Tuesday, July 10, 2012

One Boy. One Girl. One Shirt.

I'm posting this for the sake of posterity.  It's the story Forrest wrote for our wedding website.

Our Story...with a twist!

"You like, eh?" the man said, grinning widely. His crooked yellow-stained teeth did little to mask the pungent odor of cigarettes and gin on his breath. "You like this shirt." More of a statement than a question. "It full of good luck for you!"

"Don't really need luck," Forrest said, growing impatient with the clerk. "More interested in comfort and style." He had just returned to Hawaii after a long fifteen months on deployment in Iraq. He was short on clothes and long on cash, so he was now hunting through Chinatown for rags on the cheap, even if out of the main.

"Comfort! Yes!" the old proprietor said. "You feel! Shirt very soft! You try on. It look good on you. You get many many ladies! So you see... style and luck!" Even bigger grin this time.

Later, he wouldn't be able to figure out if it was temporary insanity, destiny, or just poor taste, but Forrest took out his wallet. He handed the old man a twenty, nodding intent to buy. Something in the old man's eyes told him he just purchased more than he bargained for.

Of Interlopers
and a very important first encounter of which our readers will learn more shortly


The sound didn't register with her at first. She was reveling in the spirit of the season--that feeling of the cross-roads or the journey's end that one experiences in college towns in the late fall when the jubilation and drama of the graduating class takes over. Compounded with the thrilling sense of autumnal foreboding, the surreal pandemonium of dead week in College Station is capable of leaving even the most stoic of young Aggies giddy with goose flesh.


Her heart skipped a beat. Jenny wondered whose footsteps she heard ascending the stairs outside her friend's second story apartment as she let the enthralling conversation lapse for only a moment.

"That's why they use coconut oil with the bobby pins," Jenny continued.

Stuart laughed. "Dusseldorf!"

"Dusseldorf!" Jenny laughed.

There was a heavy sound of shuffling outside the door.

"Shh!" Stuart started. "Do you hear something?"

Jenny had. That someone was just outside the door was evident. Who it was remained a mystery. Stuart had mentioned that her brother, the one in the army, would be coming over. Jenny now wondered if it could be he who now gently knocked.

"Yes?" Stuart called.

The door knob slowly turned. The door creaked open. A silhouette filled the door way, then a figure slowly emerged.

Jenny then beheld his piercing eyes. His pouting lip. His disappearing hairline. Then she was blinded. Not by his looks, but by the glaring light from a line across his shirt--of glitter? Was that glitter on his shirt?

"Hey," Forrest said with a nod, in his usually eloquent fashion, as he entered the apartment.

"Hi, bubby," Stuart said as she approached him for a hug. "This is my friend, Jenny."
He would never remember from that day forward, what he said in greeting. She had bewitched him at first glance. Her beauty was unsurpassed. Her smile was as rich as the harvest...

...But then she opened her mouth and the curse-- he would later realize it was a curse with which the old man had burdened him--the curse sunk its malevolent claws into his mind.

"Are you wearing a glitter shirt?" Jenny said before laughing.

What insolence! Forrest thought. To insult the manhood of a veteran! How unpatriotic! How untoward! No amount of beauty could forgive such baseness.

"They're beads," he said.

"That is glitter," she laughed.

He couldn't concentrate anymore on what she said. The clash of her beauty with her ridicule baffled him. When he left, his mood was one of enchantment mixed with irritation. Jenny was simultaneously charmed and bemused. The shirt had accomplished its foul deed. Love would be delayed.

The Middle Bits
skipping past all the filler chapters

I could tell you how it was two long years before Forrest and Jenny got together: How they barely even saw each other during those two years. I could tell you how Forrest finally got the sense to call her after seeing her again over the New Year holiday. I could regale you with anecdotes of their early courtship -- long conversations on the phone -- hours on Skype.

But, let's face it. Those middle parts of romance stories are always far more interesting to the characters involved in the romance. Well, women may enjoy those bits, but men, well... we'd just as soon skip them, if not the story all together. So for the sake of brevity and gender compromise, suffice it to say that Forrest and Jenny hit it off quite well, promises and sweet nothings were exchanged, and it was not very long at all before marriage was taken under consideration.

In fact, their romance moved so swiftly, it took them less time to decided to marry than it took you to read this sentence!

A Burning Love
containing proof of the cruelty of the sun

"This ought to do it," Donald Thain said as he rested his paddle on the canoe bottom. "Anchors away!"

