Belly Flop Rev 1

I always manage to slip out before the other shoe drops, before the point of no return, before I get too deeply involved.  Is it luck or fear?  I’m not sure if this qualifies as “in bad company” when I leave before the bad is obvious- only when it is sensed, or early on, when things appear to be going bad. 

I had a mad crush on a guy, back in my 30s.  He lived in a small trailer in a park in Solana Beach near the Belly Up, come to think of it; I probably met him at the Belly Up.  He was very handsome, a building contractor (unlicensed) with a black Labrador retriever.  In public he’d treat me like a queen but the minute the others were gone he would be mean, and disrespectful.  I knew it but I was absorbed with his looks and also one hundred miles from home so I didn’t really want to drive in the middle of the night on a weekend either.  I know these thoughts were going through my head but I deleted them almost as fast as they appeared. 

And then it happened, the words turned physical after a Padres game, and it escalated from a snide remark about my forgetting to get butter on popcorn that evening, or something just as random.  I’d had it with his remarks and made a comment about his relationship with his dog, and he became enraged and backhanded me across the face.

I fell backward onto the gravel and started crying.  I walked to my car and drove the hundred miles, stopping at a gas station to wash my face , so I wouldn’t have to answer any questions.

This guy has haunted me for years.  I’ve written other stories about him.  He didn’t go quietly despite this incident.  He wrote me letters and postcards for the next year.  I responded only once to a postcard sent from Colorado with seven words.  Glad to hear you’ve left the state.

Years went by, decades, I returned to live I the same area.  I swore I spotted him on the street.  It worried me for months. In the back of my mind it is still a worry.

To be continued

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