I met Wendy ten years ago. I was nineteen (that should be an indication to my current age) and we were on a line at Toys R Us buying the same thing, ironically: Kingdom Hearts. She stood in front of me. I remember because she had heels on and from the way she shifted in the them it seemed like it had been something she wasn’t used to.
Wendy gave out a fairly audible sigh as she peered over the head of the woman in front of her. Wendy stood five foot five inches; the heels she wore were three inches. I’m five foot eleven by the way. But in New York City that’s still considered average amongst women. So I’ve heard.
“Why hasn’t this line moved yet? Its been about ten minutes already.” She impatiently said.
It didn’t matter to me how fast the line moved because I had the day off, as well as the next, and it was early afternoon; all of my free time would be dedicated to playing Kingdom Hearts. That was the plan, at least.
I don’t know why I even said anything but I looked over at the front of the line to see what the hold-up was. There was a woman putting toys on the conveyor belt one after the other from a shopping cart. It was early October so she must have been getting her Christmas shopping done. Smart woman.
I relayed this information to Wendy (at this point I hadn’t learned her name yet, of course) and she let out another audible sigh in response. Then, her eyes fell on my hands.
“Buying the game for a bratty family member, too?”
At first I had no idea what she was talking about until I met her gaze. “I’m an only child.” I said.
This isn’t true; I have a younger brother. But he’s only a baby. He’s from my fathers side- new marriage. I won’t go into all that because it doesnt pertain to the story. But in reality I didn’t lie. Yet women, from what I’ve learned over the years, would qualify this as a lie. A white one, true, but still a lie nonetheless.
Wendy’s eyes magnified as the term “nerd” obviously popped into her head. I let it be because in some ways I am a nerd. Again, I won’t get into that.
“Who’s the bratty family member you’re buying your copy for?” She rolled her eyes with a smirk and said, “my nephew. Actually he’s a boy I’ve been babysitting the last couple of years, but he feels like a part of my family.” “I never understood how the babysitting circuit worked. Like, how does one get a babysitting job? It can’t always be as easy as Ann M. Martin made it out to be.”
Before answering Wendy suppressed a laugh. “What do boys know about The Babysitter’s Club?” I shrugged. “Nothing. I read maybe one book from the series, and that was only due to the fact that this girl I was friends with had only that around her apartment, and I wanted to read something since her mother didn’t believe in video games.”
“She really wasn’t, and not just for the neglection this girl was given for the lack of visual stimulation video games provide.”
“Video games are stupid.”
“So is make up, yet its a multi-billion dollar organization.”
“Make up is essential to a woman’s life.”
“For what, hiding her natural beauty? Wait for Halloween to wear make up. It’s the only day you’re allowed to wear someone else’s face anyway.”
The line finally began to inch forward, mostly due to a neighboring register finally opening up. Wendy and I stayed on our line though. She was second to last by the time she looked back at me to say “you have a point. Maybe its because I’m not a guy that I don’t see what video games can offer. Even though you didn’t give an argument on the subject.”
“I don’t have to. They speak for themselves. And you don’t have to be a guy to understand the logistics of a video game. Besides, just because I’m buying this game doesn’t mean I sit at home playing all day to form a defensive stance. I barely have any free time. I’m buying it for two reasons.”
“And what are they?”
“For starters, the company that created the Final Fantasy series made this game. That means I already have high expectations for it because Final Fantasy is a great series.”
She nodded as she handed the game to the cashier. “Cash or charge?” “Charge, please” Wendy said as she handed the cashier a blue Visa card.
“And the second reason?” She said, turning her attention back to me.
“I loved Disney as a kid, so I had to see just how both were incorporated into each other.”
Wendy paid for the game and stepped to the side. My initial reaction was surprise; I thought she would say “well it was nice talking to you” and leave. But no, there she was waiting for me to pay, which I did, and the two of us walked out of the store shoulder to shoulder.
Before I could speak Wendy says “so are you going home to play that game or do you have time for lunch?”
“Lunch?” I said, not really sure what was going on. She lauighed and said “Yea. You know, the second meal of the day.” I was flabbergasted. I don’t wake up every morning dreaming up scenarios like this. I don’t even pursue women (at the time I mean) so I was taken aback by how forward she was.
“My initial plan was to go home and bunker myself in my room until I had to go back to work Sunday. But at the mention of food, I felt my stomach rumble.”
She laughed and said “well we’re in Times Square; where would you like to eat?”
“I don’t even know your name though.”
That was the moment Wendy became Wendy.