Five Weeks with Jasmine

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story that explores class boundaries and the nature of fleeting relationships and love affairs with a humorous twist.

Submitted: February 01, 2008

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Submitted: February 01, 2008



 should have known, but I didn't see it coming. That whole thing with Jasmine just blind-sided me like a sucker punch to the jaw and knocked me on my ass. I should have known better.

She had red hair, green eyes and half a brain too! What a devastating combination it was for a woman to have! I was immediately smitten by her. Me and Jasmine had a good five weeks together.
Five weeks is all that it lasted. I loved her from the middle of June until the end of last July. And right from the start Jasmine always asked me the same odd question. "Wait, what day is your birthday on again?" she would always ask. 
No matter how many times I answered her question and told her that my birthday was July 30th, Jasmine always seemed to forget. She would ask that same question again and again. She would ask it incessantly.  It didn't matter what the two of us might be doing at the time, Jasmine always asked that question.  In the middle of dinner; during a movie, hell, I swear that she would wake up in the middle of the night and whisper in my ear, "Mark wake up."
Then I'd wake up and I'd say, "What is it?"
"When's your birthday again?" she'd ask.
"July 30th," I'd say.
"Oh, does that make you a Cancer?"
"No, I'm a Leo." I would answer her while my eyes were still closed.
"Oh, that's good," Jasmine would whisper.
"Why's that good?" I'd ask.
"Cause Leo's are lions and Cancer's are crabs. I'd rather be a lion than a crab," Jasmine would say.
"Nah, I'd rather be a crab," I'd say. "Everybody in the jungle is always trying to hunt down and kill the lion. The lion is lucky if he survives into adulthood, but the crab just hides in the sand and nobody notices him.  The crab can hide away and live to be a hundred years old."
"That's so funny." Jasmine would laugh and then kiss me on the cheek. "You're so funny Mark," she'd say. And then the two of us would cuddle and go back to sleep. I wasn't kidding her about wanting to be a crab. I'm too chickenshit to be a lion anyway.
But as I said, Jasmine was smart. I just thought that maybe astrology was very important to her and that was why she kept asking me about my birthday. I should have known better.
In fact, I confess, I liked Jasmine so much that I rarely ever thought too deeply about anything else but her whenever we were together. I adored the thoughts that were in her head; her mind and not just her coke bottle figure and her flowing red hair. I never bothered to ask Jasmine any of the defensive questions that a guy usually asks when he's in a relationship.
What was your ex-boyfriend like? How many guys have you been with? Do you have any guy friends that are better looking than me? None of those questions ever entered my mind and I never thought to ask any of them while I was with her. It was good enough for me that Jasmine was mine.
The point of all this is that I really liked those five weeks that I spent with Jasmine. I was temporarily unemployed at the time and she filled my days with her laughter, her witty conversation and her flowing red hair. I had nothing better to do than to sit up all night and talk and cuddle with Jasmine.  That's all I really wanted to do.
I almost got used to sleeping in the same bed with a woman again during those five weeks. True, at times, I still wanted to jump out of the bed at night and say, "Look, Jasmine, 'Sleeping Together' is just a euphemism that people use for sex. We're not actually doing anything right now except trying to sleep. Why don't I go on the floor, or on the couch? That way we can sleep separately like two human beings instead of like two wild animals that have to huddle together to stay warm."
But I never said that. I bit my tongue and I started to enjoy just lying there at night and feeling her next to me. I'll spare you all the sentimental details and say only that I quit my shitty job; started drinking less; wrote more than ever and felt very positive about my relationship with Jasmine.
That feeling was rare for me because by nature I'm not a positive person, but I'm working on it. I used to be so negative that I even once failed to kill myself. When you think about it, nothing's really more negative than that!  Failing in that regard is like a double negative. One negative actually negates the other negative and turns it into a positive. It's like trying to use a double negative in a sentence. It becomes so negative that it only turns into something utterly absurd and ends up not making any sense at all.