Forrest hoisted the formidable iron weight over the side and let go. It splashed before rushing to the bottom of the waters just off the Packery Channel.
Donald and Forrest were out fishing during what should have been a cloudy day, but turned out to be quite inconveniently sunny, during Forrest's first visit to the Thain household in Corpus Christi. But Forrest had much more on his mind that just fishing. He planned to ask Jenny's hand in marriage during this alone time with her father.

"Anchor's set," Forrest said.

"Ok," Donald said as he cut the first piece of live bait and hooked it on the line.

The massive anchor failed to grab the sea bottom as the mighty winds shoved the canoe left and right, causing it to gradually drift in the direction of the channel. As Donald cast the rod for the first time, Forrest nervously awaited an opening to force the issue. After several blundered attempts, he finally mustered the courage.

"So," he began awkwardly, voice half cracking as he twisted around to talk to Mr. Thain. "I love Jenny." More awkwardness. Some meaningless gesture of the hand. "I'd like to ask you for her hand in marriage." He waited for the response as a defendant waits for judgment.

"Oh, sure," Donald said, taken by surprise. "Great. Congratulations!"

Forrest let out a sigh of relief. They cracked open a couple of beers, and began fishing in earnest and much more at ease.

One hour passed. No fish.

Two hours passed. No fish.

Third hour: fish caught, but too small to keep unless several more fish caught.

Meanwhile, the sun worked his constant mischief. Unbeknownst to our two fishermen, there skin was slowly baking, baking, baking. Over three hours had passed before Donald and Forrest called it quits. The ride back to the house revealed in stages the extent of their sunburn.

Meanwhile, back at the house, Jenny had been commiserating with one of her friends over a non-related matter involving wasted time. They were aided in this endeavor by a bottle of a sort of grain-based fermented drink, a box of trash bags used as a makeshift slip-n-slide, and a few hours off the clock.

By the time Forrest and Mr. Thain returned, the girls had lain down for a nice quiet nap which they were loathe to quit. Copious amounts of coffee and more time were able to eventually rouse them, and everyone was soon quite chipper. The friend (names have been excluded to protect the innocent... well the not-so-innocent too, I suppose) left shortly after.

Twilight was waxing when Forrest asked Jenny if she would like to accompany him to the back yard and watch and wait for the stars to appear. Jenny totally bought it. She never expected this to be the moment. At least, that's Forrest's story and since he happens to be the author, you'll just have to take his word. Anyway, not having known for basically a month and not knowing explicitly that this was de facto his underlying motivation for going fishing with her father, Jenny graciously acquiesced and gracefully exited to the back yard while Forrest excused himself to, "grab a drink before coming out."

Clever as usual, Forrest actually did not require a drink. It was merely a ruse to retrieve the engagement ring from his bags before joining Jenny on the lawn. Very clever!

As Forrest walked toward Jenny, she smiled sweetly for him and still totally didn't suspect a thing. Forrest made a move to take a seat beside her, but (ever so smoothly, don't you know?) he instead went down on one knee. Taking the small wooden box from behind his back he opened it, took out the ring, and asked her to marry him.

Her face lit up and, without hesitation--but that doesn't mean that she even slightly expected a proposal--she said yes.

And then...
"Write some more of the story," Jenny called from the other room.

"I'm already doing it," Forrest called back.

"Well hurry up!" Jenny said.

"There's a process, you know?" Forrest said, exasperated. "The more you keep bothering me, the longer it will take."

"It has to be ready soon," Jenny pleaded.

Forrest shook his head as he continued to type. He had successfully turned a ten minute task into a month long labor. A smile slowly appeared on his face as an idea struck on him and his fingers attacked the keyboard in a flurry. Suddenly he jumped and let out a startled gasp. Jenny had crept into the room and was peering over his shoulder.

"You scared me," he said.

"Is our story finished?" She asked excitedly as she sat down on his lap.

"Finished?" Forrest wondered for a moment. "No," he said, looking Jenny in the eyes and smiling. "Our story has just begun."

For those of you who think the end is a cop out, I happen to think it was pretty good, and I really am on a little bit of a time crunch, and anyway this is already likely longer than any other story your likely to find on any other wedding website, and it is free after all, and you didn't have to read it.

For those of you that find it to be corny or gay, I'd like to say, "Grow up, dude. Quit being so insecure. Why are you looking at a wedding website anyway? Did your woman make you read it? Oh snap! Who's gay now?"

For those of you that are offended by the fact that I took slight liberties with the narrative and didn't always strictly adhere to the literal facts, come on! It's a story. You knew that going in. Excuse me for trying to spice it up a little, Negatron! Lighten up!

For any other critics out there who are dissatisfied for some reason... well... *blows rasberry*... jog on!

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