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Run-Of-The-Mill, One-In-A-Million

I had just gotten to my brother’s apartment, after somehow managing to sprain both my ankles playing basketball…

I was through with a day out of hell, bad in every way imaginable, and unimaginable as well…

then, I met the girl who changed my life’s path, in a way. I met her online…

I met the umpteenth guy who seemed to have potential, to me…

It all started with a simple greeting: “Hi!”…

I just responded to his bland greeting with a “Hi, how are you doing?”…

I was still so very new to the concept of talking to people and making friends through a computer…

Being a veteran of many a come-on-line, if you get my drift, made me quite familiar and wary with the routine of guys trying to hit on me…

How I was doing at the time was, pretty awkward, with both of my ankles feeling pretty bad…

It stunned me to hear of such a thing! Made me laugh to myself at this new guy’s bad luck. It hardly helped me forget about the day I had just gone through, but it did cheer my up, albeit to a small degree…

She asked me if I really liked basketball, which, at the time, was an emphatic yes…

To which I wasn’t really impressed, to say the least. Ordinary guy, ordinary sport…

If I was to judge anything by that first “encounter”, I probably wouldn’t have said much. She remained much of a mystery to me, not revealing much about herself at first…

In most cases like this, I would’ve just stopped talking to him right then and there! But I felt sorry for him, so, I didn’t…

The next time I checked for messages, it was the next morning. “I’m into hockey” was the reply to me saying I liked basketball. Now, that caught me off guard! I never knew anyone who liked hockey before! And this girl does, which clued me in on the fact that she wasn’t ordinary, to say the least…

He seemed so shocked of me liking hockey. The typical reaction from most “ordinary” people, I was already oh-so used to it, so…

She talked to me about her favorite team, the Bruins. I was a Celts basketball fan. A similarity between us, small if not insignificant, but…

I hated basketball! No matter what the teams or players…

So I ended up asking her about who her favorite hockey player was…

So I told him! My favorite Bruin was…

 

Some guy named Sweeney!? Never heard of such a person, from what little I knew of hockey as a general sports fan. She said the first thing she noticed about him is that he’s “such a babe”! Well, at least I knew she was heterosexual…

But, at this point in my life, I was starting to realize how little great looks meant in a guy, I’d had some handsome boyfriends recently who turned out to be terrible personalities. I did hold the hope that perhaps I may find some endearing qualities in this guy before meeting him. If I’d get to meet him. If I’d want to meet him. While I dwelled on that thought, I thought, for us to even have a remote chance of wanting to meet each other someday, we’d have to become closer…

I liked the way she talked online, especially when it came to things that she had interest in. Which was, to say, a lot of things, but, hockey was clearly the thing she could go on and on about. I made a sacrifice, of sorts, to let her go on and on about hockey, and, a side benefit of it was that I could perhaps learn more about her than others that weren’t willing to talk/hear hockey with her…

So I took it upon myself, being a promoter of the great sport of ice hockey, to tutor him on the aspects of the sport as well as on my favorite team…

Not only did she educate me on the qualities of her team, but of the team I always liked but never really followed before, the Pens. It couldn’t have come at a better time for me, being pretty disappointed in my favorite basketball and football teams being underachievers, while “my” hockey team was playing downright heroically at the time…

As the days and conversations went on, I started to learn more and more about this cool guy: nice to talk to, versatile, funny at times, and, most especially, the sweetest and coolest soul you could find, in my opinion…

I liked talking to this unique girl, though, as the talking online went on, I couldn’t help but wonder about the physical attributes of the person I was getting closer and closer to as a friend…

I started to fall for this guy! I couldn’t believe it at the time, but now, in retrospect, it made perfect sense. I was looking for a great personality first and foremost, to be the “next one” for me. And, he definitely fit that bill for me. The only other thing I could possibly ask for was…

That I became a hockey fan largely because of her, perhaps entirely because of her, was pretty shocking! I told her so once, and she seemed proud of me, the way a teacher is proud of a student doing well. I felt like she had given me an invisible, but valuable gift…

I knew then that he, and I, was ready for the next step…

Then, she started that sweet bit of online “chatting”…

Michelle: “You know, you are so truly nice to talk to : )

Jerome: “Hey, thanks! You’re pretty cool to talk to yourself!”

