I think everyone has those people who came into their lives for the briefest of moments, yet touched them in a profound way despite how temporary their presense may have been. Darcy was one such person for me. I spoke with her a total of three times in my entire life, and I doubt I’ll ever see her again. And yet, the first night we met, she left an impression I doubt I will ever forget.
That night took place several years ago. It was the night that I agreed to go out to a movie with my older brother — the first and only time I ever went someplace with him since I became an adult. Terry wanted to go see a movie, but didn’t have his license due to legal issues at the time. As such, he needed someone to go with him. Being the generous, if foolish, person I am, I agreed to go with him when he asked me. Both before and after the movie, we decided to hang out at the bar in Ruby Tuesday’s, which was located in the same mall as the cinema complex we went to.
When we returned to the bar after the movie, I was seething. The entire outting had been a real eye opener to just what kind of person — and let me just say that I’m being polite in using that word — my brother was. At one point, I was sure he was going to get himself thrown out of the theater during the movie. (I had decided I was going to sit there pretending I didn’t know him if that happened.) But I allowed him to convince me to return to the bar with him. By that time, Darcy was working behind the bar alone. Things had slowed down enough that Darcy had a lot of idle time, and she and Terry got talking.
Darcy was a sweet girl, a few years older than me at most. She was on the short side with long, blonde hair, but a real spitfire. She was the type of person that could say some incredibly cutting things, yet smile the entire time. I suspect that many of her customers were too drunk to realize she had actually said something biting until after the fact. Her personality struck me as admirable, and entirely conducive to the line of work she was in. And I have to admit that I was enjoying the process of watching her spar with my brother, who was too dumb to recognize all the jabs she got in despite the fact that he was perfectly sober at the time.
The incident that truly earned her my admiration, however, was when the topic turned to that of gay people. I forget what exactly came on the television to spark the conversation, but Terry made some sort of nasty remark on the topic. As I felt my heart sink and my stomach lurch, Darcy turns to Terry and asks him in a friendly, yet pointed manner, “What? Do you have something against gay people?” As soon as she asked the question, she gave me a quick wink. I’m not sure how she had managed to pick me out, but it was clear that like many other people in my life, she had immediately known I was gay. (Fortunately, my brother was clueless, and still is to the best of my knowledge.)
Terry stammered a bit and tried to make excuses. Of course, the first thing he did was played the typical male double standard, pointing out he had no problem with two women being “like that” — and even found it somewhat alluring. However, he pointed out that he just didn’t want any gay guys to hit on him, because that would not be okay.
Darcy’s reaction was incredible in that she didn’t pause, take a breath, or even blink. As soon as Terry said what he did, she just looked at him, smiled, and said in an even if somewhat patronizing voice, “Oh, hon, don’t flatter yourself.” And before either Terry or I had time to register what she said, she was off to serve another customer at the other end of the bar. I just about fell off my bar stool. (And for the record, I was sober, too!) Terry could only respond with a hurt and shocked “Hey!”
I was just totally amazed at how easily, gracefully, and politely Darcy had shot him down. Every time I find myself in a similar situation, I find myself thinking of her response that night. I can only hope I handle things half as well.
I went back two weeks later just to thank Darcy. I also left her a very big tip on my second trip, as an expression of my gratitude. We had a nice conversation, and she was shocked to discover that Terry was my brother. She couldn’t believe we came from the same family.
I only returned one more time after the night I went in to thank Darcy. I’m not the bar type, and even hanging out with such a great gal as Darcy was sufficient reason for me to keep returning. As a result, she disappeared from my life as quickly as she entered it. But that brief encounter is something I still like telling people about several years later. I think I always will.