“Guys! Why are they so stubborn?” I had no response, so I just shrugged my shoulders and sipped my Pacific Rain Northwest Pale. Joyce continued raging about her husband. “He does the stupidest things and yet he’s smart as a whip.” I had actually heard this all before. Joyce would bitch and moan for another half hour or so and then life would continue. “Have you ever met anyone so bull-headed and obstinate before?” I took another sip or two before I realized that this was not a rhetorical question, Joyce expected an answer.
I nodded my head, sipped and then responded, “Let me think.” My husband Charles had been affable and easy going, so I had to think about friends and neighbors, and then back to younger days until I found an example. “Yes,” I said, “there was a friend in high school.” Joyce asked, “Did you date him.” “No, he never asked . . . if he had asked I would have gone out with him. We knew each other from Junior High, but I’m thinking of an incident when we were sophomores.”
Joyce started quizzing me, “Why didn’t you ask him out or have someone else set you up with him? Was he smart, too? What was his name? Do you have a photo of him? Is he in the yearbook?” Lord, I was already irritated with myself for even speaking up. It was probably the glass of wine I had at dinner with Joyce and then the beer . . . or was it two?
With a gleeful look in her eye, Joyce asked, “Let’s go over to your place and look at your old year books. That’s always a lot of fun.” I did not want Joyce at my place, I would never be able to get her out of the door until well after midnight. “Make me a cup of tea, citrus with no caffeine. I’ll run home and be right back.” Joyce thinking she had won, said, “Great.”
Back home I walked to the bookshelf and bent down to the bottom shelf and pulled out my Klahowya for the 10th grade at Clover Park and quickly shot back over to Joyce’s. I did not want to drag documentation of all my three years of high school for pouring over. Joyce took out a steaming mug of tea from the microwave and set it on the table. I plopped down into the kitchen chair and began blowing on my tea while Joyce flipped through the year book until she got to the sophomores. I could tell when she found my photo, “Wow, look at all that hair! How could you sleep on it at night? Okay, so what was his name?” “Danny Kirk.” He’s wearing a suit and has glasses.
“Why’s he wearing a suit if he’s a sophomore? Was he the only sophomore wearing a suit? Was he a nerd? Why a suit?” I thought to myself, “And you think men are stubborn.” What I said was, “No his friend Bob also wore a suit.” “Were they gay?” “No, I have no idea why they wore suits. They did it every once in while. Maybe they thought it was funny. Danny and Bob and I were in the same English class.”
“Danny was smart. Bob wasn’t. Danny read a lot. We were in drama together the next year. Anyway Danny even recommended books to our teacher. He wasn’t a teacher’s pet or anything, but you could tell she liked him and he enjoyed the class as well. But at then end of the quarter, I heard her tell Danny that he needed to speak up in class. He wasn’t big on volunteering. I wasn’t keeping track, but we got down the last few days of class and we had a discussion about a book. I don’t even recall the name of the book. Danny just sat there. He wasn’t worried. He just sat there. He JUST sat there.”
Joyce looked at me, “Why did you care?” I almost shouted, “He was a friend. He was always helpful. We talked. He was nice guy. The teacher asked a question. Danny just sat there, so my hand shot up and I made some sort of statement and ended with, but I’m not sure how that all fits together . . . my head turned and I said what do you think Danny?” Danny nodded and then explained what he thought the whole book meant. Talk about stubborn. He knew the book, he knew the answers, he just didn’t want to volunteer. Stubborn. After class the teacher smiled at me and nodded her head as a thank you.”
Joyce’s hands went up as if to ask what did Danny do. “He smiled and said thank you. I don’t know why he didn’t speak up. I don’t know why he never asked me out. I don’t know why he was so stubborn. I don’t know why men are so stubborn. I just don’t know.”
“And why didn’t you ask him out?” Letting out a slight snort, I replied, “I guess I was stubborn, too.”
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.
Mary Hammond says
Don, I’m confused. Have you allowed your wife to write today’s story, under your byline?
Was this your response to a creative writing class challenge to write a story from a different perspective?
It was a sneaky way to get me to read the whole thing three times, to check and double check. Yes, Don really said, “My husband Charles . . . .”
I think you owe us — and your wife — an explanation.
Don Doman says
Thanks for commenting. It’s a short story. You know I’m the author, so unfortunately you believe I am the person speaking, but that is not so. I never allow Peg to do anything. She does what she wants. She does proof read my articles and “stories.”
Thanks for sharing. I hope you enjoyed the story.
Mary Hammond says
Don, you fooled me. I wasn’t aware that the SubTimes was publishing fiction — aside from several of Joe Boyle’s humorous articles, in which he regularly stretched the truth, and then illustrated his stories with altered (or stolen!) photos. I’ll admit to having been misled by Joe a time or two.
I don’t often use that word “misled,” because until about 10 years ago, when encountering it in a book or article, I pronounced it (to myself) as “MY’- zld.” (Misers were especially likely to have misled me.) I finally figured out that “misled” was the past tense of “mislead,” so was actually pronounced “miss-led.”
Don Doman says
What????? Joe Boyle stretching the truth . . . I don’t believe it. I didn’t mean to fool you, Mary. I think I’ve written eight or nine short stories (fiction) that have appeared on The Suburban Times. I always add “Short Story.” to clue people in, but you are not the first to be confused. “The short story is one of the oldest types of literature and has existed in the form of legends, mythic tales, folk tales, fairy tales, fables and anecdotes in various ancient communities across the world.” Short Story just reads so much better than “Fake News All Made Up Tales of BS.” Thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing.