Love is a funny thing. Some of us never find it and most of us don’t know when we have. Sometimes we move too fast and sometimes we wait too long. You’ve only got so many chances. Don’t let them slip away like I did.
Her hair was different. Not it’s usual shiny, golden brown color. It was darker and ran down her back. Still pretty, though. I noticed but didn’t say anything. I should have. I should’ve complimented her on it. I bet she would’ve liked that.We hopped in my truck and tried to catch up on everything that’s happened since she moved away. The more she told me about her life, the more I wished I was a bigger part of it. I tried to say things that would impress her but I couldn’t find the words. Instead, I rambled on about every mundane thing I’d done since she left.
After about forty-five minutes, we finally pulled up at the Round Rock outlets. Neither of us had any money to buy anything but we looked around anyway. We looked at shoes, clothes, and a donut keychain that smelled sweet. The rain made her hair a little frizzy. She pushed some of it behind her ear but a strand escaped and fell into a curl that ended right above her cheek. I tried to give her the spare poncho I keep in my truck but she said she’d be alright. I guess she didn’t want me to be the only one getting rained on. She asked me what was next and I told her I figured we’d check out the bowling alley at Bass Pro. I didn’t really know what else. “You’re not much of a planner, are you?,” she asked. I usually just go with the flow.
Though it was pouring rain, my day couldn’t be ruined. I was with her. At Bass Pro, she was disappointed that the bowling alley was called the Fish Bowl but that they didn’t have live fish swimming under glass lanes. That was her first million dollar idea of the day. Others included phone charging stations at restaurants and Starbucks and for movie theaters to sell or rent blankets because she gets cold easily. The wait for a bowling lane was an hour and a half so we decided to walk around and check out the store before heading to another (cheaper) bowling alley.
As we walked around looking at guns, fishing poles, and camping equipment she asked me how I felt about my future. I’m graduating from college early and she wanted to know if I was happy or worried or if I even cared. I didn’t really know and to be honest, I still don’t. Like I said, I usually just go with the flow. I don’t think about the future too often. She wants to go hiking when the weather clears up. She wants to go to ACL at least once. She wants to see the 1975 in concert. I just want to be with her.
The bowling alley/arcade we went to was called Spare Time. We were supposed to go bowling together over a year ago but we never had time. We’ve bowled in a group since then but never just me and her. This would prove who was the better bowler. She beat me in the first game. I destroyed her in the next two. I tried to make it close but she kept rolling gutter balls and left me no choice but to rack up some strikes. Every time I’d get one her jaw would drop in disbelief or she’d squint her eyes at me. It was pretty funny. Whenever she had a good roll I’d give her a high five and our hands would linger together for a second.
Our time at Spare Time couldn’t end after those three games so we decided to hit up the arcade part. We played basketball twice and I beat her twice. I tried to let her win the second time but I accidentally made a three pointer at the buzzer and beat her by one. We played a big Connect Four game and she beat me. She asked if I let her win but I didn’t. I’ve always sucked at Connect Four. We were pretty evenly matched at air hockey. I beat her in the first game by a couple points and she wrecked me in the second game 7-2. It was a pretty embarrassing effort.
During all the gameplay she asked me when I had to head back home. I told her I didn’t really have a set plan. I was pretty much doing whatever I wanted that weekend. She said that if I didn’t have to be back early maybe we could go watch a movie. I liked that idea. Anything to spend more time with her.
We racked up a decent amount of tickets and headed to the prize place to redeem em for whatever overpriced garbage they had in there. I picked out about ten Air Heads. I was going to get all the orange ones but she said I needed to switch it up and get some blue and white ones so I did. She got a stretchy keychain deal and I found her a donut keychain kind of like the one we saw earlier but it was smaller and didn’t smell sweet. Our card still had some tickets on it so Rachel gave it to some kid. At first he didn’t want it. He said he already had one but she told him it had some points on it and then he accepted it. His mom came over real quick and told her she was sweet. She told me it seemed like the mom thought she was soliciting her son for something.
We sat in my truck for a little while to decide what movie to watch at what time and where. I was sweating the whole time because she was cold so I turned off the AC. I couldn’t just turn it down because it doesn’t work below 3. The movie we decided on was Captain America: Civil War at the Alamo Drafthouse on 6th Street at 7:30. I had already seen a bootleg of the movie but hadn’t seen it in theaters yet. Plus I didn’t really care what we watched as long as she was happy with it.
So began our next forty minute ride in the rain. She knows downtown Austin a little better than I do so she had me park in a lot under a bridge surrounded by the homeless and assured me my truck would be alright. I parked right next to a lady who looked like she was smoking crack in her car and was still there when we came back six hours later.
As we walked down 6th Street, she got a little worried that people would harass me for wearing an A&M shirt in the middle of Austin. She joked that I should be far away from her while we walked. I walked right next to her the whole time. When we got to the theater, the guy told us that the 7:30 showing of Civil War was sold out and the next one would be at 10:55. I guess we should’ve gotten our tickets online but I’m not much of a planner. We ended up getting tickets for the 10:55 movie which meant we got to hang out together longer. The problem now was stretching out our tour of downtown Austin for three hours.
We walked up and down each street looking at the buildings and the people. We came across a street that was blocked off so we asked what it was all about. Apparently there was some Paramount Studios gala going on that we weren’t invited to. We walked around a little more and she told me about how her dad was always sending her little motivational texts like how she was the nicest person and stuff like that. She showed me one of the texts and it was pretty long. I didn’t read it because I didn’t want to seem nosy. Her dad seems like a nice guy.
