Quotation Inspiration Contest Entry - 2/28/08
|"Tell me something that you've never told me before."
I looked across the table at my fiancée, unsure of how to respond.
"We're getting married, and we can't keep secrets from each other anymore. So if you tell me one of your secrets, I'll tell you one of mine."
I thought it over, wondering whether I should tell her my secret. I've always been an open and honest guy, and had never felt the need to deceive Lara. In fact, I wouldn't even call it so much a secret as an omission. It's just something that I never got around to mentioning, and isn't the kind of thing that comes up in the course of regular conversation.
"Come on," she encouraged. "No judgment, okay? Neither of us can get angry or ask why the other person kept the secret to begin with."
She was right. We're getting married in a few weeks, and it's time to put all the cards on the table. If it's truly meant to be, this won't bother her.
I took a deep breath.
"My ex-girlfriends have a club."
She looked at me, a little confused.
"My ex-girlfriends," I explained, "Created this club, of sorts. Apparently, there are only two criteria for membership. First, you have to have dated me... and second, you have to be scarred in some way."
I shook my head, now feeling a little embarrassed.
"You know I don't have the best of luck with my, uh..."
"Exactly. Well, it seems that inadvertent injury is a popular topic of conversation in the club. My exes like to swap stories about who was injured how."
"You've got to be kidding. How'd you hear about this?"
"Remember Ben? The old college buddy of mine we ran into during that Napa wine tour last spring? He dated Josie after I did... and she's apparently one of the founding members."
"And what did you do to Josie, that was so bad?"
I swallowed hard.
"I may have, inadvertently of course... accidentally stabbed her with a kabob skewer at a barbecue."
Lara stared at me incredulously.
"What?" I cried out defensively. "I was putting the veggies on the skewers, I moved left when she moved right... it just kind of happened!"
"And she was permanently scarred from the experience?"
"Scarred over puncture wound on her right shoulder."
"Okay, look... we both know you're a little, uh, clumsy. But surely not every girlfriend?"
I crossed my arms and leaned back in my chair.
"I've told you about all of them. Try me."
Her eyes narrowed, silently accepting the challenge with a playfully competitive stare.
"Allergic reaction to ink from the tattoos we got in Acapulco. She still has half a turtle on her lower back."
"Broken finger from when I accidentally let the car door close on her hand."
"Rolled over her foot on my motorcycle... and clipped her ankle with the kickstand."
I shifted uncomfortably. "Uh, accidentally set her left cheek down on a hot burner when we, um, got carried away in the kitchen."
I tried to play it off like it was nothing, but my skin was already burning with embarrassment. Debonair had never been a word that described me, but even I had to admit, now that I thought about it, the long list of women I had caused some form of permanent injury to, was concerning.
"Are there others?" Lara asked.
"Yeah," I admitted. "A few. But you get the idea, right?"
Lara nodded and I exhaled loudly, happy to be off the hook.
"And these girls formed a club?"
"Well, at first it was just Josie and Ingrid. We all went to high school together and got to talking at the reunion... and it just kind of spiraled from there. Whenever I dated someone new, they apparently kept tabs and, sure enough, after each breakup, the new ex-girlfriend qualified for membership."
Lara stared at me.
"How do you even get out of bed in the morning," she joked.
"Ha ha," I moped.
We ate in silence for a few minutes, until I had to change the subject.
"Okay, well what about you? Time to hear your secret."
Lara smiled at me.
"It's funny you mention it," she said, slipping the strap of her dress off her shoulder. My gaze quickly darted around the elegant restaurant and its prestigious clientele, worried that someone might see. Once I was sure that no one else was looking, I turned my attention back to Lara's bare shoulder.
"See anything?" She asked.
Peering closer, I could indeed see four small, crescent-shaped white scars near her collarbone.
"There's another one on the back," she mentioned.
"Fingernail marks," she confirmed. "From sitting in front of you on Splash Mountain during our Disneyland trip. You were so scared you grabbed my shoulder and dug in."
My heart sagged, feeling like it was about to fall into the pit of my stomach.
"I guess that means you qualify for membership too," I muttered remorsefully.
"Actually," Lara said, leaning across the table and pulling me in for a kiss. "I only meet one criteria. It's the ex-girlfriends club, right?"
I nodded, still recovering from her sensual, inviting kiss.
"Then you have nothing to worry about. You've got me for life... permanent injury and all."
I gazed deep into the eyes of my future wife, having never loved her more.