Let me give a word to the wise. If you've reached the age of twenty-one and you haven't yet completely mastered the art of tying your own shoelaces, don't for one second think that you're going to be able to create a noose that's sturdy enough to hang from a drain-pipe and asphyxiate yourself with. Seriously, don't try any of the stuff that I write about at home. I don't want to be held responsible for your bloated corpse. I'm a coward and I'm more like a crab that hides in the sand than I am like a lion who rules the jungle. Besides, you might hurt yourself.
Anyway, I digress. I'm negative, but after a month with Jasmine, I was feeling positive. Things were going good and my birthday was fast approaching. I thought it would be a big day for her (and maybe me too) after all of those questions that she'd been asking me about it.
Then the bottom fell out. I should have seen it coming, but I didn't.  Everything went to hell on July 28th, two days before my birthday.
We were in my car. It's an old wreck of a car, but I was currently unemployed at the time, and the prospects for me getting a new car weren't very bright to say the least. We had gone out to get coffee in the middle of the night. Jasmine liked to do that. 
We were just driving around and then Jasmine said, "Mark, there's something I've got to tell you."
"Sure, go ahead," I said. She didn't say anything for awhile, so I turned to her and asked, "Is everything okay?"
"Not really," she said. "I don't want what I'm about to tell you to ruin your birthday."
"Oh, well don't worry about it. Last year I didn't do anything for my birthday. I'm not a big birthday guy anyway," I said. And it's true. I usually don't celebrate my birthday at all. I'm more like a crab than a lion.
She paused for a long time and then said, "On your birthday my boyfriend's coming home from ..:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Iraq. He's in the marines and his fifteen months in Iraq will be up on July 30th."
I didn't say anything. I didn't want to overreact and get in a car accident and kill us both. I only wanted to kill the entire United States Marine Corp at that moment. Hell, I still do.
She put a hand on my shoulder and said, "Mark, I'm sorry. I was confused and I didn't know what I was doing. I never meant to hurt you."
"It's okay," I said. "Let me just drop you off at home." I kept my eyes focused on the road and my teeth tightly clenched as I drove her home.
I dropped her off at her house. She kissed me on the cheek. I didn't say anything and then I drove away. It was the last time I saw Jasmine.
On my own way home that night I stopped at a bar and bought two six-packs of Heineken. I sat in bed with the lights off and drank. All I kept thinking was: Well, doesn't this really suck Mark? You're a sucker. You should've known better. And it did really suck. And I should have known better.
On July 28th I lost Jasmine; got drunk and declared a one man war of revenge against all United States servicemen. I'm still at war with them.
On July 29th I saw an ad in the classified section of the newspaper. The ad said: Assistant Manager needed ASAP for growing Department Store. Some retail experience necessary.
I went over there for the job. I filled out a bunch of papers; sat around and waited for the interview. When my turn came I went into the office for the interview.
"You have a lot of retail experience," the guy who was in charge of hiring and firing said to me.
"Yes, I do," I said.
"Why would you like to work for us Mr. Kowalski?" The guy asked me that with a smile.
"Cause my unemployment's gonna run out soon; my girl left me and now I have nothing better to do, so I need a job."
He laughed. I don't know why he laughed, but after he laughed he shook my hand and said, "Great! I like honesty Mr. Kowalski. You're hired. Do you have any questions?"
"Yeah I have one question. Can I have off on my birthday?" I asked.
"Sure," he said. "We like to give all our employees off on their birthday if possible. When's your birthday Mr. Kowalski?"
It seemed like everyone was asking me that question. "July 30th," I said.
"That's tomorrow!" he said with surprise as if I had any control over when I had been born.
"I know, but I sorta made plans already," I said.
The guy who was in charge of hiring and firing stared at me. Then he leaned back in his chair and said, "Okay, Mr. Kowalski. I don't see any reason why you can't start your training the day after tomorrow."
"Thank you," I said.
He shook my hand again and said, "Nice to have you with us, Mark. See you at 8 a.m. the day after tomorrow." I was hired. Then I left his office.
On July 30th (my birthday) I walked to the corner bar at 2 in the afternoon. I stayed there until closing time at 2 in the morning. I got drunk all by myself. I don't remember anything about last birthday. It's okay though. I'm not a big birthday guy anyway. I'm more of a crab than a lion.
On July 31st I went to work at my new job. I had lost Jasmine, but I still have that job.

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