pen appeared in front of me. "Write down your name and number and I'll call you and we can hang out and you can take me to church." I looked into her eyes again and saw only drunken sincerity. I wrote down my name and phone number. She smiled and wrote "Church" on the napkin underneath my name.

My order arrived as I finished my beer and I started to get up to leave. The woman reached out and hugged me and then held my hands and kissed them all the while assuring me she would call.

As I drove away from Chili's I thought about the woman. I didn't feel pity for her, per se, but more of a sadness that comes from watching someone that wants so desperately to be loved.

I don't know if the woman will call me, and if she doesn't, quite frankly, I won't be heart broken. However, I hope that I had a positive effect on her for the short time that I was with her. If she remembers nothing else about me, I hope she remembers looking into my eyes and seeing sincerity.



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