Kicking Sandcastles

She hated optimists.  Maybe because she was a realist, but probably because she was utterly jealous of them.  She tried to be optimistic, bit it never worked.  The stress would hit her, then the anxiety, finally the depression.

Jordan was an eternal optimist.  IT was a quality that rewarded him handsomely.  He even got her for a brief amount of time.  That was until his optimism started to infuriate her, and her realism started to deflate him.

She’d been dating a basketball player at their community college.  He was her usual type of guy: not too bright but hot, tall, athletic, and of course a complete asshole.  He’d been cheating on her, and she knew it.  To save face she pretended that she didn’t, but no one believed her.  Once he gave her another girl’s lip gloss, thinking that it was hers.  He’d even fucked her best friend…twice…and she was embarrassed to admit how she’d found out about that one.

She pretended not to know, and then he dumped her.

She had been talking about it to one of her classmates in Speech Com when Jordan hopped the desk and plopped himself right next to her.  He asked her if she wanted to go with him to get his tattoo worked on that weekend.  She looked him up and down.  He was good looking, but not her type at all.  He was wearing ripped converse, jeans, and a Warped Tour t-shirt.  All of the guys she’d ever dated wore basketball shorts and Nike flip flops with socks.

Fuck it.

She shrugged and agreed, mentioning that she’d been wanting to get a tattoo she’d drawn done on her foot.  Maybe if his artist did well, she’d hire him.

*****

     After the tattoo appointment, he looked over at her and grinned.  They were in his truck because she had a D.U.I. and couldn’t drive.

     “Hungry?” he asked.

     “Starving! Wait…if I go out to eat with you, does that mean I got tricked into going on a date with you?”

     He grinned from ear to ear, “I wouldn’t use the word, tricked.  I just kinda throw things out there and hope for the best.  Like when I asked you to come with me today.”

     And for the most part, that’s really how he did everything.  He just tried and hoped for the best.  Sometimes it drove her crazy.  Couldn’t he see that life didn’t work that way?  You had to plan, and prepare for the worst.  Half of the time, he didn’t even have a plan, he just knew what he wanted and assumed he was going to get it.

*****

     “I miss my El Co,” she sighed one day while laying on his chest as he played with her hair, “it was bad ass. 383 stroker engine, true dual exhaust, masterflow, holly double pumper carb, that baby even had a NOS setup.”

     “You’ll get a new one some day,” he assured her.  She laughed at him rudely.

     “Um no. I won’t, Jordan.  Do you even realize how expensive that thin was? Not just the car itself, not even the money I put in working on it, but just the gas alone was ridiculous.  It’s an impractical car to have and I was young ad stupid for owning it.”

     “Sorry.  Just trying to be positive.”

     “Please don’t,” she mumbled, thoroughly irritated.

     “Maybe I’ll buy you one with the money I make in the S.E.A.L.S,” he offered.  She let out a groan.

     “Jordan. How many times have I told you that I’m not going to wait on you while you go off on a ship for five years? That’s absolutely insane! Second, I already said I was never going to own another one because they’re impractical cars.  Finally, you will never become a S.E.A.L. because you’re color blind.”

     “I’m gonna study for the color test,” he insisted, sounding like a pouting child.  She sat up to roll her eyes at him, but caught herself when she saw his hurt expression. Still, she couldn’t let it go.

     “What do you see here?” she asked, pulling up a test.

     “It’s a circle made up of a bunch of other circles.  This is stupid.  I’ll pass.”

     “You just failed, though. There’s the number two in that circle.  You can’t study for a color blindness test,” she threw her phone down in exasperation, but he just shrugged and let her fume.

*****

     Looking back, she shouldn’t have fought him on the subject.  She felt like the kid who came and kicked over his sandcastle.  He never did join the Navy, but he did find a girl just as optimistic as he.  She was bubbly and blonde, and she was nothing like Nina.

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