The Mystery Of Miss Marie
Thursday morning was not good. I awoke lost in shattered memories with regretful sighs as the previous night’s spirit still lingered. I threw the blanket from my body only to realize that it was in fact the fitted sheet. I re-fit my makeshift warmth, trudged to the bathroom and found my smart phone resting quite tranquilly at the bottom of a urine filled toilet bowl. I covered my eyes and rubbed my face with ferocity known only to those who have truly failed, and proceeded to flush and retrieve my once working Galaxy S3. I tossed it into the sink with no hopes of recovery, and went on with my daily routine of menial tasks, accompanied by fragmental echoes of a night gone awry.
One day later I received my replacement phone thanks in part to the forethought of insurance coverage, and the white lie that I needed it immediately for “work.” After activation I patiently waited for a stream of hateful text, voicemails, and general dislike of my affinity for drunken dialing. It buzzed 5 times, each followed by a gentle head shake on my end. To my surprise the messages broke down to one from my mother, one from my father, two from friends, and a fifth from Marie. “Who the Hell is Marie?” I thought, and could only assume she was someone I had met in my blackened state. It was a simple text that stated
“I did have a good night actually, hope you’re not too hung over, ;)”
“Marie,” I repeated her name, and grinned about the mystery woman who had just entered my life. I recalled talking a good portion of the evening with one of the many bartenders I pestered. I had no recollection of her name, and I do remember playing with her phone at one point. I believe it was to put on a song I just “had to hear” right then and there. There is a good chance I asked for her number, and therefore the mystery of Marie has come to a close.
The following Wednesday I continued with my weekly routine of playing trivia, shooting pool, and getting drunk. The conscience decision had been made by the more responsible side of my brain to rein in the horses and take it easy. We ended up winning trivia, brought in an extra $60 playing pool, and from there we trekked back to the bar that housed Marie. I entered the door, made direct eye contact, smiled and said, “Sorry I haven’t texted you back. I dropped my phone in the toilet, and wasn’t sure how much of a fool I was.”
Marie smiled, turned her head a little and replied, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Huh,” I stuttered, “So, I didn’t get your number last Wednesday when I was shit housed?”
“Nope, you didn’t even talk to me that much, but you were indeed shit housed.”
“Well then who the hell is Marie?”
“I have no idea, Sam, but for future reference my name is Becca.” She passed my usual order across the bar, and I reciprocated with a larger tip than normal.
The evening came to an end, and I left the bar feeling quite confused. My night of debauchery was no clearer after my attempt at drunken recall. Fueled by one too many drinks, I decided that the only true way to solve this mystery was to just reply to the text. So I did…
“You’re not who I thought you were.”
Seconds after hitting send the regret sank in. I had waited a week, I had no idea what she looked like, and the only thing I could do I messed up in the worst possible way. After arriving back to my apartment with no answer from Marie I assumed it was done, and this phantom stranger would remain just that.
The following day was like any other, I begrudgingly went to work, ate a lunch that was absolutely horrible for my figure, and around 2:30 my phone vibrated in my pocket. It was a text from my phantom.
“Well, you’re quite the laggard. However, that is to be expected by how much you drank.”
Alright, she seems understanding. I thought for quite some time about what to respond, and I had my best brain cells working around the clock, and came up with…
“Good one,” I thought, “Am I getting dumber?” The alcohol slowly eating away and killing off the Einstein’s I have roaming around my noggin. Surprisingly she texted back, and the conversation grew to an actual hospitable state. Jokes were made, general information was traded, and we found that we had electronic chemistry that has grown to be a part of our digital world. After learning her full name my first move was to find her on Facebook. I searched high and low, but to no avail. I tried all spellings of her last name, regions I knew she had lived, and even things related to her occupation. After my Facebook dig proved unfruitful I had given up hope to know what she looks like without face to face interaction. I made plans to meet up with her on a Friday evening at a little dive bar I like to call home.
Thursday arrived, the eve of my date, and the biggest break in my case presented itself when I mentioned that I play in an adult dodge ball league. She asked if I knew her friend who played named Sarah Johnson. Unfortunately, I did not, and I thought another lead had gone cold. Later that evening while our team was conditioning, known more commonly as drinking beer before our match, I noticed my team captain’s phone ringing. I glanced to his screen and saw in large letters “Incoming Call Sarah Johnson.”
“Woody, where is Chris?” I yelled, “I need to talk to him right now about Sarah Johnson!”
“That is Chris’s kinda girlfriend, she is pretty cool. Do you know her?”
“No, but the mysterious Marie does!”
I filled Woody in on everything that had since transpired. He laughed, called me an idiot, and voiced his regret that he hadn’t been there to see me as intoxicated as I was.
“So, you must know Sarah then?” I asked.
“Uh, yeah a little, but Just through Chris, and I think I am friends with her on Facebook.” He pulled out his phone and proceeded to bring up Sarah’s friends list. He searched for Marie and found her page. “Yeah, it looks like her page is blocked, but that has to be the girl right? It is the only Marie in her friends list.”
We played our match, and met at our sponsors bar to continue the team’s after match cool down. The story of my Marie had made it to a slew of teammates, and eventually to Sarah herself. “So what is this I hear about you having a date with Marie?” She asked with a tone reminiscent of motherly concern.
“I have a date with her tomorrow, but I have no idea what she looks like. I have been talking to her all week, and she seems outstanding. My only worry is that I won’t be attracted to her physically.”
“Well I can show you a picture, but you have to promise that you will go out with her regardless of how she looks.”
“I absolutely will.” I said, even though her tone did not bode well. Sarah grabbed her phone, pulled up a picture, and flashed it in my direction. I took a second, gathered what I would say and simply shouted, “Nice, drunken Sam has a better eye than expected!” I turned and high fived Woody, and two other teammates, with satisfaction. Not only had the mystery been solved, not only had Marie been gorgeous, but I had a date with a beautifully intelligent woman all because of my night of drunken buffoonery.
Friday dawned, and the day inched by building my anticipation. Work had finally come to an end, and my date was less than two hours away. I scanned my closest for what must be my most impressive outfit, and decided on a plaid shirt, khakis, and my favorite jacket. I took the extra time to shave, and actually wash my body instead of hitting the important parts and assuming water will just “take care of the rest.” I donned my hand picked outfit, started my car and drove the short distance to the bar. I walked towards to basement entrance using the sidewalk lined with blackened snow, the reminders of my unexpected two days off, and reached out for the handle. I pulled the door open, walked right up to Marie and said, “Hi, I’m Sam.”
And with a quiet voice and a contagious smile that no picture could ever convey she said, “I know.”
more by ASHTON KNIGHT
photograph by Ryan Linnegar