This is a piece I'm working on for The Moth StorySLAM this upcoming Monday. The theme is Outgrown. Here's the first little bit . . .
I was standing in the women’s restroom of my hometown Wal-mart, wearing latex gloves, changing the liner of the metal feminine hygiene trashcan in stall number two. This was the end of a pretty shitty day. A couple of weeks before, I had broken up with my high school girlfriend of two years, Angela, and she couldn’t let go. She had come to the store that afternoon. She wouldn’t engage me in conversation, but she seemed to pop up at every corner I turned, staring at me with sad, “how could you?” eyes. Meanwhile, a few days ago, I had gone on a date with this other girl, Nicole, who I had met doing a musical revue at the community college I was to attend in the fall. She still hadn’t returned my calls asking for another date.
And now here I was at the end of my eight hour day, the worst part of my day: Rounding up the stray shopping carts from the parking lot, taking out the trash from around the store, and finally, cleaning the restrooms, including the most disgusting part, emptying the tampon trash. This is why when my buddies, Jason and Phil, poked their head through the door, pushing the trash can I used to prop it open out of the way, and said, “Hey, Big D, what’s up?” I turned to them and said, with all the world weariness an 18-year-old kid can muster: “I hate fucking women.”
Phil was standing behind Jason. And when I said what I said, he got this look of panic on his face, started waving his hands and shaking his head. He pointed at Jason, silently mouthing something I couldn’t understand. I looked at him confused. He mouthed the words again, and I got it:
“April broke up with him.”
Jason turned around, saw what Phil was doing, and turned back to me. “Yeah, man, we broke up.”
My buddies and I, we were always playing jokes on each other; sometimes we just made up stories to see if we could get each other to fall for them. And I didn’t believe Jason’s story for a fucking second. April and Jason, man, they were The Couple. They were solid. They had been dating, like, a year.
Jason and I played football together. A few months before, on the night of our last game, ever, we sat on the tailgate of his truck in the high school parking lot. We bullshitted for over an hour simply because once we got in our cars and drove away, it was over. Our football days were officially behind us. The only thing that broke up our bro-love fest was April pulling up in her car coming to find him. Jason shooed me away, hoping he could parlay our winning our last game into another very important win - in April’s pants.
“No way,” I said to Jason. “No fucking way, I’m not falling for it.” Phil began nodding his head, and Jason said, “No, man, we really broke up.”
“Shit, man, I’m sorry.”
“Fuck her. We’re going to get some pizza. Wanna come?”