Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Murphy and Me II

It probably wasn't the best idea for me to A) No look in the mirror B) Not go see the trainer and C) Slap a bunch of freezer pops on the affected area. Before I left to go get my ankle wrapped again, I did stop for a quick check in the mirror. It wasn't bad...sorta....Okay, it was pretty puffed and starting to bruise, but really not bad. I'd had worse through my shin guards.

Still, Alex MacIntosh, the trainer, gave me a double-take when I walked through the door.

"Yeah, Mac?" I said, doing my absolute best to sound cheerful, like the mother of all headaches wasn't beginning to form.

"Should I even ask what happened?" Mac asked. He was trying not to smile under his professionalism. His first instinct was to make sure I was okay. Then he could laugh at me, once he verified that I hadn't accidentally given myself a concussion.

"Not. Really."

Mac wrapped my perma-swelled ankle and then, doctor's eye firmly in place, he began to look at my forehead. It wasn't so much my forehead, forehead, but more like the top of my eye, the corner of my eyebrow. And it was quite tender to the touch.

And I mean quite.

"Have a headache? Blurred vision? Double vision? Feel like you're going to pass out? Did you pass out?"

I was pretty sure I wasn't concussed since none of that would have made sense if I hadn't been all there.

"No to the above except for the headache." And a severe dent in my dignity.

"Scale of one to ten?" Mac asked, his fingers ruthless.

8. "Five." I looked at the clock behind him. "I don't need a concussion test and I will let you know if my headache gets worse. Promise."

Mac looked at me hard, sighed in defeat, and then motioned for me to leave. "Still want to know what you did."

I stopped at the door. "There's a good reason I drive an Oldsmobile and not a Ford. One of them is height clearance on its mirrors."

His laugh followed me all the way down the hall to the locker room.

"Hey, Ollie - Whoa!"

I took my plate of whole-wheat rotini and meatsauce and looked at Sasha head-on. I'd wised up and looked in the mirror - at Mac's insistence - and my right eye had turned into the first, best, and most vibrant shiner of my life. Mac was amazed my eye could still open, tha I could still see. Even the white of my eye was a different color. And considering I had green eyes, they now looked like I should be celebrating Christmas internally year-round. Thankfully, Mac hadn't thought I needed X-Rays.

Thank God for small favors.

"What the hell did you do?"

Couldn't help the flush. I looked around the other athletes milling around for food; the hulking football players mingled with the slighter soccer players, and the stick-like field hockey girls. And I was absolutely, certifiably not looking for that football boy. Absolutely not. And if he just happened to be over by the bread basket, then what of it? I wasn't going to go over there. I had pride, I had dignity -

And my feet had a mind of their own.

"Bread," I called to Sasha.

"I'll get a table," she called back, smirking. Damn her.

So my black eye and I headed for the boy - and the bread - and I gave him a slight smile. He returned it, and I noticed his eyes, previously hidden by wonderful aviators, were hazel.

"You, uh, you okay?" He had a nice voice. Suited his body. "You, uh, you went down pretty hard."

I went from completely calm to having a flaming face to match my eyes in less than six seconds. I should have known. Of course he'd seen me on impact, and from impact to when I staggered left into someone's Audi. Well, everyone had seen that since the car alarm had started blaring and half the parking lot turnded to stare. And they'd seen me teeter like a drunk to the door of my building and stumble up the stairs.

Spectacular first impression on my part.

"I'm good," I said. A piece of bread landed on my plate while two others wound up on the floor. I prayed he hadn't noticed and kicked them under the cart. The dining hall worker on my right scowled.

He took the statement at face value. "Nice shiner."

"Thanks." Smiled again. The silence stretched. I began to back away.

"Hey, uh, hope you feel better."

I turned and nodded vigorously, ignoring the angry pounding in my head. "Thanks." Then cut the corner too short and ran my thigh into the edge of the tray counter. Biting my lip, now with a matching bruise on my thigh, I found Sasha at a table and sat.

She let me have approximately ten seconds to myself.

"So, what did you do?"

"Ran into a mirror. On a Ford." I stabbed a piece of pasta thoughtfully.

"In front of that guy?"

And many, many others. And parents. "Yeah."

"Yeah, that sounds like you."

I snorted and was allowed to enjoy my dinner in relative silence. Had about ten minutes left before we had to be back at the trainers, when Sasha said, "He's staring at you."

"I have a black eye. Everyone's staring."

Sasha rolled her eyes. "But he's staring at you."

Great. Probably thought I was moron with major depth perception issues and a thing for Fords.

"Let's get ice cream," I suggested. The soft-serve machine wasn't plugged in yet, so all that was left was hard ice cream. I was a waitress, not an ice cream scooper, and it showed in my poorly balanced two scoops. We made it outside into the August heat without incident and I looked over, through the window into the dining hall. I spotted him easily, without really looking.

One of his friends nudged him, pointed my way. He grinned and waved. I gave too much flourish in my salute with my ice cream and promptly lost the top scoop over the edge of the cone and onto my sneaker.

Least I still had the bottom scoop.

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"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz