Cheney wasn’t hard to find. She sat at the bar wearing a black men’s V-neck undershirt draped over her skinny frame. Her long mane of black hair was unwashed and a clip held a pile of it on the back of her head, while the rest of it fell down over her ears and along side her black Buddy Holly eyeglasses. The giant blue $19.99 Casio sport watch that she “borrowed” from me months ago clung loosely to her left forearm. She looked like how Demi Moore still desperately tries to look.
She was flanked by middle-aged men in football jerseys and baseball caps with plates of orange chicken wings scattered about in front of them. Their wives sat tolerantly, only occasionally glancing at the plasmas, wondering if this is the rest of their fall Sundays for the rest of their married lives. It is, ladies. It is.
With the promise of food and liquor on me, I summoned Cheney to the Green Mill Uptown on a Sunday afternoon to help me sort out Angela’s latest text after I suggested we go on a date. I always seek advice from Cheney…the self-described master of the fuck-n-run who still cites Liz Phair’s Exile in Guysville as the way for a single lady to conduct her life.
I grabbed the bar stool Cheney saved for me and the bartender gave me a nod. I pulled out the bar stool, “Pint of Stella, please, and another for her. Thanks.”
“Let’s see it…the text,” Cheney said, her voice sounded well-rested for once.
I handed her my phone and her fingers with red chipped nail polish began tapping the touch screen.
“So let me guess, you’ve been obsessing about this text exchange ever since she sent it?”
“Umm hmm…I may stay home from work tomorrow to iron out the finer points if you can’t help me.” I was barely kidding.
Cheney began talking while still reading the texts. “It looks like she doesn’t want to date right now, but she wants to go on a date with you. And she puts ‘but’ in all caps and calls it a reading ‘date.’ And she tells you that she’s not back together with her ex. The easiest way for a girl to brush a guy off is to tell him that she has a boyfriend, so it’s important that she clarified that.”
Cheney grabbed her pint and took a sip while her other hand held the iPhone. Eyes still on the phone, “As a woman, which I am one, this is what I think.” She set the phone down on top of the City Pages, removed her glasses, rubbed her eyes and hung the glasses on her V-neck collar. “You’re in that little thought bubble above her head right now.”
My eyes were glued to Cheney as if she’s telling me the theory of Oswald’s magic bullet. This was that important to me.
“By you not yet replying,” Cheney continued, “She’s 1) wondering why you haven’t replied; 2) wondering if you’re still interested in going out with her; and 3) wondering if she should call you when she finds a reading she wants to attend.”
I grabbed my pint for a quick sip. I never thought of girls as having the thought bubbles like I do. I sometimes have the Hindenburg of thought bubbles when it comes to women.
“If you do send a reply, she’ll know you’re waiting patiently for her to maybe ask you to attend a reading with her if she happens to find one she wants to attend. And that little thought bubble bursts and you’re no longer on her mind.”
Genius. Not since Karl Rove breaking down the electoral college had I been witness to such brilliant analysis.
“It just seems rude not to reply at all. I like this girl,” I said with the pint in front of my lips.
Cheney put her glasses back on and stared at a menu. “Kilby, you’re a nice guy, but sometimes you can be too nice when it comes to relationships. This girl asked you for your number and you tell her in that text that you’re attracted to her. And there were times in your break-up with Melissa where you really let her take advantage of you.”
I straightened my back to start to defend myself but she’s right. In the midst of that break-up, I was already trying to lay the groundwork for a possible reconciliation that I knew would never happen.
“Remember when I had that cat, before it ran away?” Cheney said, adjusting the mop of hair on top of her head.
“Haven’t you had like three cats that escaped from your apartment?”
“The first one…the black one.”
“Yeah, I remember. Why?”
“I had a piece of string attached to an unraveled wire hanger. I would bounce that thing in front of him and he would get winded just trying to catch it. But the second I set it on the ground for him to have, he would look at it and then walk away. It wasn’t elusive to him anymore, so he got bored with it. Us women are like that…we chase things that are elusive and challenging to us. We’re fucked up that way. You are so worth chasing. Be a little elusive and challenging for once.”
I stared over Cheney’s shoulder out the window onto Hennepin Avenue. Cheney grabbed my forearm.
“Besides,” she said, squeezing my forearm. “What would Riggins do?”
And that’s all she needed to say. WWRD?!