The bar was actually more like a cut-and-shoot. The kind of place where they checked you for weapons and if you didn’t have one on you, they would issue you one. Okay maybe I’ve stretched the truth a little but you get the picture. It was a rowdy place, which was probably why it was so popular. It was a place for fighting and romance for a bunch of roughnecks.
At any rate, I hesitated a little when I was deciding if I wanted to share this story. I’m not sure if some people will agree with it. Keep in mind, the details of this story happened years ago. I’m talking 12 or 13 years ago, when I was practically a kid full of pee and vinegar.
I once dated this pretty little girl. I guess I was about 19 at the time. She was a year younger than me. She was pretty, knew she was pretty, and enjoyed the attention because of it. You know the story. Anyway, I was working offshore on an oilrig in the Gulf of Mexico at the time. I operated on a schedule to where I was gone for two weeks and home for two weeks. During my two weeks out, I found out my pretty little girlfriend was seen locking face with another guy at this bar, I mentioned earlier. This guy’s name was Brian.
Brian was a few years older than me. He drove a very nice truck and liked to show it off. He’d roll through town with its windows down so everyone had a chance to see his muscles and rugged good looks. He was the kind of guy you learned to hate, and I especially more after what he did to me.
The problem that was surrounding the circumstances is that in the area I grew up, you were bound to cross paths with almost everyone. For probably close to two years, I would see Brian on the weekends. I would sometimes see him with my ex-girlfriend. I was forced to breathe the same air when he was standing no more than 5 feet from me. The whole time, he knew that I knew, and could not have cared less. His arrogant behavior was a grievous insult to me.
At some point during all of this, I vowed to myself I would confront him. But he intimidated me. He was older, broad shouldered, full of energy and was always surrounded by people. Like I said, you learn to hate a guy like that.
On one particular night in this bar, the same bar he made-out with my pretty little girlfriend, he and I squared off. It started by accident. A confrontation between groups of people he knew and I knew broke out. Being that he knew his bunch and I knew mine, we both headed over to the donnybrook to break it up. However, in the process Brian and me ended up in a little standoff. That’s when I told him about my problem. He let me know he didn’t care at all about my problem. Like I said, you learn to hate a guy like that.
The crowd dispersed; disaster averted but I was fuming. There was my chance. All those smug smiles I had to deal with over the last year or more. All of the times he could have apologized to me but didn’t. I told myself to man up and to remember the promise I made to myself. I may never get this kind of chance again.
I asked a friend of mine standing next to me, “Hey Charlie, you think I’ll go to jail if walk over there and knock Brian out?”
Charlie being the great friend that he was responded, “Hell no, man! Go over there kick his a**!”
That’s all I needed to hear at that moment. I walked over to where Brian and his friends were standing. Brian saw me walking up and gave me a wary glance. As I got closer, I said, “Hey Brian.”
He may or may not have responded fully with “what’s up” before I punched him in his face. The punch sent him flying backwards into some tables. It was like a scene out of a movie. For a very long time afterward, I considered it my finest moment.
You may consider this cowardly, that I sucker punched him. But remember I told you people always surrounded Brian. I knew that after I gave Brian his due, I would quickly get mine by his friends in return. The consequences didn’t matter to me though. The only thing that mattered was that I restored my honor. I decided the tradeoff was worth it.
I saw Brian several years ago when I was in the military and home on leave. This time it was in a nicer place. I had my wife with me; we were probably just married at the time. It was crowded and my wife was leading us through the thicket (men will move for a woman much faster than they will for a man).
Out of my buried past came Brian moving through the crowd headed in our direction. Do you know that rascal used it as an opportunity to move up against my wife, smile at her and say hi?
I’ll never forget the look on his face when he glanced up and recognized me. He gave me a nod and passed by. I took that as an apology.
I thought to myself, old Brian still hasn’t changed much.
Like I said, you learn to hate a guy like that.
Now with a little age and experience under my belt, I’ve learned to avoid a guy like that.