Tickets To Chicago

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Be careful what you wish for. Unless you're very specific.

Submitted: May 08, 2019

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Submitted: May 08, 2019

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Susan and I made love for the first time on New Year’s Eve.  I asked what she wanted for breakfast in the morning and bought all the necessary groceries beforehand.  I got my hair cut and bought a new button-up shirt even though I already owned five good shirts she’d never seen on me before. This was going to be a fresh start to the new year.  I had passion and romance in my life again.

 

Susan, the high school teacher I had dated for one month, wouldn’t take her bra off in front of me because of the scars.  She augmented her breasts to please her last boyfriend. The principal and fellow teachers at her school gave her endless grief about her enhanced appearance.  Her students were in a constant state of agitation. To make peace, she had her implants removed. Her breasts, though still shapely in their natural state, were now permanently tattooed with thick red marks.

 

On her stomach, to the right of her belly button, was a vertical scar.  I assumed it was the result of emergency surgery to remove an appendix or a gallbladder.  She explained that a boyfriend in high school dared her not to cry while he nicked her with a knife.  Foolishly, she took the dare. He cut her once and she dared him to keep going. He cut her again and again until she needed several stitches.  She put the incident aside and went back to him. Now she wore a dark undershirt to bed with me which stayed on.  

 

When she was a teenager, she fell hard on her rear end and broke her tailbone but did not visit a doctor until the pain became unbearable.  A jagged white scar marred the smooth curve of her right buttock. Thus, her underwear stayed on too. When we made love on New Year’s Eve, the lights were off, the covers were pulled up to her neck, her back was pasted to my bed, and her eyes were welded shut.  In the morning, she drank a litre of Diet Pepsi for breakfast, asked about seeing a movie the following weekend, and left.

 

I never wanted to see her again, but I didn’t have the nerve to tell her.  She needed to be needed and I felt I was taking advantage of her by continuing to court her.  I made myself hard to get hold of during the week and unavailable on the weekends. I called her only after she left a message with me first.  She kept calling. I hoped she would at least get bored with me if she didn’t read the signals I was sending.

 

I was already looking up old phone numbers in my little black book when she surprised me with a phone message in February.

 

“Hi Jerry.  I’m just calling to let you know I bought tickets to see Chicago this Saturday evening.”

 

I dropped everything and called her back immediately.  My God! She had found a pair of tickets to the most exciting event in town.  When she answered, I accepted her offer. She was thrilled. We had finally made a date to be together in the New Year.  I was thrilled because I would be among the lucky few this weekend. My heart was screaming in protest, but my mind was too busy rationalizing this sudden shift in circumstance to hear it.  I would have done anything for those tickets. I tried to look beyond the scars and the mania to see a person full of thoughtfulness but I just wanted the tickets.

 

“You’re amazing!” I said.  “How did you get them?”

 

She seemed perplexed by my question. “It was easy.  I just called up and ordered them.”

 

“You called up and ordered them?  When did you do that?”

 

“In December.”

 

Now, it was I who was puzzled.  “December? You mean tickets were still available.  I thought they sold out in September.”

 

“Maybe.  But they added another block of tickets.”

 

Something was wrong.  “Another block of tickets?  How is that possible?”

 

“They do it all the time, don’t they?”

 

“What are you talking about?  The Gardens only holds so many people.”

 

“The Gardens?  What are you talking about now?”

 

“What do you mean what am I talking about?  The date was announced a long time ago and I read in the paper that it sold out right away.  The only way you can get a ticket now is through a broker or a scalper. I don’t get where this new block of tickets suddenly came from unless they added folding chairs somewhere up top.”

 

“Are we talking about the same thing?”

 

“Well, what are you talking about?”

 

“I’m talking about Chicago.  The Musical.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“What did you think I was talking about?”

 

I thought briefly about hanging up.  

 

“When you said, ‘tickets to see Chicago this Saturday’, I thought you meant the Chicago Blackhawks.  It’s the last game ever at Maple Leaf Gardens. That’s all that’s been on my mind lately.”

 

“Oh.  That’s this Saturday?”

 

“You didn’t know?  Where have you been?”

 

“Don’t you remember us talking about going to see Chicago just before New Year’s?”

 

“Yeah.  Now, I remember.”

 

“So, I went out and got tickets.  Is there a problem now?”

 

I pictured myself sitting with my friends at the pub watching the game on TV.  Then I pictured myself sitting next to her at the theatre watching the musical.

 

“Well, sort of.”

 

“Don’t you want to go anymore?”

 

“Oh, it’s not that I don’t want to go.  It’s just that this Saturday is bad for me.”

 

“Oh...”

 

“Can you find someone else to go with?”

 

“Someone else?  This was supposed to be for you and me.”

 

“I know.  I know.”

 

“I can’t return them or exchange them.”

 

“Jesus, Susan.  Any other Saturday but this one.”

 

“You said you wanted to go.”

 

“Yeah, but I need more warning than this.”

 

“More warning?  It’s only here for a couple of months.  How much warning do you need?”

 

I felt anger enter my voice.  Why would she assume we were still on for theatre tickets when we hadn’t been going out for a month?

 

“It’s the last game ever at Maple Leaf Gardens.  Ever. I don’t know what else to say.”

 

“So, you don’t want to go.”  Her voice squeaked. She may have been on the verge of tears.

 

“Well, if I went with you this Saturday, I don’t think I’d be very good company.”

 

“Oh.  I see.” she sounded lost and alone.  I didn’t want to hear her voice any longer.  Nor mine.

 

“Tell you what.  If you absolutely positively can’t find anyone at all to go with, I’ll go.  But only if you can’t absolutely positively find anyone, no matter who it is, to go with.”

 

“Well, there are a couple of girls at work...”

 

“You know, I think you should call them right away.  It’s more of a girl-thing anyway. You’ll have a better time.”

 

“Okay, okay.  I’ll make some phone calls.  But you promise to go if I can’t find anyone, right?”

 

“I promise.  I think I might even know some people who haven’t seen it.”

 

“I’m not going with someone I don’t know.”

 

“Okay.  You call everyone you know and if you still can’t find someone to go with, I’ll go.  How does that sound?”

 

“Okay.  I’ll call you back and let you know.”

 

“Great!”

 

After we hung up, I grabbed my coat and left the house.  I left my phone sitting on the kitchen table.

 

Chicago beat Toronto 6-2, spoiling the last game at Maple Leaf Gardens.  The final ceremony was a giant bore. I limped home. There was a cheerful message on my answering machine waiting for me.

 

“Hi Jerry.  I found somebody at work who wanted to go.  Hope you have a good time watching hockey tonight.  Call me when you’re not too busy.

 

As tired and depleted as I was, I couldn’t sleep that night.  I pictured her wounded body lying face up with the covers pulled tight to her chin, her squeaky voice calling out to the universe, “Won’t anybody love me?”.  Why was I the one who felt more alone?


© Copyright 2019 Horto. All rights reserved.

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