Monday, January 24, 2011


I had a crush on him for way too long. I felt like the lame 12 year old girl pining away at the boy in class who doesn’t know she’s alive. But the thing was, I was quite a bit older than 12, and the grown up boy did seem to know I was very much alive. Every time I went by the bike shop he would put his wrench down, walk outside and strike up a conversation with me, to the point where the shop's owner had to come out and break up the tete-a-tete. He was a working class guy but had plenty to say, his sense of humor was an eleven – me, often being fodder for his material. “She’ll be knee draggin’ by the end of the month, we’ll be seein’ her in all the bike mags by October - holdin' a trophy 4 times her size.” It was true, I was a little obsessed with riding, I had just started riding that Spring and had upgraded my scooter 3 times by that Fall. The guys in my little local scoot shop seemed amused by my enthusiasm and Aidan ribbed me on a regular basis. And I was pretty sure he had a crush, shuffling nervously as he inhaled his Marlboro, getting a few inches from my face as he checked to make sure my brake caliper was nice and tight. There was another mechanic who would sometimes work at the shop, a weight lifting, off the boat Italian that used to work on his Harley and would chat me up every time we both happened to show up at the same time. “Hey, keep away from her, Scumbag,” Aidan would say half jokingly, positioning himself between me and the handsome Italian, executing the perfect cock block much to my delight.

Months had gone by, it was getting ridiculous. Each time I called the shop and Aidan would pick up, he’d be like a chatty schoolgirl, when I’d run into him on the street he would stutter and blush. Only thing was, he hadn’t asked me out.

“Do you know if he’s actually single,” my friend Deb inquired in her boarding school Aussie accent, “It does seem strange, if you are, in fact, reading the situation correctly.” It was strange, inexplicable, and incredibly frustrating. But I couldn’t bare the thought of asking, “hey, do you have a girlfriend?” It felt pushy, like I was tipping my hand. I stopped asking boys out in high school, and found it was always better to let them take the lead. I had way too many girlfriends who would ask guys if they wanted to get married, to have kids, it always made me wince. And years later, these same girls never seemed to get past a second date. Yet, something had to give, this crush had gone on much too long.

A couple of days later I stopped by the shop to pick up my motorcycle after an oil change. As usual, Aidan didn’t rush to get my keys, but grabbed his smokes and stood with me for our traditional chat. He looked great. At first I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. His goatee was trimmed precisely, his hair looked like it was cut at some premier salon in the city, not a barber shop where I suspected an Irish boy from Queens would go. “Aidan, you look great,” I was wowed. He took a long puff from his butt, looking into the distance. “Really, you look really good. Your hair looks terrific,” I continued, trying to elicit a response. I felt smooth, I was letting him know I thought he was cute, and I had the new haircut to use as an excuse. He shuffled his feet, saying a muffled, “um, thanks.” He looked over towards the water, exhaling the light grey smoke, I checked out the back, it was really nice work. When he turned back to look at me I noticed the goatee was really on point. This wasn’t the handy work of a mechanic at home with an electric razor. “Aidan, seriously, you look amazing. Where’d you get your haircut,” he'd stomped on the cigarette mid point, I was following him back into the shop now, he had picked up a wrench without the -get back to work- goading from his boss. “My girlfriend. My girlfriend cut it, I usually go to a regular barber, but she cuts hair so ,” his voice trailed off as he started to tap at some metal piece he was locking onto the bike in front of him.

“Oh WOW!!!,” I said, my response came out as more of a shriek than the casual tone I had intended, “she’s really good!!” I was hoping my enthusiasm would shroud my disappointment. But moments later the disappointment was eclipsed by a feeling of relief – I would never have to struggle with -does he like me, will he ask me out, does he have a girlfriend- again. He had a girlfriend. He probably did like me, and now I had a reasonable explanation I could tell myself why he hadn’t asked me out. It was all wrapped up in a nice pretty package, albeit a package filled with engine grease, cigarettes, and a good measure of “what if.”

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