Being so close in age to my sister, my friends felt she was fair game, well to one person in particular. A metal fan with the demeanor of a child in the supermarket, seeming missing in his own mind and kind to anyone that gave him a slice of their life.
I am unsure if it was Tim’s sweet innocence or his lackadaisical façade, but they dated a handful of times like any young couple. I wouldn’t call their relationship turbulent, or even bumpy, or hell – even a relationship – as far as I know they didn’t but kiss a few times. It was middle school after all, but Tim never gave up.
The final nail in Tim’s pursuit came when myself and a small group of friends were lazing on the cream corduroy couches that filled in the front room of the house in Warrenville. As I am sure all other groups of high school guys are, we were assholes to one another. Always enjoyed seeing one of our own fail miserably – it was a game of who was next – but with Tim around in his stammering oblivion, he couldn’t help but fall into being a kind of punching bag for those who loved to push the buttons. It was them, the pushers of buttons, and the hype-men who turned the screws to build the blind gull of the lowly Mr. Eads. So we moved the pitching group to that front room, an unusual occurrence to say the least, and the tension grew as the hyenas yelped at the ankles of a lost lover. Tim called to his dearest, my sister.
He sat back on the couch as she approached, resting his hands on his head, interweaving his fingers, with his elbows outstretched like he had already won, in his brittle way of gaining confidence to her and the rest of us. The crowd fell silent and I grew a dumb grin on my face – I knew what was to become of his humility.
He spread a big empty smile across his face, “Karin…”
“Tim. No.” My sister butted in before he could finish past her name. She cracked a demure smile, turned heel and walked back the crackling parquet wood floor as the room erupted with painful laughter.
I could only say my peace with a handful of ‘told-you-so’s while the rest were filling the front of the house with a million layers of crackles. The way she said it, her smirk and the beaten down Eads, all spoke to one thing – it was never going to happen, move on.