YOU HAVE TO LOVE synchronicity.
Friday, 10:33 a.m: I’m watching The Buddy Holly Story on VH-1. Buddy’s mom is telling him over dinner, “we let you sow your wild oats, playin’ your rock ‘n’ roll …”
A moment later I flip to MTV, where on “The Real World” the black brotha’s in the health food store looking at Wild Oats products.
One hour and one minute later, in the movie: Brash, bold Buddy corners the beautiful dark-haired Puerto Rican girl, surnamed Santiago, and says to her: “If you won’t go out with me I wanna know why.”
My mind flashes instantly back to 2000 -- seven years and a few weeks ago --to a phone conversation with a beautiful dark-haired Puerto Rican girl, surnamed Santiago.
The real-life Buddy Holly met Srta. Santiago and had to negotiate with her mom just to get that first date. Five hours into the date he asked her to marry him.
In my case, I met Srta. Santiago's mom first and the situation was such that much of the time when we were together, her mother was present. However, we did get our times alone -- and after five days of knowing her, I felt like I could have married her. As I left her and went home, I felt a sadness, an emptiness I had never, ever felt in my life.
It took more than a year in our difficult, sometimes-closer-than-others, always long-distance friendship before that phone conversation in which I was asking her the same question Buddy asked his senorita. And just like Buddy Holly, I found myself asking why -- making her very uncomfortable, no doubt. (Heck, she couldn't've been a tenth as uncomfortable as me. I've been in several car crashes and a bunch more near-crashes; I've been accosted by a road-rager who came up to my car, ripped open the door and looked about to pummel me to a pulp; I've been accosted by a mob of bottle-and-stick-wielding little punks claiming Folks on a dark street at night; I had a guy nearly run over me and then threaten to shoot me -- but asking this one little question over the phone was somehow much scarier.)
She had a very good reason for saying no, since I wasn’t the first guy to have asked the question, and she had already said yes to the first guy, and I knew that. But I asked her anyway. What'd I have to lose?