And then we get to Milwaukee. And my stomach is starting to mellow. And The Art Museum extension by Calatrava is amazing. Just fucking brilliant. Well, at least on the outside. It’s closed by the time we get there. Between the late start, back road route and my delay after lunch we got there thirteen minutes before they officially closed. We asked if we could walk around really quick just to see the building, but they said they couldn’t let anyone in that late. It was a rule, and after all, rules are rules. Ann didn’t seem too disappointed but I was. I really wanted to see the interior. Oh well, the outside sure was incredible. Truly spectacular. It was worth the drive just for that. The question was “now what?”
We took a seat at a bench facing the front part of the museum with the wing thingies and the lake in view. Which meant sitting right next to Ann side by side. My first thought was about how awful it would/will be with anything my stomach does with her this close to me. My second was how nice it felt to have her body pressed right up to mine like that. OK, not so much her body but her heavy winter coat. Anyway, we don’t say much but sit there just enjoying the view. And, in my case, enjoying the feel of this incredible woman next to me. It’s freezing cold out and the wind is whipping off the lake right at us, but it doesn’t seem to matter. For about two minutes. At which point Ann decides she’s cold and we should go back to the car.
Even the new garage of the Milwaukee Art Museum is cool. There’s these giant, white curved poles that look like rib bones or something. I try really hard to appreciate it and absorb it into my little brain but this whole thing with Ann is keeping me on edge. What now? What’s going on with us?
We got into the Mini and just sat. Ann just assumed she was still driving and once again made me the passenger. Fuck that. Passenger no more. At least, not in this sense. Time to take the wheel! Without thinking it through, which thoroughly would have stopped me in my tracks, I lean in and try to kiss her. She turns her head away at the last minute and I get her cheek. Which means, simply, I am doomed. I went for the lips and got cheek. There is not a surer sign in the world that a woman has no romantic interest in you. No lips. No kiss. No sex. Like I said, doomed.
INT. REALLY COOL GARAGE DESIGNED BY CALATRAVA – DAY
Why did you do that?
I don’t know.
(eloquent, aren’t I?)
You’re just so beautiful, I felt like
it. I didn’t really think it through.
(can you tell I’m trying to recover the fumble here?)
Just don’t, OK?
And she pulled out of the space without even looking behind her and drove out of the garage. And like most rejected guys, I did what came naturally. I pouted. Rejection sucks. Rejection from a girl really sucks. Rejection from a girl you wanted to kiss for years and years yet never thought you could until now, only to be slapped down and told Not Even Now, Not Even Ever, sucks beyond sucks. It hurts in a way that’s almost indescribable (unless you’re a skilled wordsmith like myself, that is). It feels like your insides have been ripped apart and ligaments and muscles are torn from your very bones. Like every insecurity and doubt you ever had about yourself has just been confirmed and verified for the entire world. Like you’ve been exposed for being the totally unappealing, worthless loser you always secretly knew you were. It just really basically sucked.
What do you mean I’m not the wordsmith I think I am? Screw You! Anyway, Dear Annoying Reader, I think you’ll agree with my basic point. Rejection from the opposite sex is up there with the world’s greatest suffering. Which, as I said, was why I was quietly fuming. Incredible how I had gone from a poetic little movie scene in my head of Ann and I making out in the front seats of the Cooler-Than-Cool-Mini inside this incredibly amazing architectural space to this. Pain. Total pain. So much for the graceful tracking shot I had planned in my imaginary film. The gentle swoop down as we come nearer and nearer our young lovers. Now, it would simply be a title card saying “CUT TO PAIN.”
As Ann pays the parking attendant I calculate how long it will take to get back to Madison on the highway. It can’t be quick enough. Being rejected sucks. Being rejected and forced to sit next to the rejectie for hours is inhumane. And why is she driving? It’s my car, God Damn it!
INT. COOLER-THAN-COOL-MINI – DAY
Where are we going?
(There I go being eloquent again)
Where do you want to go now since
the museum was closed?
(Not the only thing that was closed, Off limits, Forbotten, it seemed. Miss Popular, Too Good For Me, God Damn…)
I just kind of assumed we were headed back.
Is that what you want?
No, what I want is you and me naked in
a hotel room fucking each others brains
out. But that doesn’t really look like
it’s going to happen, does it?
(YES, I ACTUALLY SAID THAT. I WAS PISSED.)
Is that all this is about for you, sex?
No, no, not at all. But it’s part of it,
yes. You knew I was attracted to you. It’s
not liked I hid it from you or anything.
And you think just because I agreed to go
to the museum with you that that meant I
was going to sleep with you? What sort of
women have you been spending your time
(Women like Sam and Mary and…)
No. I mean, I might have hoped. But
realistically, no, I didn’t.
So, then why are you acting all hurt
and sitting over there pouting like
I wasn’t pouting (lie). I’m just pissed
off and confused (not a lie).
What are you confused about?
You. What you think of me. What you want
from me. All of it. So, tell me. What
do you want from me? Are we just friends?
Are we more than that? What’s the deal?
Do you always do this to women on the
second date? Or am I just lucky?
(She said “date!” She said “date!”)
Just lucky, I guess. So, answer the
question. What do you want from me?
I wish I knew.
CUT TO BLACK
What just happened? Did I really just tell this woman I really don’t know all that well that what I really wanted was to be naked in a hotel room having sex together? I did, didn’t I? So, when ARE you going to get around to explaining myself to me?! What the hell was I thinking?