Muffin versus Pooh

stack of love wooden blocks
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on
Here is a favourite story of mine. It goes like this:
I met Tamara 15 years ago at work. We both went through training at the same time. We noticed each other and then talked to each other briefly as the training progressed but we were far too busy struggling with the new education we were learning to do more than that.
We graduated and started working. Our training class tried to stay in contact as the months went by but we were drifting apart.
Then one day, in the middle of August, Tamara and I happened to be working out of the same bus terminal together. We hadn’t seen each other much except for a brief encounter in July. She mentioned to me that my birthday was at the end of the month and asked what I had planned for it.
I blinked.
I had totally forgotten that our class had exchanged birthday information with each other when we graduated. As a general rule, I never celebrated my birthday. It was just another day to me.
As I was about to mention this to Tamara, I looked into her green eyes and saw her, as though for the first time.
I knew then, that I had to do whatever it took to get to know her better.
So I lied.
No. Not lied. I determined there and then to create something out of nothing.
I told her that I was indeed planning my annual birthday celebration at a bar named Shanks that was in the southwest and that she was welcome to swing by. After the conversation ended, I walked away and surreptitiously pulled out my cellphone. I immediately called everyone I knew and TOLD them to be at Shanks that weekend.
Miraculously everyone came through and the party at the bar was fantastic. Tamara and I chatted frequently throughout the evening and more and more, I knew that something had clicked between us. Her smile and the way her eyes lit up whenever she laughed, captivated me totally. I was falling.
We both had to work the next day but we arranged our “first” date before and after our shift; breakfast together, work, then dinner at her place.
That, was 15 years ago this day, and I have treasured every day.

My College experience

During my college years, I was a lonely guy. I had no social skills to speak of. At parties my anxiety would spike and I would do anything to avoid social contact with others. I would read any nearby magazines or books. I would even stare intently at plants, anything to fake that I belonged there. Or I would drink, heavily. That never worked out well.

Imagine my surprise when, at a friend’s house party, I met a girl. She was smart, funny and ridiculously attractive. We talked and laughed long into the night.

She called me a week later. We chatted for what seemed like forever. She really seemed to like me. My self-image could barely handle it. I’ve never considered myself an attractive man, but I do have a charm that turns on by itself at random moments. She seemed out of my league, but I went with it.

We arranged for a date downtown. My excitement was through the roof. I threw on my least shabby clothes and made my way to the restaurant.

There she was, waiting on the corner by the restaurant, smiling and radiant. We made our way inside. I was all smiles and charm.

We seated ourselves and looked at the menu. Then it hit me: the Stench. Her perfume was overwhelming, this thick miasma hanging over the table. There was no escaping it.

My reaction was uncontrollable. Coughing, choking and gasping for air, I covered my nose and mouth with a napkin. Her reaction was understandable: anger. I tried to pass it off as a cold I was fighting. She did not buy it and the meal passed quickly and coldly.

We talked a few more times on the phone. Much better for me, scentwise. My charm miraculously returned and she gave me another chance. Coffee this time.

We met outside the coffee shop, so radiant she was. Her perfume punched me squarely in the face. I desperately tried to maintain my composure but I could tell it was already doomed. Perhaps it was because I was dancing around her, trying to stay up wind of her. She looked at me like I was mad.

She politely drank a cup of coffee with me and made idle chit-chat. I was still struggling to breathe in her presence. Then she left and never talked to me again. I remained and drank another coffee and pondered the situation.

Through the sadness of the moment, a smile cut through it all. It was the most Seinfeldian moment of my life. Cue the bass line.

Many years later, I met another woman. Smart, funny and ridiculously attractive. And she doesn’t wear perfume. Plus, she introduced me to the other Love of my life: a cat named Wesley.