Monday, February 05, 2007

Robbing the cradle

Even with the music throbbing around me I felt my cell phone vibrate.


It was J. Usually he only wants to to go Stones when he's had a bad night at work and needs to get something off his chest.

Already out at Waterway. Come here instead.

O.k., about to leave work soon.

Abbey and I were in the last part of our day, hanging out at one of the local watering holes, catching a local band on the rise. Neither one of us was drinking. We had spent the day in Baltimore, braving the cold winds off of the harbor, dreaming of Opening Day at Camden Yards and checking out the Australia exhibit at the Baltimore Aquarium. I had enjoyed a Guiness with my lunch at Tir Na Nog (how can you not have the dark goodness when you're at an Irish pub?) but that was it. I was still nursing a slight cold and didn't think going overboard was the right way to go to kill my germs.

We had decided to leave around 11. The band didn't start until 11:15.

I texted J back as we were getting ready to leave after the second song On second thought we're leaving now. Call when you get out.

I dropped Abbey off at her car then call J. He was just getting ready to leave. We agreed to meet at Stones in about 15 minutes. I decided to head over to the bar in the mean time, hoping for a half decent parking space.

The place was busy but not too terribly busy that I wasn't able to snag a table near the bar. I settled in and no more than five minutes later, J walked in. He didn't waste anytime dropping his coat and going to the bar.

"What can I get for you?"

"Just water."

I never saw his eyebrows shoot so high on his head before.

"Are you sure?" He was astonished that I was not even going to have a beer at our favorite watering-hole.

"No. Just water tonight. I'm not 100% and I do need to get up early tomorrow."

He didn't push it.

We passed the time talking about our days, his spent working, mine spent not. During the course of our conversation I noticed he put his hand on my knee...and I didn't move to remove it. It was so quick and under the radar that I hadn't even noticed he did it. Even more surprising was my reaction to it. I liked it. We had been spending a lot of time together lately and I guess my resolve to keep him at arms length was starting to crumble a little.

As the night wore on we bumped into some people we knew. An old friend of mine out for her birthday. Someone he knew that works at one of the better establishments in the area, and invited us to go visit him for a taste of the multitude of beers they have on tap.

Toward the end of the night, we were sitting there talking when all of the sudden a random girl sat down at our table. I wasn't quite sure what was going on and thought maybe J knew her but no, she had plopped herself down in one of our empty chairs. Very drunk and slightly pissed off at her boyfriend.

"Hi. You don't mind if I sit here, do you?"

"No, no. But you're going to have to talk with us if you stay," J was right there. I could tell he was in the mood to really give this girl a story if she started asking questions.

"So, how long have you been dating?" She looked right at me when she asked this one. I didn't know what to say, so J took the reins and I went along with what he told her.

"Oh, we've known each other for quite some time," he told the blond stranger.

"What high school did you go to?" This is a common question around here, as sadly, a good portion of us never escape the blackhole that is South Central Pennsyltucky.

"We both went to the same high school."

"Oh, when did you graduate? My boyfriend went to that school."

J flashed me a look. He knows I'm a little sensitive about the fact that he's six years younger than I am and don't necessarily like to publicize it. As much as I love hanging out with him and usually don't even notice the age thing when it's just us, I tend to get a little embarrassed about my age when we're with other people.

"Well I'll let her tell you when she graduated if she wants, but I graduated in 2000...."

"Oh honey, you don't need to worry about it, you can't be that old, look I graduated in 1995 and my boyfriend in 1998, " the blond stranger was actually pretty nice and pretty drunk too, so I knew she wouldn't remember the conversation later.

"1993. I graduated from high school in 1993," I calmly as possible replied. J shot me another look but I felt better for saying it out loud.

"Robbing the cradle! So did I, there's nothing to be ashamed of!" She had practically yelled it across the bar. I was mortified.

J kind of laughed, and looking me in the eye, he directed his reply to her.

"Yeah, there must be something about those older women that we just love."

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