Pining For Reuben – And Then What Happened?

roller rinkI’d been in the bar eight or ten times. I was hell on wheels at the rink by now. Sometimes I’d stay for the first song of the second set. The Who’s “Goin’ Mobile”.

I liked that song. I liked to hear it but sometimes I couldn’t manage because I was not that interested in the bar hijinks. I was a very old teenager. I had worked in a bar so long; there was nothing new to see. I’d get sad and I’d get bored. Everyone was meeting and mating, you know? Ack.

I did not tire of Reuben though. He was a guaranteed payoff. Ooh la la, did I like that guy. I was living off him when you get right down to it. He was how I knew I was still alive, but I never upped the ante or moved any closer to the edge. This was due my faith.

I wouldn’t have called it that at the time but that is what it was. I’d been through so much for so long I knew  something would break my way. I was not done for. I’d find a way out eventually so I was just lying low waiting for the fog to lift and it wasn’t all bad. I go mobile on my skates, you know. I’d fly.

I was at my usual table in the back, first song, first set. I was absorbing and consuming Reuben, per my habit. Damn was he something, when a tall skinny guy walked into the bar to boisterously join a large group of friends. This was twenty people sitting with their  tables pushed together, celebrating something, I imagined. I saw him at the door. He saw me too, so I looked away. Standard procedure. Sorry guy. I am someone’s girlfriend.  This is what I worked to project.

When I glanced back he was standing over his friends, talking to them but looking at me, so I did it again. I looked down.

This always worked but not this time. Instead of reluctant acceptance which was the usual response from men who wanted to engage, this one made a beeline to me and then circled the table once before he turned a chair backwards and sat down, straddling it. The circling thing was funny so I was already laughing.

“Are you here alone?” he asked.


“You’re kidding. You’re here alone?” he asked, exaggerating his surprise.


“No shit,” he said. “Well how about that? I guess that this is my lucky day. Look. I am meeting a bunch of people over there,” he said, indicating his friends. “It’s a birthday party. Do you want to come sit with us? You don’t have to sit here alone.”

“No. No thank you.”

He laughed. “You just want to sit here alone?”

“Right,  I do,” I said, but I smiled and he laughed.

“Well that’s okay. I don’t have feelings anyway. Good thing or they’d be hurt, huh?”

He cocked his eyebrow at me and I laughed. He stood up as if he were going to leave and I didn’t react which left him standing, not sitting. Whoops! He screwed up. I knew I’d won the first round, but I didn’t gloat. Poker face.

“Er… so can I talk to you? Miss… Miss…”


“Elsa. I’m Jaime. And I don’t get it. What are you doing here alone?” he asked, probing.

“I was skating.”


“Skating,” I said.


“Right. I’m getting pretty good too. I’m learning to skate really well,” I said, smiling. I laughed a little because I knew I had his chain. This boy was mine.

“You are, huh?” He drank from his beer. “I can’t believe this. You’re learning to skate, uh….really well?”


“How well?”

“Really well.”

“Really well?”

“That’s what I said.”

“Well I should pay better attention.”


He laughed. “You’re a hard-ass.”

“Right. And you’re cocky,” I said, smirking.

He laughed and I laughed too but not with him. I laughed at him, just because.

“Well, where do you skate? Are you on TV or something? Are you famous? Are you some kind of famous skater?”

“No. I skate down the street,” I said. “The rink. There is a skating rink. A new one up the road. I skate at the skating rink.”

“You’ve gotta be kidding me?” he said, flabbergasted. “The roller rink? You came here from roller skating at the roller rink with all the kids?”

“Uh huh. But it’s adult night,” I said with another smirk.

“Adult night?” He slapped himself on the forehead. “Adult night at the roller rink? Who’d have thunk? Do you know how long I have been looking for you?”

“All your life?”

“Right!” he said with a snort. “That’s right. And no wonder I never found you. That is where women like you go? To the skating rink? Well, fuck me! I am an idiot. I never thought of that. If I were smarter I’d have met you last week. And you go there alone? You go there and skate alone?”

I nodded, raised my eyebrows and smiled wide. “Yes. That’s what I just said.”

“Yes. Yes you did say that. I’m not listening. Well I am but I can’t believe this.”

“You can’t?”

