“My Story… ” Monday: Peach

(I love telling stories. It might be my favorite “style” of writing. It is, without a doubt, the stuff that most of my readers best respond to. This year, I want to tell you some stories about my past– about people who’ve made me who I am today. Some will be happy, some will be sad. Some you will find encouraging, some you will find maddening. But they all have one thing in common. They are all: People Who’ve Made Me Who I Am Today.)
 

I didn’t wear peach for close to fifteen years.

 

Maybe that’s insignificant. I mean, really, it’s not my favorite color. I don’t even think it’s one of my top three most flattering hues. So, perhaps, the fact that I didn’t wear peach for so long doesn’t even bear mentioning.

 

But it matters. Not that I didn’t wear peach. But WHY I didn’t wear peach.

 

Back when I was twenty-one and twenty-two years old, I tended bar every Thursday night. I waitressed most other nights, but you’d find me behind the bar every Thursday.

 

It wasn’t a large bar. Most of the cliental held “regular” status and the majority of my customers seemed to be involved in local politics. I knew them, remembered their drinks, and worked efficiently, with a smile. They liked me and tipped me well. It was all good. I made good money doing that job.

 

One of our regular customers was a guy in his early thirties named Scott. He drove a blue truck, was tall, and had rather average, nondescript looks. He grabbed a pizza to-go at least a couple nights a week but, on Thursdays, he always stopped and stayed awhile.

 

Scott was the kind of man who, when sober, was shy and a little bumbling. He was polite and wouldn’t think to “make a move” on a girl. He’d drink his one Coors Light and be on his merry way.

 

But there was something about me that wouldn’t allow Scott to do that. The mere sight of me behind the bar was a game-changer. All of a sudden, he was asking for the book of drink recipes and ordering things like “A Slow Comfortable Screw Up Against the Wall.” (Sloe gin, Southern Comfort, OJ, Vodka, and Galliano, just in case you were wondering.)

 

I’d mix his drinks because, well, that was my job. He wouldn’t get “trashed” or “wasted” or any of those words you’d use to describe someone who had consumed way too much alcohol. But, well, let’s just say he’d loosen up a whole lot more than he did after his single beer.

 

One night, he watched me reach for bottles and glasses with an expression that can only be described as hungry. It wasn’t awesome but, to be honest, it also wasn’t unusual. I was a young, lively woman tending bar in a restaurant full of middle-aged men. I never felt threatened, though– sometimes I was amused, and more often mildy annoyed. But it certainly didn’t faze me terribly much.

 

Anyway, he called me over and I moseyed in his direction, grateful, as always, for the wide bar that separated me from these guys.

 

“I love to picture you on the beach, did you know that?” he asked me.

 

“I’d have no way of knowing that, Scott,” I replied with a polite grin.

 

“I imagine you in peach,” his gaze ran down my frame, “just ripe and juicy peach. You’d be lovely.”

 

I laughed, shortly, and asked, “Okay, well did you need something right now?” He shook his head and I busied myself washing glasses and chatting with a married couple at the corner of the bar.

 

It took more than ten years for me to wear peach after that. It was just last year, as a matter of fact.

 

Scott taught me an important lesson about how seemingly off-hand remarks can deeply affect someone for years.

 

He wasn’t trying to ruin peach for me. He was, in his very awkward way, trying to pay me a weird compliment, I do believe.

 

But I couldn’t wear peach without picturing Scott.

 

He had somehow corrupted the color into something cheap and seedy. I envisioned his eyes devouring me when I wore peach. The truth is, I had owned a pretty little peach satin bra and panty set at that point of my life and I threw them out.

 

Words matter. Off-hand remarks? Can linger for decades…

 

Yes, words matter. May we choose them carefully.

 

 

Other people who’ve made me who I am:

Mrs. JohnsonMoneThe Guy in StarbucksKeithMr. Dorfman, Jay, Hannah, Reno, Dr. Y., Jessica G., The Reading Sub

Facebook Twitter Stumbleupon Email Tumblr

3 comments to “My Story… ” Monday: Peach

  • Not related to the creepy guy, lol, but the only peach item I have ever owned? was my 8th grade graduation dress… that I liked so much I wore it again for my high school graduation. Ha!

    (Odd that peach is a TERRIBLE color for me…)

    • It’s not so great on me, either. If it’s bronze-y or more of a deep coral, I can do it. But pale peach? Washes me out. (Also? I need pics of that dress! And I love that you didn’t change sizes from 8th to 12th grade… holy mackerel, lady!)

  • Jennie

    Jessica,

    Peach/Coral is an awesome color on you! I wouldn’t have worn it either, though. I have said things I wish I hadn’t so many times that I pray I haven’t done that to someone.

    I also have had people say things to me that last. Words hurt, last and really can’t be “taken back”.

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Archives