Hang in There, Rick!

He was there just when I needed him most.

Tuesday, Jan. 17, 1978: Skeeze was talking me off my latest emotional ledge in our high school’s empty band room.

I’d been at home sick the previous day, and reported coming back to school “really depressed, angry and downhearted” because Kim had gotten back together with her boyfriend, and Stephanie and I seemed to be on the outs.

And the “he” wasn’t even Skeeze—although Skeeze was doing his best.

Everything that afternoon “seemed to topple…I almost broke into tears…nervous, shaky, scared.” After Skeeze left—Boom! A hand clamped down on my shoulder. He seemed to settle into his double-breasted white dinner jacket: One Richard Blaine, American, age 37.

Cannot return to his homeroom. The reason’s a little vague, but I’m glad he’s there just the same.

He shrugs. “Look, kid. Hear you been having trouble with the ladies. Take my advice: hurry on to your English class. Your teacher, Mr. McHale, will be showing a film for the next four class periods. A movie I think you’ll find very … illuminating.

I’d been feeling pretty alone, so this Rick guy, somewhere under his cranky exterior, seemed nice enough. At school, the pressure was on: the upcoming exchange student trip to Germany was looming, and the senior class had announced prom would be April 28 or 29. I wanted to take Kim, but that wasn’t likely.

I was getting positive vibes from a junior girl, Colleen Dunn, aka “Cubby,” and the usual suspects were filing into my mental lineup after they’d heard about the rough road with Steph.

So I talked to Mr. Blaine about it. “You know that stupid feeling when you’ve ‘got’ someone and you still feel alone and you never feel like talking to them anyway?”

He winced, nodded then said, “Go on … Oh—mind if I smoke?”

“No, go ahead,” I said. “Can I bum one off ya? I started smoking since working at Sam’s—anyway, I just told you my innermost thoughts about Steph. I even wrote that exact thing down in my diary.”

“You keep a diary?”

“Yeah, don’t you?

“No, Carl keeps the books. Anyway, you were saying—”

I was saying—that I want a happy, cute, lively and local romance.”

He sighed heavily. “Well, kid, sometimes the local don’t pan out. Had to jump on a train once to learn that lesson. Put some distance between me and—well, that’s for another time.”

Soon I was off to class again, then later flipping burgers at Sam’s. Stephanie and I talked on the phone the day after Sabrina’s party—chatted for a long time, actually, “about childhood, adulthood—life.”

The following day I picked her up at the mall and gave her a ride home. We made out in the Dartillac like there was no tomorrow. It was back to square one.

While taking out the Sam’s trash to the mall’s back hall dumpster, I ran into Steph. We totally went into smashmouth mode again. She was hot; I was desperate to sleep with her.

Mr. Blaine helped put it all into perspective. “Look, you’re goin’ about this all wrong.”

“What d’you mean, wrong? I’m following my heart.”

“Your heart is all over the map, kid.”

“C’mon! You can’t tell me you didn’t have the same problem! I saw it in English on Thursday! Your Paris affair with Ilsa reminded me of my Christmas 1976 with Kim! Hang in there, Rick! You can get her back! You know you want to.”

“Well, my interest in whether your ex-girlfriend stays with her new fellah is merely a sporting one. And let’s leave me and Ilsa outta this!”

So, contrary to his advice, I called Steph after work on Jan. 19. I told her all about my feelings for Kim.

Finally, it was out in the open.

The silence on the other end of the line… well, it spoke volumes.

~ by completelyinthedark on November 9, 2012.

One Response to “Hang in There, Rick!”

  1. Reblogged this on Completely in the Dark and commented:

    When things can’t get any lower, I always turn to one Richard Blaine, American. And Power Animal. All-new CITD post next Friday, Oct. 3!


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