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XL-002e 1/e r2

The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

Copyright © 2012 xteamartists, llc

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I am a cynic. At least, I’ve been a cynic as of late. It’s probably due to age, the culture, the politics, and all of that other jazz. Just recently, the us government made one more vital step towards a supposed betterment of healthcare. Oh yeah, I could go on and on about the specifics, quoting reasons why it’s both good and bad. Hell, in about five minutes, I could find ten to twenty websites that help back each claim legitimately. I am in my twenties now, and more than capable of out-thinking anyone of authority. After all, they’re all stupid and corrupt, all operating for their own self-interests, and so on.

But I am not going to be that idiot today. No, I don’t think so. Today I am going to be a much more palatable idiot. An idiot that just so happens to be in love with someone. Well at least I think I am. Let me try to explain.

I am at the airport right now. Well, that’s obvious. For me, it usually doesn’t matter which one, as they all make me feel the same way. I am not a huge fan of air travel. I suppose you could say I have a slight fear of flying. But today, I am not waiting to board a plane. I don’t have to worry with checking in bags or dealing with idiots in the ticket queue. No, instead I am waiting in the airport for roughly an hour until a certain someone arrives. That certain someone just happens to be my significant other.

I met her a few years ago. We’re both—wait, hang on a second.

Lufthansa flight 2381 is due to arrive at 12:32 at gate C43.

Great, I’m on the other side of the airport. Oh well, let’s walk and talk.

So I met her a few years ago. At first, I didn’t even realize what was happening. See, we met at a party. An unusual party with wealthy goofballs and a wealth of goodies. I guess that seems pretty normal these days? As with all things, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Actually, it’s a lot more complicated than that.

There wasn’t much to do at my college on a cool Saturday afternoon. You could stroll around the grounds, maybe pick up a game of ultimate frisbee. You could meet up with some friends at the equivalent of the student union, or you could all pile into the car and visit what few hot spots surrounded the small town. Maybe go see a movie? Hell, you could go out a little ways and make camp for the weekend. The school had some property on a nearby lake. It was a good place to go during spring and summer. Late autumn, not as much. Not unless you like the cold, which I secretly do.

I wasn’t doing any of those things. Rather, I had placed myself in some kind of seclusion from social activity. Why? Well, some months before, I had been involved in a relationship with someone who, for better or worse, changed my whole outlook on life. Yeah, you probably guessed it; it was the first time I truly fell in love.

She was someone that appealed to all of my instincts. Firstly, she was a natural blonde. Like so many men on this planet, I am a victim of blonde bombshells. Not the supermodel, puke-until-you-feel-your-ribs kind of girl. Hardly that at all. Actually, between you and me and the bedpost, the first thing I look for in women are hips. I have even used that line with some of the women I’ve dated. Any guy with a lick of sense would tell you that’s a terrible thing to point out when talking to a girl. They want you to talk about their hair or their eyes. They want you to compliment their clothes or their fragrance. Don’t get me wrong. I like all of those things. But it’s not the first thing I ever look at.

That never crossed my mind. I had never had any kind of food with marijuana sprinkled inside. I had no idea of the effects, or even what it tasted like. Although when I thought about it, I remembered the cookies tasting funny. It’s why I first assumed food poisoning, but it was more like accidental food enlightenment deluxe. Too bad I was not expecting it.

And that I had four of them.

When I told them I ate four of these cannabis-laced delights, Adrianne expressed serious disappointment. She didn’t like the idea of having to take care of me for the evening when a young stud was clearly available and waiting for her return. I don’t know why she did it, but Amy volunteered.

—I’ll take care of him. Don’t worry about it. You have a good time.

—Are you sure?

—Yeah, are you?

Amy nodded.

—Sure, this guy has been more fun this evening than most everyone here. Come on, let’s go for a walk.

So I left Adrianne at the party so she could get to know her future husband. I felt really bad about it, and I felt just plain weird. Weird as hell. The world kept turning upside down and then right side up. Repeatedly. Many times that evening I got nauseous. I’ll let you fill in the blanks, but let’s just say it took a while before I felt anything close to sober.

