It was after high school graduation. I decided to take a couple of years off from going to college. I had friends, and such, but I was bored of just being by myself. I’m a bachelor for god's sake. I’m young and desperate for love. Klinger had Soon Lee, Margaret had Frank, and everyone else had somebody. I’m growing tired of wishing on stars, and hoping for someone to just magically fall in love with me. I decided to get a dog. One that I could use to either keep me company, or find me a man. I picked out this tan and white cocker spaniel puppy. He was very cute, sitting in the window with his paws on the glass, and I just couldn’t let him go to someone else. I bought him a nice black leather collar with a dark blue leash, and a golden shamrock collar charm that tells the world his address and owner. We walked back to my home, and I read the given instruction manual on how to care for him. He needed a name, so I went through a list. He loved the name “Archie” and so that’s what we picked. I followed everything in the book, and then some. Months went by, and I decided to take him to the local dog park. We played a good couple of hours worth of fetch, and I even met Klinger, Soon Lee, Margaret, Frank, Charles, Trapper (my best friend), and my former teacher, Mr. Blake. We talked about how everything’s been, and then some. They all saw Archie, and fell in love with him. He enjoyed the attention, but enjoyed Trapper’s attention more. Just then, some guy from out of town came to the dog park with his cocker spaniel. Everyone started cracking jokes that we would end up together, and so I decided to let fate be my guide while also secretly hoping for more. The man sauntered over to me, and noticed Archie.
“Hello there, little fella.”
Archie looked up at him, and then back at me.
“Nice dog you’ve got there. What’s their name?”
“Archie. His name’s Archie.”
“Pleasure to meet you, Archie.”
Archie got very excited, and so he sat down, and waved his paw, waiting for the man to shake his paw. The man did, and Archie licked his hand.
“He’s very well trained!”
“Thank you. I took my time with him.”
“I’m Benjamin, but everyone calls me Hawkeye.” We exchanged handshakes, and moved on from there. BJ was a very interesting person.
“Say, where are you from, stranger?”
“Me? I’m from San Francisco, California.”
“I hear it doesn't get above 55 there.”
“Well then, what brings you to Crabapple Cove, Maine?”
“I’m looking for love and a new start. You see, my ex-girlfriend, Peg, and I split up a while back, and I just need something or someone to ease my mind. So, I figured getting out of California would do me good.”
“You’re in need of a new start?”
“I can help with that.”
I wrote down my address on a slip of paper, and handed it to BJ. He took the slip, and handed me his hotel phone number, and his current hotel room number. Everyone around me wolf whistled, and I blushed a very bright pink.
“See you soon, Hawkeye.”
“Before I go, Hawk,would you like to meet, Lady?”
BJ brought Lady to my attention, and let me pet her. She was a very beautiful cinnamon color.
“She’s very sweet!”
“Thank you! I’ve been training her for a while now. She’s still got a long way to go.”
She was very patient, but very loving. BJ and I bid our “goodbyes” and then I turned to face my friends group, and Frank, followed by Mr. Blake.
“All right, crack as many jokes as you guys want, but just know that I still remember all of your secrets.”
“Hawkeye, everyone remembers when you dated me. Nobody freaked out then, no one’s going to freak out now.”
“I freaked out!”
“Frank, nobody cares. Also, thank you, Trapper. Even though you were a star player on the football team.”
“Of course! Just, try and get to know the guy before you jump.”
“Again, thank you, Trapper. Before I leave, does anyone else have any unsolicited advice?” Just then, everyone started talking all at once.
“Okay! One at a time, people.”
“Figure out his likes and dislikes!”
“Thank you, Klinger.”
“Find some common interests.”
“Try to find a sport that you two can talk about. Sure, you both like different teams, but you can still talk about sports.”
“Thank you, Mr. Blake. Frank?”
“Try finding someone who isn’t such a sissy.”
“Margaret, control your dog. Anyone else? No? Okay then.” I decided to leave, go home, and make myself something to eat. I made myself a sandwich. Just as I was finishing up making it, BJ called.
“Is this Hawkeye?”
“Yes it is, BJ?”