Neither of us had ever been to Whole Foods so we decided to check it out. While we were trying to find the weirdest thing in the store, a group of guys asked some guy with a beard and a lanyard where the beer aisle was. The guy didn’t work there. We almost died laughing. We made fun of all the gluten free stuff even though she can’t have gluten. She told me her roommate’s a vegan so they can’t eat each other’s stuff. She said that if me, her, and her roommate all lived together we definitely couldn’t eat each other’s stuff because I’m lactose intolerant. There was a couple we kept seeing while we walked around Whole Foods. She figured they were doing the same thing we were doing. We saw them a few more times throughout the night.
She’d mentioned earlier that she had always wanted to go to an art gallery. We found one while we were walking around so we tried to get in but it was closed. We ended up just looking at the art through the window and pretending to critique it. One of the paintings was of a lady sitting in a chair on the beach. She was next to an empty chair. It looked like her back was to the ocean. Another painting was kind of green and had a girl whose head was just above water like she was coming out of a lake.
After the art gallery, we rested for a second on some stairs by the sidewalk. We both ate before I picked her up but neither of us had eaten since then. She wasn’t hungry and I was too tired to eat but I think she was worried about me because while we were chilling on the steps, she was looking up places she thought I’d like to eat. She knew I pretty much only eat chicken strips so she found Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. I’d eaten there before and liked it so I figured we could share something there.
Part of the street was lit up by strings of lights in the trees. She loved them. She had been telling me earlier about how cute she thought they were. We walked a little slower under those lights. After an almost thirty minute walk we made it to Gus’s. It was packed but we got a table under the window. I sat down in the booth part and she said “Wow thanks for taking the booth”. I could tell she was joking but switched with her anyway. She said something like she was such a baby. I got some chicken strips, fries, and mac and cheese because she said I should get some mac and cheese. She didn’t get anything but water. I thought I’d give her the mac and cheese at least but then she pointed out that she wasn’t supposed to eat literally anything on my plate because it all had gluten I guess. So I had to sit there and eat in front of her which was extremely awkward.
During the “meal” she started quizzing me on my likes and dislikes. Mostly food related. She was surprised to find out that I don’t like ranch. She couldn’t let it go. She said one day she’d make me try it. She also said she texted her friend about all the stuff we’d been doing and her friend said she was offended because she never wants to go to 6th Street with her. I’m pretty sure that means I’m somewhat special. I didn’t finish all my food before we left so she suggested I put it in a box and give it to a homeless person. She wanted me to include the ranch because the homeless have better taste than I do.
On our way back to the movie theater, some guy came up to me mumbling and motioning towards me. I thought he was homeless and wanted my leftovers so I handed him the bag. Turns out he was just drunk. He kept asking me what some building ahead of us was. He didn’t like it when I said it was a hotel. He asked what kind of hotel. I had no idea. He said he figured I was smarter than all the longhorns around him because I’m an Aggie. Then he said to take my girl home and be safe. He told her to stay away from men like him because they’re monsters. Very strange.
We got to the theater and I left my leftovers outside of the door. She was cold even though it was only 68 degrees outside so we walked around looking for a shop that sold blankets. Out of all the little shops on the street, we couldn’t find any. There were a ton of people out. At one if the shops, I held the door for a guy and he told me I was alright for an Aggie. There were a ton of people out. Lots of different smells. Mostly smoke. When we got back to the movies, my leftovers were gone.
The movie was extremely long. Or at least it felt that way because it was so late. I was pretty tired and she actually fell asleep. I tried to scoot closer to her to get her to maybe lay her head on my shoulder but it didn’t work. She saw the good fight scenes though. The only thing we missed was the extra scene at the end because she asked if I wanted to go and I was like yeah why not. It was a pretty great movie. Even better the second time.
There were a ton of people outside when we left the theater. We were going home while these people were just getting started. She said she was too old for all that. We had to squeeze our way through the crowd. I bet that would’ve been the perfect time to grab her by the hand but I didn’t.
After a while we finally made it back to where we came from. I guess I was taking too long to cross the street to the parking lot because she grabbed me by the arm and ran with me across. She said she was afraid I’d get hit. We crossed the last street to our lot when we came up to this dude who had his fists up like he wanted to fight. We walked right past him but he put his hands on my back. I politely asked him to back the fuck up. I was about to beat the absolute shit out of him. But she linked her arm in mine and walked me to my truck. Luckily nobody messed with it. I had to calm down a second before we left.
She didn’t live too far from downtown so it didn’t take long to get back to her place. This is where I think I messed up the most. There were no parking spots so I just pulled up in front of her building. We said our goodbyes and I watched to make sure she got in safely. She looked back at me when she got to the door. Movies tell me that’s a good sign. I should’ve parked in the middle of the road and walked her to the door. I should’ve held her hand. There’s so much I probably should have done.
It took me a while to get back to where I was staying. Before I left, she asked how long it would take me to get back. She stayed up that long and texted me asking if I made it back alright. I didn’t because I typed in the wrong address and drove an hour out of the way. That sucked but it couldn’t ruin my night. I think it’s a good sign that she checked up on me. But who knows?
That was my Saturday in Austin. I hope I get another one like it soon. Maybe I can do things right next time.
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