Amy was with me the whole time. We walked several blocks in both directions. She asked me about my life. I asked her about hers. I had to lean on her at many points that evening, which was rather funny considering the height difference. She was a real sport, though, and kept putting up with my random, nonsensical statements. I talked about the JFK assassination, Lady Gaga, and about Mitt Romney being a closet atheist. She didn’t tell me I was wrong, but not because she didn’t disagree. No, looking back, she liked me uncensored and a little out of control. In a very weird sense, we got to know each other very well that night. While I can’t remember a lot of what she said, I do remember a lot of what she did. She knows how to take care of people when they need it. It’s one of the most attractive things I ever see in anyone, men or women.

I managed to get my way back home courtesy of Adrianne that night, and I didn’t see Amy for nearly two months. We kept in contact via Facebook, which I reactivated almost completely because of her, and we continued our discussions. We talked about our favorite movies, favorite places, and what we wanted in our futures. On Facebook. Oh, boy.

We met up again at an IHOP in between our two schools. We were only thirty minutes from each other. We met up there and at several other places several other times until, before you knew it, we were solidly dating.

All because of four Dutch chocolate cookies.

Hey, take a look at that.

I continued the awkward smile. His expression didn’t change at all. He was curious, but suspicious. I was hoping he’d say something first, but alas he thought the same thing of me. I had to be the first one to speak up.

—Bonsoir, monsieur.

He made no response. I thought, Great. I goofed up the French, and he therefore thinks I’m some kind of American idiot. Both would be plausible. Both would be excusable. Their language sounds cooler, anyway. At least in music.

I continued, trying to speak enough French to get home.

—S’il vous plaît, peut-être vous… . Où est l’Eiffel Seine?

The French man continued staring at me. Still the same look. Still just as intimidating. In my head, I imagined his bulldog breaking loose from the leash and chasing after me. In my head, the dog won. This didn’t make for a pleasant experience. I was starting to freak myself out.

I just wanted him to say something. Anything. He could’ve told me to screw off and I would’ve been fine with it. But no. Instead he just stands there, waiting for me to do something else. Perform another stupid American trick. So I inhaled deeply, and I made one more attempt.

—L’Eiffel Seine. Ça vous connaissez? Pouvez-vous m’aider?

The silence of this quiet and scary district was abruptly interrupted by the old man. His body did not move, but his mouth burst forth with laughter. My eyes went blank. I thought this guy had to be an axe-murderer or something. He definitely could not be of sound mind. The guy was bonkers. Finally, after he finished his laughing, and the bulldog took a seat right next to his left foot, he spoke.

—Jeune homme, vous étes déjà ici. Suffit d’aller coin de la rue.

I couldn’t understand most of it. I heard him say young man and corner. But that could take us in a number of directions. He quickly grabbed my arm and moved me where I needed to go. He said it one more time.

—Jeune homme, vous êtes déjà ici. Suffit d’aller coin de la rue et vous le verrez.

As we turned the corner, I suddenly understood what he was saying. Well, I understood at least just how much of an idiot I truly was. It’s a rough translation, or rather my own translation, but it went something like this:

You idiot. It’s right over there. What’s the matter? Did you forget your iPhone?

I had wandered for so long that I ended up going in one giant circle. If I had just walked for another few seconds, I would’ve ended up right where I started. Sure enough, down the street were plenty of lights and people. It was amazing how quiet one street could be when it sat next to one so busy. The cliché went even further. In the distance, I saw the Eiffel Tower.

The old Parisian slapped me on the back and continued on his way. His bulldog licked my shoe before following. When I returned, Amy was up, still in her day clothes and disheveled hair. She asked where I went, and I told her simply that I got myself lost, and an old man with a bulldog found me and reminded me of how stupid one can be. She made tea and sprinkled cinnamon in the cup. It was her way of accepting and applauding my ridiculousness. She was the first one to do that, aside from my parents and the occasional professor.