Ophidian hunter who fears his prey | PostIndependent.com
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Ophidian hunter who fears his prey

Open Space
Derek Franz
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Look at the pretty girl in the grass, lying there, like a smooth snake. See how she shakes her tail? You better watch your asp …

Ah, spring ” the season when things like prom, coming of age and mating is in the air. It seems like everyone is gettin’ it on with everything else. It’s almost sickening in a sappy-sweet-pickle-juice kind of way. Even as I write this, an elderly couple shares a kiss across the room in the cafe, buddies are bragging to me about their hot new loves, and after watching the drunken make-outs at a bizarre wedding last week, I’m left remembering, wondering, what the hell is my place in all this? The simplest answer I can come up with is that I’m too scared to jump into the fray.

So, for the sake of laughing ” and perhaps a little insight ” allow me to share with you, dear readers, a story from my freshman year of high school at Rifle. Kristy is the entire reason I still have a crush on the character of “Donna” from “That 70s Show” ” she looked, sounded and acted alike (or at least as my romantic memory serves). She was a junior, which intimidated me despite the fact we became close friends who talked on the phone constantly. When Kristy invited me to prom, I felt overjoyed something so awesome could happen to me. However, even as we made plans for the big event, I continued to pine for her, lacking courage to do anything about my feelings. At last, on the phone one weeknight, the question of our after-prom plans surfaced ” where were we going to bed down that evening? (My mom was going to be out of town, and I’m sure she’s having a heart attack as she reads this.)



“In your bed,” she said. My heart puked into my brain. She had really just said that! A shy, virginal 15-year-old like me was actually going to score with his dream girl of the time. While my brain was racing through all this (“Yes! Yes! Yes!”) my mouth started mumbling something else, out of habit of practiced modesty, perhaps: “Uh, well, uh … I guess that’s fine for you to have my bed … I can crash on the sofa or something.”

“What?! You moron!” my head screamed. “You chicken-legged pussy. … You really just said that!?” Kristy was quiet on the other end of the line. In the following weeks I ached to straighten things out but she kept at a distance. Come prom night it would all turn out OK, though, I thought. Prom night came. I showered and dressed. And waited. And waited (she had to drive, since I was but a wee 15). Finally, I called around ” she was at work and wouldn’t be able to make it. I was dumfounded and that was that.



Looking back, I’m like, “No duh, Derek ” you’re the one who flat out rejected a trusted girl who threw herself at you point-blank, whether you intended to or not.” That’s not the only time the crazy wiring of my circuit board has had me doing such a thing, either, I’m sad to say. It’s been a long-running theme as far back as fourth grade, when my super crush, Brianne (aka “Breezy”), sent her pack of friends to ask me if I liked her. Being too fearful to admit that I did, I blurted, “No! No!” as her smiling friends stopped smiling and went back to report my strange response. Then, just about a year ago, in much the same manner, I left a budding love interest standing alone in a parking lot as I neglected to walk out of my way to hug her goodbye as I so badly wanted. The look on her face was a familiar one and I kicked my brain around all the way home. As usual, I made things weird in the friendship in my odd, obsessive ways to get things back on track. Tried too hard too late, you might say.

As I reflect on all my short-comings, I can only conclude that the early stages of the dating game and its messy, oblique angles of rejection scare me more than falling down a 200-foot ice climb (which I’ve done). Maybe when I grow a pair of balls I’ll be more inclined to join in the fun. Until that happens, I’ll say good luck to all you players out there.

Derek Franz would like to remind the ladies that sometimes you get men’s heads so spun around we can’t quickly discern which direction we’re going. He can be reached at rockgripper8000@yahoo.com.


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