“I can’t. Let me get this straight,” he said. “So you were skating and you just decided to come in here and have a…” He picks up my drink with a questioning look. “Is it vodka?”


“Hmm… Gin? Is it gin?”

“It’s soda water. Give it to me,” I said because he was mocking.

He handed the drink to me and I sipped from the straw and smiled.

“What? It’s soda water?” He was shocked.


He pointed at the glass. “That is soda water?” He snorted. “Give it to me.”

I handed him my glass and he sniffed it and smiled. He took a sip with his eyes open wide. “You don’t lie, do you?”

“Uh… No. Not really.”

“Okay. I don’t get this. You go to the roller rink on adult night because you want to skate reeeally well.”


“And then you come in a bar on the way home to have a soda water? Uh… pardon my stupidity, but why? Why come to a bar to sit alone and drink some soda water?”

“Uh. It’s the music. I like this music.”

He smiled. “These guys? He cocked his thumb at the band. “You like them?”

“Uh…yeah. Well actually, it’s the singer. I have a crush on the singer,” I said, smiling.

“On Reuben? You have a crush?” He laughed. “Oh. Oh, well I see. Just my luck,” he said, shaking his head. “Well do you know him? Are you a friend of his?”


“I see. Well, shit. Shit! Oh well, that’s the breaks. Er…you’re in luck. And so is he, apparently. See, he’s a friend of mine. And you like him? If you like, Reuben, I’ll introduce you. That’s what I’ll do.”

“No thank you.”

“Whaat? You don’t want to meet him?”

“No. No thank you.”

“Wait a minute. You say that you have a crush on him but you don’t want to meet him?”


“You’re sure?”


“Don’t you want to go out with him?”




“Okay. I’ll bite. Why don’t you want to go out with him?”

“Uh… I just don’t.” I waved my hand around. “He can go out with these other girls. I’m too busy,” I said.

He snorted. “Busy, skating?”


“I see. Uh… can I sit down now?” I didn’t respond. “I can’t? You don’t want me to? Okay. I thought you might invite me to sit since we’re talking but that’s okay. Hey. Do you want me to leave you alone? I can go back to my friends. I’m sure that they are over there laughing at me because I am over here trying to talk to you and you won’t let me sit down.”

I smiled. He could do whatever he wanted but if he left he would have to come back, wouldn’t he.

“Well since you didn’t answer, I’m staying. But since you didn’t invite me to sit, I’ll stand, okay? I don’t want to impose.” He leaned on a chair. “I mean, I’ll lean if that’s okay. Listen. You’re not the normal kind of girl that comes in here. I come here most nights this band is here. How come I’ve never seen you?”

“Uh…  I go home early?”

“Early? How early?”

“I only see the first set.”

“One set? What? Why do you do that? These guys don’t get warmed up until the third set. The first set sucks. You should stick around. Nothing to do with me, of course.”

“I have to go to work at six in the morning.”

“Six, huh? Well so do I.”

He picked up my soda water again and turned it in his hand, examining it.  “So who are you? Some kind of Cinderella or something? Have to be home by midnight? What does a guy have to do to be invited to sit with you? Do I have to find your shoe?”

I laughed but I didn’t answer because I didn’t have to.

“That’s it. I think you’re a fairy tale. So listen, Cinderella. Can I call you that?”


“Finally. Finally she doesn’t give me a hard time. Well listen, Cinderella. Let’s cut to the chase. Do you want to meet the band? Do you want to meet the guy you like? His name is Reuben and I’ll vouch for him. He’s a good guy. I’ve known him a long time. He is a very good friend of mine, actually.”

“I said no. No, I don’t.”

“Why not?”

“I would rather not.”

“You just want to hear them play for one set and then what? You go home?”


“Well do you dance, Cinderella?”


“Boy, you don’t give a guy an inch. Will you dance with me?”

I put my hand out to him. “Let’s go.”


I wound up living with Jaime for three years. Reuben became our bargaining chip. Like this:

“Come on, Elsa. Don’t be such a hard-ass. If you’ll do this for me, I’ll take you to go see your boy, Reuben…”

This is my quirky story or some of it, anyway.

The End

37 thoughts on “Pining For Reuben – And Then What Happened?”

  1. Thank you Elsa for the lesson. 😀

    I’m glad the gent I dated had Venus [] Neptune…it is so utterly exhausting to me.


