It’s rare that I completely dislike a person within the first few minutes of discovering them. It is rare, but it does happen. Brooke Eastman was one such case.
There was no denying it – Brooke was a bitch in the classic sense of the word. She was a bitch of such monumental proportions that on the day of her birth previous generations of bitches turned in their graves to receive their unearned redemption.
When I first met her, I thought perhaps she was just having a bad day, or that perhaps she was evoking an unfortunate moment of self loathing in me. Lord knows at some point in our lives we’ve all had both.
She came into the quad with her little devoted entourage in tow, speaking way too loud about something of no importance to anyone, even herself, as was evident in the way she let her sentences trail into oblivion when nearing their climax, something that was effectively breaking my fragile concentration. She looked aggressively in my direction, which I almost took as an un-invited challenge before realizing that to her I was simply an inanimate extension of the bench on which I sat. For all she knew, I was made of weathered brass.
Her entourage began to break apart, whole-heartedly apologizing for their inability to better co-ordinate their class schedules. Apologies she didn’t seem to care about. She dismissed them without promise or hope that they would, or even could, regain her favor.
They left in collective silence as Brooke moved to the other end of my bench. Her aura left me with an urge to move; but, as happens with me from time to time, I ignored the inner bitch-o-meter and stood my ground; trying with all the strength I could muster to let my inner peace radiate to balance her external turmoil.
We sat in silence for a while, except for her occasional sighs and chirps of frustration as she scrolled through something on her phone. I finally broke down and asked, in the nicest voice I could muster, if there was some sort of problem.
She stopped moving, stopped breathing – stopped making noise all-together. As she flipped her phone closed and turned to me I realized her apparent growing ire was actually for me – how dare I exist in her vicinity. She looked down her nose like a queen noticing someone’s dog having the audacity to poop in her presence.
I took a soft breath and repeated my question, adding the ubiquitous explanations of not being able to avoid noticing her flustered state, taking care to pause before the words “flustered state.”
I watched her face contort then give way to an obviously forced smile.
All the features were there for her to be a beautiful young woman. Her blue eyes were framed by her well dyed blond hair. Her make-up, designer and fresh, showed obvious access to the latest fashion magazines and the money to follow them. Even her bone structure should have made her face the thing directors salivate over. Yet, she was not a natural beauty. She worked hard to cover the dark circles and the peach fuzz hair growth that often accompanies anorexia. Unfortunately, she did not work at all to uncover any social graces that might have been hidden within.
I listened, hiding my shock, as she barked something about not noticing me sitting there. I opted not to respond with the obvious fact that it was completely impossible to miss someone sitting just two feet to your left. Instead I tried to stop the conversation through silence, deciding that my initial thoughts on this girl were probably right. It was, in fact, her not me. She was a raging bitch.
I turned as coldly as I could, and re-opened my book. Although I was still unable to concentrate, something inside of me did not want to relinquish my seat to this invading force. The sun was warm on my face in spite of the crispness of the autumn air and there would not be many more days like this in my life and I was tired of always losing them to the Brooke’s of the world. That is, at least, what I told myself. In truth, she had simply awakened my own inner bitch.
Looking back, I realize my folly. If I had gotten up at that point and taken a walk or gone to see a movie or even taken a cup of coffee just a few blocks away, I would still have enjoyed the day with noting lost. I would not have unlocked the door for her. My life would have continued, relatively unchanged.
Brooke returned to her sighs and cell phone, stopping occasionally to scan the quad like a cat looking for a grasshopper to torture. She looked bored and hungry.
I saw her face change before I saw him. He was already walking towards me, smiling and waving, which she apparently thought was for her. Her ego was obviously healthier than she was. She closed her phone and waved flirtily in his direction. He laughed as my jaw fell slightly open. I prayed under my breath that they didn’t know one another, but had to ask anyway.
She smiled in my direction saying she’d seen us around. What could I really say in response.
He arrived. We hugged. He asked me to introduce him to my friend. Before I could say we weren’t friends Brooke was introducing herself, explaining that we had just met and how she was telling me how she’d seen us around campus in a way that meant she’d seen HIM around campus.
I watched his body language change. He found her attractive.
I looked back at Brooke, trying to see her through his eyes, finding myself unable to un-see what I had already seen of her. The continued to talk as if I had already left.
In a brief lull in their dialogue, he turned to me to see what I doing. I gave him the short but sweet version, feeling uncomfortable with Brooke’s presence and obviously fake interest in my day. I stopped all together when she commented on knowing what I meant by such few days left to enjoy a carefree life.
Before I knew it, Brooke had invited “us” for coffee. He had immediately agreed. I decided it would be best if I didn’t tag along, so I made my lamest of excuses. He looked at me without a clue and said he’d catch up with me later, he had a movie he wanted us to watch together.
I watched as they walked away, amazed how different Brooke was from her entrance. The sun didn’t feel quite so warm anymore so I decided to go back home and wait for the verdict I knew would return.
Through the course of their six month relationship I fought hard to keep my feelings to myself, believing somewhere inside that he would see for himself in time. If he didn’t then obviously, he wasn’t the person I thought I knew. It was a difficult battle, that in truth, I mostly lost though I never spoke a word against her to him or anyone else. I have never been good at hiding my disdain for someone and my feelings for her went well beyong disdain.
In the end it didn’t matter. The psychological battles between us wore heavy on a delicate part of my soul, as well as on my friendship with him. By the time they split, he and I were still friends, but mostly in name only. Eventually I lost track of him all together.
I heard, not so long ago, that Brooke had made it far in her chosen field – law. It did not surprise me. She was tailor made for it. It didn’t even surprise me to find out she was happy with her newly tightened face and ass. It did surprise me that I felt sorry for her. Her life sounded cold and lifeless, completely revolving around the superficial and fleeting things in life, things to which I had yet to be drawn. I wondered if she would ever discover something more meaningful. I laughed when I considered that she probably thought the same of me.