Bailey was not necessarily an important person in my life, but she was the first person to make me believe I had what it took to live a life less lonely.
It all started with my Sonic days. Whilst working there a short, blonde girl with a mole just below her left cheek suddenly appeared before me, making drinks. I asked one of the other cooks who she was. They responded merely with a shrug and, “The new girl.” I wanted to know more about her. Everyone said she was extremely shy. On the list I saw Bailey written for the carhops later on in the week. “Who’s that?” I asked.
“That’s the shy girl.”
“Ahhh.” I said, “Don’t worry, I’ll get her to talk.” I was joking of course, as my luck with girls (especially Sonic ones) had proven pathetic. The rare occasions I mustered up the courage to awkwardly ask a girl out I was either stood up or shut down for “polite” reasons like “I’m not ready yet.” following a breakup, only to find out another cook was going out with her that weekend. The lie was more upsetting than the shut down. Nothing worse than finding out other people don’t think you can take it. On that day where our work schedules once again coincided, I took my lunch break the same time as Bailey. In the back was one small table where we ate. I talked to her briefly and another carhop came back to grab some cups. “Anybody know whose car that is out there?” She asked, referring to my Mini Minivan with Duct tape on the side door.
“Oh, that’s Errol’s.” She laughed and Bailey seemed confused.
“That would belong to him.”
“I know, right?” I said, “He’s such a weird dude. Kind of a dick, too.” I continued to talk shit on myself in the third person while the carhop humored me, and after she left Bailey asked who Errol was. I pointed at myself.
“What?! No you’re not.”
“Yes I am!”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Wanna see my Driver’s license?”
Okay. I pulled out my license and handed it to her. Her laugh was powerful. It would have knocked me off my feet if I weren’t sitting. Our friendship began there, and we exchanged shifts to work together and stayed late after close, talking about the infamous Nate the Snake. I showed her my music collection, which was the talk of the high school I went to. She lived in an extremely small town just a few miles over. We were hitting it off, if you didn’t count the fact that she had a boyfriend at the time. Everyone at Sonic knew that I liked her, and they looked at me with this look of pity; like I was a poor injured puppy trying to cross the street. They all stopped in their cars to let me cross, but no one volunteered to get out. Bailey and I exchanged phone numbers and talked late and often.
Her and the boyfriend began to get a little rocky, as high school relationships often (always) do. While their switch was flipped off I saw Bailey eyeing the employee schedule and looking a bit confuzzled. “What’s this?” She asked, pointing at a spot on Sunday where it said she was due in at 7, and then again at 11.
“That’s the monthly meeting.”
“Well, why would they schedule me so close like that? I don’t live in this town. Can I skip it?”
“I don’t know. If you skip three you’re fired.”
“What about church?” She said with a smile.
“That’s awfully early for a sermon.”
“Damn it. What am I supposed to do for three hours?”
This was my chance.
“You could hang out with me if you want. There’s this awesome breakfast diner we could go to and then just hang out at my place until you have to go to work.” I braced myself for the shut down, or the excuse, or the infamous maybe that never swings to yes.
“Yeah, that sounds fun.”
Holy shit. That was it! Call it what you want, but I’m calling it a date. The first girl to say yes. I was ecstatic.
Too bad I got fired before that week was up.
I was able to talk to Bailey before that Sunday, however, and she said she was still interested in hanging out when the meeting was over. I met up with her and took her to Country Kitchen, where we ate food worthy of a midwestern diner before retreating back to my friend’s basement I was living in to watch some Aqua Teen Hunger Force and converse. She changed at around 10:30 into her Sonic clothes and I offered to run her by my old home, post our Clash raid that recently occurred. I walked her in and she bore witness to our destruction.
The thing that peaked her interest the most was the sliding glass door that had exploded in a web, but hadn’t shattered. We walked up to it and I touched the center, immediately cutting my finger. I dropped her off and our relationship deteriorated after that because I began dating Misty, who found out about our late night phone calls and was not happy. I often wonder what my life would be like in an alternate dimension where I continued to pursue Bailey. She wasn’t a big part of my life, but she gave me that one yes that I needed to feel special, and for that I’ll always be thankful.
When I see a web of broken glass I think about that Sunday morning when I came in with the breeze and Bailey and poked the center of the spot on the sliding door. The shattered glass sparks memories of the first girl to reciprocate interest in me. It’s one of the few thoughts that will have a strong hold on my mind, even as it decays. If I find myself driving down the road, and my worst fear comes to life, a flat at fifty, I’ll spin out of control and probably hit a pole. My head will smash the windshield. After I awaken from my temporary blackout, I’ll see a foggy web in the foreground. It’s the spot where my head collided, and she’ll enter my mind. I’ll reminisce that short-lived relationship for the next few moments of my short life, before drifting off into a blissful blackness. I’ll die thinking of Bailey.