  2. What Curious wanderer said, it’s magic. Loved it, loved reading it and loved you in it Elsa!!!

    I wish I could say that I didn’t relate, but I do, very much. Thanks for the story,

  3. Beautiful story! And yes, I can relate to that girl Elsa an awful lot… got me daydreaming again. Thanks for sharing, Elsa!

  4. Leo/Venus sure knows how to get them eating out of her hand 😉

    Great story as ever – it’s such a world away from England; like an old Hollywood teen movie…

  5. ETA I’m sure it’s partly keeping so centred which pulls them in – I used to do that too… I was often alone, but never approached the object of my fantasy: they always HAD to come to me

  6. loved it! Reuben reminds me of my ex boyfriend. He also played in a band, and I would’ve been happy to never meet him and admire from afar.. haha. Till his friend introduced us, bleh.

    1. lol, vahcombusta. The two men were very good friends, they had known each other a dozen years. I made a point, or we made a point to never run in a tight circle with, Reuben, though we were a super-social couple hosting events all the time.

      Jaime and I split and a couple years later I ran into, Reuben when he was not on stage. Jaime had left town at that point and we talked about him and the Reuben offered to screw me (to put it bluntly) and I said, no.

      I spoke with, Jaime about 10 years later and told him about it. He was not happy but he surely understood men. (Aries moon, Scorpio Mars – Capricorn Sun)

  7. What a great story. That Jamie sounds like a catch…I love the banter you had between you to. Maybe I should start working my Cappy Venus and hang back a little more. Elsa that was purely inspiring! I just had a look and have Venus sextile Neptune. I can work the fantasy!

  8. “I liked that song. I liked to hear it but sometimes I couldn’t manage because I was not that interested in the bar hijinks. Know what I mean? I was a very old teenager. I had worked in a bar so long; there was nothing new to see. I’d get sad and I’d get bored. Everyone was meeting and mating, you know? Ack.”

    I think I was born that way. I do know what you mean.

  9. I was going to ask how you do it, but I tend to receive attention when I’m not really wanting it from men. Especially when I was younger.

  10. I was thinking that while I was reading, Elsa. If I were a writer, you’d make one excellent muse, lol! Your stories are always so engaging, funny and real. Most importantly, real. I’m glad you share them with us ;),

  11. Elsa, just wanted to say I love your Reuben story! I can totally relate…Venus opposite Neptune in my natal chart.

  12. what impresses me is that you knew at that young age to keep your distance from the reality in order to preserve the delight of the fantasy, that you recognised the difference..wise head on young shoulders

    1. @lindiloo – I had been in a deeply reflective state for a number of months. I hit the ground due events and just decided to stay there and learn what I could. I have had a tumultuous life to say the least and I just thought I should pull my horns in at whatever cost.

      1. Avatar
        Otter in Kentucky!

        Elsa, anyone that could deal with taking grandpa’s truck down a lonely desert road @ageTEN, getting it jacked up on a gas station barrier, and macGalvering That problem to Solution is my Astro-logical inspired Tumultuous Lives (Colorful, as my father would call it) Heroine! If I still had my 4-wD manual Pathfinder, I would hang a figurine of your dimple cheek Swedish Explorer Conjurer badassery-Gorgeous-Goodness-Goddess from my RView mirror!
        Much Love!
        Otter in Kentucky!
        Make America BOLD Again!

  13. Gosh I love reading your stories! This one was a real treat- thanks for reposting it! It brought back many a memory, both from behind the bar to sitting alone (the mysterious woman alone)- loved doing that! 😉

  14. Jamie seems like a good time and a tease, I like the sounds of him. Reuben turned out to be exactly who I imagined he’s gonna turn out to be. Also young Elsa doesn’t drink gin. Good. All in all I would still like to meet my celeb crush not to flirt with but to banter. Wondering if I could keep up.

  15. I am loving this series! Your writing really transports me, Elsa, and it’s pretty astounding the amount of details that you recall. I read your book and left a review on amazon–will definitely do that again with any of your other publishings, and really hope that you do write another book that would be fantastic! Your account of Reuben reminds me of Carl Jung’s quote, he said something like, “There’s nothing more disappointing than a really beautiful woman.” It applies to men, too of course and seems very apt for Venus-Neptune!

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