Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Don't go around breaking young girls' hearts

The summer before my junior year of college I came home to a new love interest: his name was Jeff and I discovered him at my favorite hometown coffeehouse.  I spent many a summer night there with various friends and on one special occassion, there was Jeff with his guitar, behind a microphone.  This was no open mic night, ladies and gentlemen, this was a gig.  This was big-time!  And oh boy, did he make me melt!  Those eyes!  Those sandals!  His voice was heaven and Jeff could rock an acoustic Billie Jean years before the idea ever crossed the mind of Chris Cornell.  Jeff had me under his hypnotic spell and I knew I just had to do something.  And so, at the end of his set, I nervously slipped my phone number into his tip jar. 
I held onto the hope that I would hear from Jeff, but part of me knew we would probably never again cross paths.  The following night I accompanied my mom to a dance recital that featured one of her students and as we entered the auditorium, a familiar voice filled my ears.  I didn't even have to look at the stage to know who was up there providing pre-show entertainment.  A sign!  It was at that point I knew that Jeff and I were meant to be.  Luckily, the show's program provided further information on this mysterious and beautiful creature.  A performer bio, how fortuitous!  I found out he graduated from a neighboring high school three years before me and graduated from a university a town over from my own college (another sign!), but the most glorious piece of information: his website.  I went right home to look up when and where his next shows would be. 
He was playing at my coffeehouse again the following week and of course I was there.  And the next time.  And the next.  I'm not sure exactly when or how it happened, but eventually Jeff knew who I was.  Perhaps I finally summoned the courage to introduce myself to him after a set, perhaps he just started to recognize me.  I'm surprised I don't quite remember this juicy piece of information, but somehow we came to be somewhat of acquaintances.  It wasn't the dream-wedding I'd been envisioning, but for the moment it was good enough for me.  I'm not sure if he ever made the connection that I was the girl who left my phone number in his tip jar... but I suspect that he did.
I returned to college in the fall and though I did not forget all about Jeff, he moved to the back of my mind and I thought of him only with passing pangs of unrequited love when listening to his CD.  And then one day, lo and behold, I received a MySpace friend request from Jeff!  It was so glorious.  I was flying high the rest of the week.  Jeff wanted to by my friend!  More importantly, he had not forgotten about me.  We communicated sporadically and a few months after that Jeff sent me a message on MySpace inviting me to a show he had near my campus.  Delighted, giddy, filled with hormones, I grabbed my roommates and we headed off to see Jeff.  He was already playing when we arrived, but he looked up and smiled at me as I made my way to a table, friends in tow.  An hour and a half later I introduced him to my roommates, he thanked me for coming, I bought his new CD and we had just started to casually chat when... Jeff peered around my shoulder, then back at me, then over my shoulder again.  "Can you hold on just a minute?  I'll be right back," he said as he touched my shoulder (sigh) on his way past me and out of the room. 
One minute.  Five minutes.  Ten minutes passed.  Fifteen minutes later I gave up hope that Jeff was to return and glumly exited the premises, only to find Jeff outside talking to a girl and asking her phone number.  "Uhh... thanks again for coming!" he called after me.  Devastated, I cranked Rob Thomas' This Is How a Heart Breaks on the drive home.  Back in my apartment, I screamed and threw the new CD against the wall and never once listened to it.
Just for the record, I'd like to state the following: I now live in NYC and have a great job that I absolutely love in the film/television industry.  When I was home for Christmas 2009, I hit up a local bar with a friend.  And guess who was sitting in the corner behind a microphone, playing his guitar and singing along while people sipped their hot toddies and waited for underage girls to slip past the bouncer?  That's right: Jeff.  It's a terrible thing, but sometimes silently gloating is all one really needs to feel better.

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