Fickle Finger of Fate

This is actually about my second-worst New Year's Eve. If I told you about the first, I might have to kill you.

I was six weeks out of a relationship with the woman of my dreams. I thought she loved me. We had an argument on Halloween about our costumes. The argument must have really scared her, because we saw each other only one more time, and it was to return keys, toothbrushes and underwear.

A month later I was still recovering and turning down invitations from family and friends for Thanksgiving dinners. I treated myself to fresh lobster and spent the weekend alone watching rented movies and college football.

My office had an early Christmas party which ended too soon, and the losers went to a neighborhood bar to continue the celebrating. I ran into a friend of a friend who introduced me to Mindy. I was smitten and asked her out for the following weekend. She said yes. I was, however, hauling around a broken heart and feeling emotionally weak. I had a few days to gear up mentally and vowed that it would be a long time before any woman had me emotionally down on one knee again. I pretended to act like a new man and started walking around like John Wayne. I even vowed that I wouldn't sleep with any woman I hadn't gone out with on at least four dates, and that I was going to quit making the mistake of falling in love with every woman I slept with.

Mindy and I couldn't seem to get enough of each other, and our fourth date arrived on New Year's Eve. She had a roommate, and I took it as a good sign that she drove over to my place. We went down to a bar on Broadway that later on was wiped out by a snowstorm. There were plenty of hot women and hunky guys, but we spent most of the time shouting in each other's ears. We did get drunk, and she was the designated driver for the fact that she remembered which pocket of my jacket I'd slipped my car keys in.

She'd never driven my car before. About a half-mile from my house she started acting antsy and said she had to pee real bad. We got to my house a minute later, and we were both laughing hard, but she couldn't release the seat belt. I reached over with my left hand and fumbled around with the latch backwards. I couldn't get the button to release. She sweetly screamed out my name and said she was going to pee on the car seat if she didn't get inside now. She rolled out from under the belt and onto my hand, which was stretched out over the top of the latch. I felt and heard my little finger crack and looked down and it was touching the back of my hand. It didn't seem to matter. I was drunk, I was going to get laid, and I was John Wayne.

Mindy rolled out from under the seat belt and made a mad drunken dash for the bathroom. She was successful.

By the time she stumbled out of the bathroom I was naked under the sheets and my left hand was beginning to turn black and blue. Alcohol and my new persona provided a strong painkiller. Besides, I imagined, the best sex of my life was just around the corner. The next thirty minutes were a debauched spectacle of flailing sheets and clothes and sweat. To drive home my point, I grabbed the headboard with both hands at the moment I came. I heard my finger crack again and was swept over by a flood of pain and pleasure. I jumped off of her. I was barely able to walk from the combined forces of pleasure and pain. I threw myself back against the wall and into a chair and burst into tears.

I awoke when the late morning sun came cutting through the window. I was still sitting in the chair, and my left hand was turning yellow and was the size of a cantaloupe. I wasn't sure of the origin of my headache, but it worked its way through my entire body. Mindy and I were supposed to go to a brunch on New Year's Day. My bed was empty. The house was empty. And there was no note. I tried calling her number about ten times before I finally spoke to her.

I asked her what the problem was. She said, "I don't want to be involved with a guy who cries when he has an orgasm. It's too weird." I tried to explain, but it was for naught. I never talked to Mindy again.

New Year's Day afternoon, I went to the emergency room at St. Joseph Hospital. My little finger was broken in three places and was going to need to be reset. I was sitting on an examining table when the doctor arrived. He cradled my hand and told me I should lie down because the process of realigning the bones was really going to hurt. I acted like my buddy, John Wayne, and told the doctor I was used to pain. The nurse distracted me for a second, and the doctor yanked the bones back into place. Right before I passed out, I saw stars.

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Scott Keating