Michelle: “Would you be interested in meeting each other in person sometime? You don’t have to if you don’t want to, I’d understand.”

I sort of held my breath, hoping that he would want to move on to the “next step”, even if I seemed a bit assertive at the time. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to waste time when it could be spent doing something wonderful, or finding something better to do…

If only because of curiousity, I probably would’ve accepted. For her, I defnitely accepted, of course…

Jerome: “Actually, I think I’d love to go out with you. So, my answer is yes! I’m looking forward to it already.”

I saw him, finally, and he wasn’t quite what I imagined…

When I first saw her, I was surprised by what I saw, but then, this was my first blind date, after all, and I should’ve expected to be surprised…

He surpassed all the expectations I had for him! Though it did feel funny to be walking into California Pizza Kitchen with a cute 6’1″, 170 pound filipino guy from Waipahu…

 

Though this pretty Aiea japanese girl’s 5’9″ 100 lbs frame was definitely the stuff of most japanese loving guy’s dreams, I think…

I really liked being with him, next to him, talking to him! I felt proud of being there with him, being his date. I, of course, couldn’t help but stare at him occasionally while he ate that pizza…

I never expected myself to like her this much! I especially liked those eyes, the way they looked at me. Me! Of all people! I had to pinch myself to make sure I was dreaming all this, while I watched her eating that chicken salad…

What did I find out about this guy on that night? That how he acted and behaved in person pretty much mirrored the way he came across online, which was, in a word, magnetic. How magnetic? He even had the waitress serving us that night apparently making a pass at him…

I just had to ask her about the concepts of “icing” and “offsides” on that night. I got pretty attached to her, in a way. I knew about her many boyfriends, and, being with her made me understand how she had that many. That infectious smile, personality, the whole package. It did throw me a bit to have the waitress asking me if I had a girlfriend, amongst a few other questions…

The date formally ended after dinner with a handshake, the same way it had begun, really. I liked being with him…

As we parted, I wondered if we’d be seeing each other again…

I got online as soon as I got home, and was a bit disappointed that he wasn’t on yet, so I waited for him…

I went on after I got out of the shower, and was pretty happy to see that she was already online…

I asked him if he enjoyed our date…

And, of course I did! I then asked her if she didn’t find me too ugly…

The guy has a paranoia complex or something! Two girls, at least, falling for him in one night. Hardly what I’d call “ugly”…

I just had to make sure, of course, to see what potential there was, if any…

I asked him if he thought I was weird in person…

Weird that she may be, but, in a cool way, you know? She sort of brought about a change in me…

Being with him, such a nice, down-to-earth, cool guy, made me realize some things, of course…

And, I felt like I had to see her, be with her, be “inspired” by her, again…

He was the one to ask me out that second time. Asked me out to the ice rink, of all places! Go figure! I didn’t know that I made that kind of impression upon him. Needless to say, I was more than happy to go on a second date with him. I then threw him an online “kiss”, I don’t really know why I did it at the time! I just did it…

My first online “kiss”! I, of course, returned the favor. And, looked forward to that outing at Ice Palace…

We actually had dinner together first…

We had salisbury steaks at Anna Miller’s restaurant, my favorite place to eat…

I actually don’t mind the place, but I thought it was a weird place for one to call a favorite. Most of the menu choices were quite unfamiliar to me, so I just ended up having what she had…

It felt good, to be with him again, at the place I was most familiar with. There’s just something about having a new person with you in familiar surroundings…

Then, after finishing dinner, it was on to the Ice Palace, for the real fun!