“Hi! What are you up to?”
“Just made myself a sandwich. What about you?”
“Ordered room service. Say, are you free tonight?”
“I am, yeah. Why?”
“Wear something fancy, I’m taking you out to dinner.”
I blushed so hard that my ears turned red.
“Really. See you at eight, and wear some dancing shoes.”
With that, he hung up. I grabbed my sandwich, and started eating it. Thoughts swirled my brain, and scenarios ran through my head. Before I knew it, I was getting dressed, and putting on my dancing shoes that I used for prom. BJ showed up at my place with a bouquet of flowers, and a smile.
“As ready as I’ll ever be.”
“You look great.”
“Thank you. You don't look half bad yourself.”
We walked to dinner. It was at a really fancy restaurant. We both sat down, and ordered what we wanted. I ordered a steak with a loaded baked potato, and BJ ordered the beef tenderloin with fresh herb risotto. I was amazed at how he could order that without a care about prices.
“Everything okay, Hawk?”
“Oh, yeah, everything’s fine. Just admiring you from afar.”
“Well, if I may say so myself, I have a very handsome date.”
I smiled at BJ, and continued eating. Just then, Mr. Flagg came in.
“Don’t look now, but that was one of the rudest teachers that I’ve ever had.”
“What did he teach?”
“He taught physical education, and history. Used to make Charles, Margaret, Klinger, Trapper, Frank, and I run ten miles. I hated it since I had him first period. Then again in second. He was a nightmare.”
BJ ordered a whole pie, and walked over to Mr. Flagg. Just before you could blink, and miss it, BJ pied him in the face. I busted out into a fit of laughter, and BJ followed after. We paid everything off, and ran out of there.
“I’ve never seen him so surprised! I’ve been wanting to do that since I got out of high school!”
“I hated that man. Still do.”
“I’m glad that I could help.”
“Thank you.” I don’t know what overtook me, but I decided to kiss BJ's cheek. I, of course, then apologized a million times, until he kissed me softly.
“Thank you for shutting me up.”
“I don’t mind hearing you ramble. It’s very cute.”
I smiled, and noticed that we had arrived at the dance hall. I paid for the entrance ticket. We started off with the Harlem Shuffle, then the Bristol Stomp, then the Jerk. I had never had so much fun in my life. It was like I was actually experiencing the thrill of first love all over again. Just as the night was about to close, the band played a song that we could waltz to.
“Care for a waltz, Hawk?”
“I accept.” I took BJ’s hand in mine, and led him.
“My, Hawkeye. You sure know how to dance.”
“Thank you, Mr. Mulcahy taught me.”
“Oh yeah, what did he teach?”
“Choir. He also led the church choir on Sundays.”
“No, I just played in a couple of shows. Nothing fancy.”
“I learn more about you every minute.”
“If you’d like, we can talk about you.”
“My story’s a little more… obscure.”
“Well, my family’s a little more distant, my ex-girlfriend Peg left me for my then best friend, and now I’m just with you. I’m as happy as I could be. What about you? What’s your family like?”
“My story’s a bit darker. My mother passed away when I was a child. It’s mainly been my dad and I. Then, I decided to adopt Archie. He’s being watched by Margaret tonight.”
“Well, I’m sorry to hear about your mother. I’m sure your dad’s and her are very proud of who you have become. You’re a very smart and handsome man, Hawkeye.”
I smiled, and thanked BJ.
“You wanna get outta here? Everyone’s starting to wind down, and or leaving.”
“Sure! Where to?”
“How about my place?”
We walked out of the dance hall, and into the cold night. I was freezing, and BJ noticed.
“Here, take my coat.”
“Of course! You look great in it.”
I blushed an even brighter shade of red, and continued walking. We walked to BJ’s hotel room, and curled up on the bed. I called Margaret to check up on Archie, and the little guy was fast asleep on the couch. I took it as a sign to get some sleep. I undid my shoes, kicked them off, and laid on top of BJ’s chest. Lady was asleep on the foot of the bed.
“Goodnight, my dear.”
“Goodnight, my darling.”
With that, we both fell asleep in each other’s arms.