Speaking of running into ex-crushes …
There I was at the DMV, getting my license renewed when I thought I recognized the guy sitting in the row behind me. Because I was thoroughly primped for my photo-op (this time I swear it’s going to be a good pic), I felt a little bit psyched that fate had dealt me the chance meeting on that particular day.
The guy, who for good reason we’ll call Guy, had distracted my world for most of my senior year in high school. I think I was a game to him. He was dark and slightly broody and always held himself a little away from the rest of us. Guy was cocky and arrogant, but I seemed to be able to break him down and make him laugh.
We’d flirt at parties. There was clearly an electric charge between us, and we’d end up making out in the corner or behind the garage. Just a lot of heavy breathing and smooching, nothing too nasty. But other than that, he’d pretty much ignore me. We all hung together in a rather big pack, but if there were a lot of others around, I was wallpaper to him.
It drove me crazy. I would drive by his house at night just to see if I could glimpse him in his window. At school, I would go out of my way to walk a different hallway just to stroll by him, but then I’d be torn as to whether I should acknowledge him or just breeze by. The whole thing was secret and sad and thrilling and tormentous.
Then one night, a bunch of us decided to party at a cluster of ice-houses on the lake. I had decided to play it cool, and Guy was working hard to be charming. This pleased me. After a few rounds of cards and quarters, some decided to make a food run. Guy suggested we stay and watch for fish.
What ensued was some serious mashing and fumbling on the smelly ice-house couch. Things were getting hot and heavy and I remember feeling almost lifted away by warmth of his hands on my body. But I was a good girl, and I had pride and expectations. Part of me also wondered, if he achieved his ulitmate goal would all the excitment and anticipation end? Would I be full-time wallpaper? He tried a few more earnest advances but when met with my rebuffs he delivered a statement that I’ve never forgotten "C’mon Steph, I can’t help it, I’m a guy."
That was that.
With lightening speed I re-adjusted my wardrobe and stepped outside just as the others returned with food. Loud and laughing, we jammed ourselves into one of the larger houses and ate bbq like sloppy cannibals. The sauce was hot and tart and I remember feeling like I could eat a thousand ribs. Refusing to reveal my bitterness, I made sure to be very hilarious and had everyone nearly shooting bbq sauce from their noses. Guy sat three people away from me and I never met his gaze.
By the time I’d worked up my courage at the DMV, I turned around and he was gone. It probably wasn’t even Guy anyway.
That night I drove to Tonka Grill & BBQ in Spring Park to grab a couple slabs of ribs for take-home. The smokehouse smell starts pulling at you the minute you leave your car. Their sauce is sweet and tart with a vinegar kick that I appreciate, the ribs meaty and generous. The stacked pork sandwich is nothing to scoff at, either. It’s a small, local, family-run joint and they’ll offer you a free cup of coffee and chat you up while you wait for your order. Or, you can just stare out the front wall of windows at Lake Minnetonka, a vast white expanse dotted with an ice-house here and there.