There was something she didn’t know about me yet, which she would eventually find out, to my chagrin…

He was an awful skater! He was much like a newborn deer, struggling to stay on his feet, falling down quite often. Anguish on his face, jeans getting wet from the ice. My heart went out to him, and I helped him stay upright…

She grabbed me by the hand, and skated with me holding onto her hand, by her side. I hadn’t figured how much the sense of her touch would affect me. I remember the song that started to play as she took my hand, “Red Light Special”. I asked her if I could “have this dance” with her…

I have to admit, skating that “dance” with him around the ice surface, brought a lot of things to my mind. Such as, there’s more to the world than just what I “like”, or think I like. I didn’t like the kind of music that was playing, really, but that experience with him changed my opinion, to a degree. The guy I was with, wasn’t exactly my first idea of a dreamboat, yet, I was eager to go out on a second date with him! And, you should’ve seen him skating while I kept him by my side, hand in hand. He suddenly looked so calm, relaxed, and didn’t fall from that point on…

Skating around with her, with that cool song playing, made me think of a lot of things. I never though of going ice skating or watching hockey until she came along in my life. And, there I was, skating on ice with this girl only days before I knew only through the computer. Did it make my life better? That remained to be seen, but she showed me what I was missing in my life until now. And, I thought, what else will I end up doing as a result of knowing her? It did make me confident out there on my skates with her holding me. She skated like an olympic figure skater, at least from my perspective…

After our ice-skating adventure, I suggested driving out somewhere, to a certain place on the Hawaiian island of O’ahu…

She suggested driving out to a place much known among locals for lovers making out in their cars! I thought, she was certainly being assertive…

From the moment I first laid eyes on him, I felt like he could very well be the one I’ve been waiting for. Putting him in a situation like that, I thought, would confirm or deny my suspicions…

I was thinking that, as we were sitting in the dark car, talking to each other about things, that she was testing me. Seeing if I’d succumb to the peer pressure, or the pressure of the moment, to make her get into something with me, knowing that it was the “thing” to do there, with other young couples doing things in their cars around us…

I was hoping he, or I, or both of us would be moved to try something, or say something. From my experience, if two people were meant for each other, it would happen right then and there. “It” being the feelings of love bubbling to the surface, manifesting itself into a physical ritual of love…

I then took her to my favorite restaurant, Zippy’s, the local Hawaiian fast food choice, for a midnight snack…

I wasn’t really hungry at the moment, but, feeling a bit depressed, I agreed, thinking that maybe I’d drown my “sorrows” with food and drink…

I always loved the chili there, and she opted for the same, reminding me of how I had what she had at dinner earlier…

I found out whe he liked the chili so much! I never really ate there before, and, it brought to mind the lesson I learned indirectly from him, about having an open mind, and heart…

I could sense, though, that the way she talked at that point was, in a word, depressing. I didn’t know why, but I didn’t want to probe. I thought I’d just ask her about it next time…

I knew that things would go downhill for us from there. Didn’t know it for certain, but, my instincts told me that it wasn’t going to really click between he and I, as lovers…

I never saw her again after that night, which, I sometimes regret, of course…

He showed me some virtues, taught me some lessons of life, not directly of course, but I really took them to heart. But as for the guy himself, at least at that time, could never be more than a close friend to me…

But when I think about it, those two dates and the things I learned from those countless conversations we had brought about some changes in me, changes for the better…

But he made me realize some things, about things I would have missed if not for him…

Those changes made me come to the conclusion…

And though I missed being with him in the countless days after, I realized…

That we were really meant for each other, but not in the way most people would think or expect.

Jerome Baquilar soon stopped being a basketball fan, and started becoming a hockey freak. He worked so hard at his skating skills on inline skates that he was invited to the Sacramento River Rats’ 1997 tryout camp, of Roller Hockey International . He is seemingly always shooting for the apparently unreachable goals in life… though he still can’t skate on ice. 

©1999 Jerome Baquilar

Jerome Baquilar, a civil engineering degree holder from Waipahu, Hawaii, says that his C.E. degree was the toughest thing in his life to attain, but the accomplishment he’s most proud of is that he was invited to the 1997 tryout camp of the Sacramento River Rats of Roller Hockey International! He also writes fictional stories and poetry.