The Odds Were...Terrible
Subtitled: Finding love when you weren't looking for it
For a moment, pretend you're Hugh Hefner. Put on that crushed red velvet robe, untie it at your midsection so your hairy chest is showing, and put a pipe in your mouth. Now strut. Because you're at one of the biggest parties in the world, and you and eight of your friends are all dressed alike, and you're looking good. Just like Hugh Hefner, all eight of you.
"Right or left?" one of your identically-dressed friends asks you as you both survey the stadium crowd of 40,000. At the annual Hong Kong 7's rugby tournament, you've both flown a long way from London to be here, and you want to make sure to see it all.
"Left," you respond, and your life will forever change because of it.
Into the crowd you turn left, a mayhem of grown men and women dressed as Smurfs, dinosaurs, Popeye, Gumby, life-sized beer cans, inmates, sheiks, karate kids, and clowns. You're in the notorious "South Stand", the part of the stadium that makes a college frat party look like a preschool scrimmage. It's Halloween on the grandest scale, if not the most drunken.
And then you see her.
Waddling toward you is one obese Snow White, red vinyl bow crowning her jet black wig pulled into a knot at the nape of her neck. All yellows and blacks and stripes, and those big puffy sleeves, she smiles at you from across the chaos.
"What are you?" she calls out, still grinning in a beguiling way that suggests she isn't aware how ridiculous she looks.
"Drunk!" you respond honestly, because this is a true story about how two people meet - about what they actually said rather than what they should have said.
Snow White marches over to you and your matching friend, and introduces herself. Later, you'll tell her there was something about her eyes that made you want to know her. Later, she'll tell you that there was something about your smile that made her want to know you. But right then, this was still 'then', when you were both seasoned commitment phobes, and you lived an ocean apart from each other.
"I'm a runner, really I am," she announces as unceremoniously as you just did in telling her you were drunk. Lifting up the hem of her nylon yellow princess skirt, she shows you that, yes, she probably does run. The costume shop owner in Hong Kong had only one costume left, she explains, and it was an extra-extra large.
Whether you're relieved or amused, she can't tell, but you eventually part ways. Much as you enjoyed each other's company, you both know the odds of reality - that you're at a rugby event with 39,998 other people, you're in costume, and you don't even know each other's last names.
With her friends, all dressed identically as Marilyn Monroe, Snow White scampers off into the dense crowd. You don't expect to see her again; she doesn't expect to see you again. At a party so disorderly that confetti flies in the air alongside flung beer pitchers, no one really expects to see each other again.
The next morning, Snow White and Marilyn Monroe wake up to the throb of yesterday's Too Much Fun. Nursing their pain, they make a vow they won't keep, to stay away from the infamous South Stand, and head somewhere more civilized. One look at their costumes firms their resolve - Marilyn's white costume is no longer white, and Snow White's costume is stained brown in all the places it used to be yellow. In tidy civilian clothing, the girls head back to the stadium, strong caffeinated antidotes in hand.
"What if..." Marilyn and Snow White say in unison to each other as soon as they arrive at the stadium. "Just five minutes?" they justify, rationalizing that since Snow White has flown all the way from New York, it would be a real pity to not see and do everything on offer. Besides, neither of them wants to miss out on, well, anything. Marilyn makes a phone call and manages to arrange two of the stadium's very last seats for herself and Snow White.
As it happens - actually, it usually doesn't - those two seats happen to be right next to yours, the Hugh Hefner that met Snow White just yesterday.
"Jesse?" Snow White says as soon as she sees you, butterflies in her stomach, unable to believe her luck that the handsome man she'd met the day earlier was sharing a row of seats with her today.
"Yes?" you say politely, but blankly. It's obvious to her that you don't recognize her yet.
"It's me, Snow White!" Although she's not in costume, and her hair has gone from Snow White's black to her (semi) natural blonde, you suddenly see the resemblance. And that's when everything really changes. But not before you get arrested.
To Be Continued - And let's make a deal, okay? You become a follower of this blog and I'll keep writing. Better, you forward this blog to somebody else who will read it, and ask them to forward it, and I'll really keep writing. Come on! Help a writer out! Thanks to everyone who's been reading since 2006.
To follow, all you have to do is click "Follow" in the upper left-hand corner. This will require exactly two mouse-clicks.