PREVIOUSLY WRITTEN ON HIGH SCHOOL NORMALITY
"What can I get you?"
"I find myself not so much in the mood for coffee."
"I can't believe you still haven't talked to her. I mean, it's been three weeks."
"The Coffee Plantation girl? Yes."
"Just go up and talk to her."
"Seriously, dude, she was RIGHT FREAKIN' THERE!"
"I am NOT a hypocrite!"
Aaron Stanwick had called me a hypocrite one Saturday at the Coffee Plantation when I told him that he should ask out this girl Claire for Valentine's Day. I told him that the worst thing that could happen would be for her to say no, but, seeing as I had yet to even talk to Joy--let alone ask her out--Aaron called me a hypocrite.
"Then why don't you ask out Joy?"
"Because," I said, "I haven't even talked to her."
"Is this really how you are defending your argument for not being a hypocrite?" Michael Florence always seemed to have the right words for everything. He was very philosophical. In fact, sometimes he was so philosophical that I wanted to punch him in the face.
"Dave, the only thing you have to do is say 'Hey, I'm David,' and the next thing you know--"
"Please don't finish that sentence." Being a Mormon, Aaron always got a little upset when Mark Adams talked about what the latter referred to as "escapades". Mark was a major lady's man, and he always tried to brag about it, but we always cut him off for Aaron's sake. Of course that didn't stop him from calling me every time something like that happened.
"David," Aaron said, "you have nothing to lose by talking to her."
Aaron did have a point. It had already been a week since regionals (none of us made it, by the way. I did make third alternate, but there was no point in missing school to be an alternate).
And, especially with Valentine's Day coming up, I really needed to get a move on before someone else asked her out and I had completely missed my chance.
My name is David, and I'm a normal high school student.
Well, except for one thing...I have never had a girlfriend.
It's not that I haven't had the opportunity...well, I HAVE had the opportunity, but the only girls who have ever liked me are ones that have had serious baggage, or they had Aspergers' Syndrome (I really don't want to talk about that). I guess I've just never been that great with the whole idea of "the one", but maybe Joy was the answer.
"David, just go up and--OH MY GOD!"
At this moment, Mark jumped under the table.
"Mark, what the hell?" And then Michael looked over at the door. "Oh. I see."
In walked a very unattractive girl with glasses, messy hair, and clothing that was very unflattering on her body. "Who is that?" I knew that a story was coming.
From under the table, Mark recounted his story. Apparently her name was Faye Winston, and Mark had hooked up with her back in freshman year...and then again in sophomore year...and the summer after, all while she had a boyfriend. But that's not all.
"Dude, you actually cared about this girl?"
"What can I say? I was head-over-heals in love with her. But she always had a boyfriend who she would never leave for me?"
"Mark, you had sex with a girl who was TAKEN? This is low. Even for you."
"Aaron, calm down. We never had sex."
"Really? Why?" Now I was really intrigued.
"Um, well, there's something I should tell you guys. You know how I'm always hooking up with girls, you know, blowjobs, handjobs--"
"WE GET IT."
"Anyway, those things that I do--well--that's all I've ever done."
"Wait, you mean--"
"Yes. I've--never had sex."
To say that we were shocked was an understatement. I mean, this was Mark Adams we were talking about, but come to think about it, he never actually told us about having sex. I guess we always just assumed.
"Faye did offer me sex once, though. But I turned her down because I didn't want to share her. And that was the end of our hook-ups, and our friendship."
Just then, Faye walked over to our table. "Hi, Michael."
I could feel Mark cringing beneath the table. "Hi Faye. Um, long time no see."
"Yeah it has been quite a while. Are you still friends with that loser Mark Adams? I haven't seen him around in a while."
"Well, sometimes in life you may be looking for something and then you realize that it's right beneath your feet."
I could once again feel Mark cringing under the table.
"Um, who are you?"
"Oh I'm Aaron Stanwick."
"And I'm David Adler. I actually think we were in the same Social Studies class back in 8th grade."
Wow, what a bitch.
"And yes, Mark and I are still friends. In fact he's one of my best friends still."
"Oh, well if you see him, can you be a dear and tell him how much he missed by not sleeping with me?"
And that's when fate took a turn for the weird.
"Hi, welcome to the Coffee Plantation. The counter is right over there if you want to order something."
Joy Harris, the Coffee Plantation girl, had come to rescue us from an awkward situation.
"Ok." Faye followed Joy to the counter and ordered an espresso to go, which was definitely to Mark's advantage. With one final glare into our direction, Faye Winston had left the building and drove away in her silver Kia.
Once Mark had gotten situated in his chair again, he told me that I should take this opportunity to talk to the girl that had saved his life (his words, not mine). It was now or never. This was my best chance. So I took it.
"Hey," I said. Classic opening line.
"Look I just wanted to thank you for helping us out over there."
"It's no problem. I've been in that type of situation before, and I sometimes wish that I had hidden under the table."
"But you figured that it was probably stupid and immature?"
"No, I was at the park, and I was sitting on a bench."
"Oh." Way to go, Mr. Smooth-Talker.
The conversation was continuing. I couldn't believe it.
"Nice to meet you. You guys come in here a lot. Is the coffee really that great?'
"It's mostly the atmosphere. It's just so--relaxed."
"Yeah, try working here."
"Where can I get an application?"
Now I was good.
"Let me tell you what. I'll give you an application if I can interview you beforehand."
"Are you asking me out?" At least it saved me the trouble of doing it.
"Was that stupid? Oh my God, I'm such an idiot. I'm sorry, I feel so--"
"I'd love to go out with you, Joy."
I walked back to the table after getting Joy's address and phone number.
"I talked to Joy and--"
"Would you stop being an asshole and just tell us what happened?"
"I have a date on Valentine's Day!"
"Way to go!"
It was my turn to take Mark home, so we hopped into Rebellion and headed for his house. After a couple minutes of music, Mark broke the silence.
"So David, you're finally having your first date. You must be up in the air."
"I'm nervous as hell though."
"Don't be. It's just a date."
"Yeah. A date that I'm about four years late for."
"Just trust your instincts and everything will be fine."
Wow, for once Mark actually said something helpful. We all learned a lot about Mark that day. He had heartbreak, like all of us, and was a virgin, just like all of us. It was the first day that I realized that it actually made sense that I was friends with Mark. All four of us were a little different--Mark with his "escapades, Aaron with his Mormonism, Michael with his insightful comments, and me being, well, me--but at the end of the day, it was nice to have some variety in our lives.
After all, if we were all the same, then we could never have the kind of banter that always made our meetings at the Coffee Plantation interesting.
Normal High School Student