(This is actually from my first completed book- that is not yet published)
I remember when I was a teenager, I could never remember how old I was because I was always lying about my age (depending on what I was doing or who I was talking to). If it was an older guy I was dating, I'd say I was a few years older than I was. If it was a job that I needed to be legal for, it was 18. If it was a friend, it was my actual age. If I was trying to get into a bar it was 21. My lying about my age got so bad that there were times where I actually couldn't remember how old I actually was.
At the time, I worked at a few bars under the pretense of being old enough to serve alcohol. One of the bars I worked at was pretty big and hosted different bands and radio stations every weekend night. After working there long enough, it became evident that the cover bands all played a lot of the same songs, Cheap Trick's “I Want You to Want Me,” seemed to be on every band's set list.
Though I was working behind the bar and stone cold sober most of the time, I could not help share the room's vibe whenever that song came on. I'd just broken up with my boyfriend and was fairly miserable. I was in love with another man but I couldn't bring myself to be with him no matter how strong my feelings were for him. I was so in love with him. He was a customer at the restaurant I worked at. I always knew what days he would show up at work. Suddenly I would become flustered and sick to my stomach. I would have trouble breathing and about ten minutes later he would walk in the door. These physical symptoms predicted his appearance without fail. He was an Armani model and really attractive. Everytime he came in, he had a different girl or two with him, likely models from whatever agency he worked for.
He would ignore them and just stare at me. I his eyes burn through me. I knew that I shouldn't go out with him, that he would never be faithful, but I thought about him constantly, even when I was with my boyfriend. That was another reason I didn't go out with him, he and my boyfriend knew each other. It would be hard to pull that one off, cheating or not. But there I stood on the fence wondering if the day would come where I would actually bring myself to go out with him, bring myself to end the self imposed misery that I created by not doing so, until one day we got a new waitress...
She was in high school, and just as adept at lying about her age as I was. Though she was 16, she told him she was 18 and soon, he stopped leaving me $20 tips and took interest in her. Immediately she started cheating on her high school boyfriend with him and sleeping over his house. Often she'd change in the bathroom and leaving work early to meet up with him. I hated her. I was crushed that he did this though no one knew it. So there I was slinging beers and hulks at the bar. I remember that year everyone was drinking Hypnotic some glowing blue sweet alcohol. Hulks were one of the drink specials on Hip Hop night, it was a drink mixed with Hypnotic and Hennessy, the combination of those two liquors produced a green color when mixed, thus the name, Hulk. Most nights, however, there was just some generic cover band, and as the night wound down, and they began to play this song I would be reduced to quivering emotions.
Every week she'd come into work and brag to me about something he bought her. A DVD player, clothes, jewelery. I wanted to punch her in her stupid fake blond head. The rivalry with her didn't end there, even the owners of our restaurant liked her better. For some reason they viewed her as a cute little virginal high school girl, while I was treated with a little more disdain. This girl had gone home with several customers, most of them could've probably gotten arrested for sleeping with her. I dated one customer and that didn't work out. How she got the virgin reputation is beyond me. Still, I loved him from afar but now I was totally pissed and jealous too.
Eventually I moved on and stopped working at the restaurant, he still had my heart, or at least part of it. It's odd how some people can do that to you with just a simple, “Hello.” Then one day, I came back to my hometown for a family illness. It was a rough year and I found myself dropping out of art school to become a caretaker. I was so broke, I could barely pay for gas and no one would give me money to help. I got a job answering phones for some foreigner's pizza restaurant. After about five weeks of them taking advantage of my desperation and paying me barely minimum wage under the table I left. I didn't quit abruptly, I don't remember the circumstances but it was on amicable terms. That last night one of the two bosses left. He was a little weird to me as he walked out the door, like something was up but I couldn't quite figure out what. Now it was just me and the owner. I wrapped up my shift on the phones and walked to the back of the kitchen to get my money.
“I'm not giving it to you,” he said in his thick Albanian accent.
“What do you mean you're not giving it to me?” I asked, a 20 year old girl going up against a 40-something year old man. Yes I had been a con, I had faked plenty of things to get my way, to get away with lying about my age and plenty of other truly benign instances but now I was reduced to my own age and I felt much small and weaker.
“I'm not paying you.”
“Just leave.” This infuriated me.
“I am not leaving until you give me my Goddamn money!” He laughed in my face as he countered me,
“Oh what are you going to do about it little girl?” I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket.
“If you don't give me my money, I will call the cops right now.”
He swore to himself under his breath and pulled a wad of cash out of his pocket, counted the paltry $70 he owed me and handed it over to me. I took the money and blatantly recounted it in front of him before storming out of the restaurant. As I was leaving his wife walked into the restaurant. I gave her a dirty look as I passed by letting the front door slam behind me. I couldn't believe it. He was not the only employer who tried to take advantage of my desperate situation, another bar hired me and promised me a job but when I showed up for work the same man who hired me pretended otherwise. He had wasted my time, money, and gas, while my cancer stricken grandmother lay in her bed home by herself. I was suppose ot be with her, but I couldn't continue to care for her without any money.
I seem to have terrible luck, especially with love. For the most part, I consider myself a nice and decent person- well at least 90% of the time, everyone has their off days... Now if I have shitty luck, imagine what kind of karma these assholes must have to deal with? Anyways. The next day I opened the paper and the man I had been in love with's name was in the obituaries. He wasn't even thirty years old. He'd died in a tragic accident. I couldn't believe it. I was crushed. I spent the next few weeks scouring over pictures of him. I aired my pain all over my Facebook page, so much so that the other waitress, my former coworker noticed. She began messaging me about him. It was obvious that she thought I too had had a love affair with him. I could tell by what she wrote me that now she no longer felt so special. I didn't confirm nor deny it, it was none of her business, but I do know I was glad that I never was with him. Even not being with him, just loving him from afar, I was crushed.
So when I hear that song, “I Want You to Want me,” many things come to mind, usually him, usually the cover bands and the bar I used to work at, and usually whomever I happen to be missing at the given time I hear it <3