Someone Like Me
by Mary Alston Capps
"Fat cheeks and no dimples. It's the bane of my existence."
He'd never heard anyone use the word "bane" correctly in a sentence before. He was smitten. She was different, like him. But, like him, she was not easy to get next to.
He could tell she liked him. Hell, all the ladies liked him - and he liked most all of them. But it was too much fun taking advantage of them to settle for just one. And he could always charm his way out of any trouble his charm got him into.
But there was a problem. Well, not a real problem, more like an inconvenience. She was dating an old friend of his. But his friend wasn't really sharp. And she really was. He wasn't even exactly sure why those two were dating.
He'd not met "the girlfriend" yet and actually was starting to think she was fictional, as his friend always acted decidedly single at their boys' nights out. Tonight was no exception. They'd hit the pool hall for a couple of games and a couple of beers before they'd start trolling for babes.
But she was there. Playing pool. By herself.
And the only reason he knew she had to be "the girlfriend" was the speed with which his friend dashed over to her. His friend looked pissed. She looked dismissive and resumed her game. So he, with the rest of the guys, sauntered over, watching his friend squirm with the realization that he was going to have to introduce her.
"She's so cute!" he said, reaching over to pinch her cheek. And with her retort, he was done.
It wasn't all smooth sailing. Her boyfriend got uncharacteristically attached when he realized she might have another suitor. And he found himself pushing back, irrationally blaming her for his bad decisions, even disappearing for several months, dating other women, not returning her calls. Until she stopped calling. And he realized exactly how tough she was. Tougher than he. She passed every one of his stupid tests. No girl had ever done that.
So he called her again. And she said okay. But she also told him she'd burned all his letters, all the drawings he ever sent her, beautiful, beautiful drawings, that she'd burned and dumped them in the toilet and pissed on them and flushed them all away. And he knew it was not something she had done lightly - but still she had done it.
So they were together again. And they married. And all the charm he worked on other women, he worked on her mother and her friends. And they all loved him. But he was never able to work it on her again. Her memory was too good for that.
Years past and things were okay. But the unbridled joy had slipped away. She was happy with small successes, but she never embraced them, never let other people's perceptions, not even his, change her own values. She was a good wife, in an almost old-fashioned sense, making contributions to help advance his career, but it was always as though she stood outside, coming in to do her duty and then retreating back to her cave. He never understood, and it often made him angry. Why didn't she appreciate their infiltration of an inner circle? Wasn't that what they'd always striven for?
Maybe the first time he really noticed things were changing was about the time that damned music video with the bee girl came out. It was a good song, but he could see her eyes swell with tears whenever she watched it. It wasn't that good a song. And he started calling her Bee Girl. Before that, he'd always called her Brightness, which made her smile. But when he called her Bee Girl, it was as though he finally realized that she didn't fit in, not with him and not anymore.
She asked for a divorce on Valentine's Day, moved out on April Fool's Day, and the divorce was final on Mexican Independence Day. He finally realized that she wanted someone to be different with, while he wanted someone to be like everyone else with. And he watched her drive off, her car filled with a brief lifetime of possessions and he hoped she'd find someplace different where she belonged.