The Other Man

by Jen on August 30, 2011

Today’s post was a memoir inspired prompt from Write On Edge.  The assignment was to write about a memory that involves someone else

I’d like to think I’d have fallen in love with George eventually, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it was another man who drove me to him with such speed.

His name was Spencer.

Freckled.  Gap toothed.  Adorable.

Before George, Spencer was the man in my life.  The one I spent two evenings a week and an occasional Saturday afternoon entertaining.  He was seven when we met.  Matched through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, I fell in love with him instantly.

His “r’s” were pronounced like breathy “w’s” and his “s’s” were compromised by the interference of wiggly front teeth.

He was complicated.  He resisted most every activity.  He complained when I asked him to finish his dinner.  He hated being outside, hated being hot, hated physical exertion, and hated doing much of anything that didn’t include a video game.  He provided me with few affirmations and awarded me with infrequent, but life changing, snip-its of gratitude.

I loved every difficult ounce.

Our meetings were set in stone.  I was nothing if not consistent, so when George came into my life, dates remained secondary to my time with Spencer.

I met George in a bar.  Whilst singing karaoke.

He heard me sing karaoke and still called me two days later.

You can understand my skepticism.  Homeboy had to be nuts.

I remained skeptical for the first few weeks.  He was unemployed.  Shorter than I’d dated before.  He collected teensy helmets.  And, he was really in to me.

Psycho?  Desperate?  I wasn’t sure.  But, I was/am a fat girl and love dinners out, so I rolled the dice.

After a few dates, I invited George to the park to play baseball with Spencer.  Usually, it was just Spencer and me.  I acted as the pitcher, the catcher, the outfielder, and the umpire.  Ten minutes in, I’d be gasping for breath, and Spencer would be bitching about… everything.  I figured having another body would make life much easier.  Enter, George.

He accepted the invitation without hesitation (another red flag, right?) and pitched and shagged balls like a champ.  He’d pitch, Spencer would complain.  He’d bat, Spencer would complain.  He’d try to adjust Spencer’s batting stance, Spencer would complain.  Spencer hated bugs.  Spencer was hot.  Spencer wanted to go home.  Spencer was “bowrhed”.  Spencer was… Spencer.

And George never flinched.

He was accepting and patient and wonderful.  He was either the world’s greatest actor, or the world’s greatest man.

The baseball game turned into a soccer game, and then Chuck E Cheese trips, and then nights of making homemade pizza and playing hide-n-seek.  Spencer fell in love with “Geowrhge”.  And, in turn, so did I.

Their interaction was special.  George became an unknowing role model, and Spencer, an inadvertent match maker.

Their connection was authentic, and my reservations about George melted away.

Eventually, circumstances surrounding my relationship with Spencer changed, and although I think about him all the time, I haven’t seen him in over three years.

I wonder if his speech is still adorably flawed and if his front teeth ever grew in.  I wonder if he is doing well in school and if he has ever learned to swing a bat.  I wonder if he knows what he means to me and how much his presence in my past has affected my future.

Thank you, Spencer.  I am grateful.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 MamaWantsThis August 30, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Beautiful, sweet post, Jen (and a reminder as to why I missed you so!). Have you tried to look for Spencer? Or is that not allowed?


2 Jen Has A Pen September 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm

I think it would be allowed… sort of. BBBS asks for consistency, in which case, I think it may be difficult for me to come back into his life without a big commitment. It's best this way, I think. Although I do miss the little booger. 🙂


3 Betsy Booten August 30, 2011 at 10:13 pm

George is such a good man!


4 Jen Has A Pen September 1, 2011 at 10:25 pm

He is. 🙂 I'm awfully lucky.


5 Rach_DonutsMama August 30, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Awww Jen!! You have such a big heart! I hope Spencer is doing well, wherever he is. You know you made a difference.


6 Jen Has A Pen September 1, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Thanks Rach! I do imagine he thinks of me. George and I talk about him all the time. He had this amazing ability to learn all the words to songs on the radio by listening to them just once, so it's nearly impossible to not hear a song that makes me think of him at least three or four times a week.


7 Kim August 30, 2011 at 10:17 pm

i loved this! esp .. "he was either the world's greatest actor or the world's greatest man" !! also i can totally relate … george called you after he saw/heard you sing karaoke … felipe called me after i got kicked out of a bar for vomiting!! surely there is something wrong with him … but i havent figured it out yet! 🙂 hope it stays that way!!


8 Jen Has A Pen September 1, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Hahaha, you told me that! Felipe is a glutton for punishment… as is George. 🙂


9 Tomekha August 30, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Awwwww 🙂 So sweet 🙂 I've fallen in love with Spencer too. I hope he is doing well 🙂


10 Jen Has A Pen September 1, 2011 at 10:28 pm

Yeah, he's pretty cute. 🙂 That picture didn't show him after he lost his teeth. Even cuter then! 🙂


11 mamamash August 30, 2011 at 10:39 pm

It breaks my heart that you don't see him anymore. But he was lucky to have you for the time he did.

Gosh, I missed your writing. You have a great voice.

Also? I picked up PMASH at a karaoke bar. Did we know that about each other already?


12 Jen Has A Pen September 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Thanks Julie. Means a lot to me coming from you. I love reading your stuff. 🙂

Yeah, you'd told me about your karaoke night. G and I need to come to KC and we can double date at a karaoke bar! I'm sure Rach would be amazing on the mic too! What were you singing? Do you remember? I think I was singing The Dixie Chicks and Destiny's Child. Boom.


13 Daryl August 31, 2011 at 3:10 am

This was incredibly touching. Thank you so much for sharing! You really do have an incredible way with writing. So excited to continue reading more from you!

<3 Daryl


14 Jen Has A Pen September 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Thanks for stopping by, Daryl! I love having new guests. 🙂


15 julie August 31, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Gave me chills when I saw Spencer's pic. The way you described his attitude he reminded of my son when he was small. Pronunciation of words, video games, hate of bugs, everything. I love those kinds of kids, they keep you thinking all the time. So glad you and George hooked up.


16 Jen Has A Pen September 1, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Awww… Yeah, I was sure that only I could love all his complexities, and so when George fell for him, I was hooked. His "quirks" were the things that made me love him all the more. 🙂


17 logyexpress September 1, 2011 at 1:04 am

I loved this post. I like how this described two people instead of one, even though the star was Spencer. Sorry you have lost touch with him. George sounds like a keeper.


18 Jen Has A Pen September 1, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Yeah, this was a fun prompt. I enjoyed it and had been wanting to write about Spencer for a while now. Worked out well. 🙂 Thanks for reading!


19 Sweaty September 1, 2011 at 1:15 pm

What a sweet, sweet post. I believe in karma. You showed kindness and gave unconditional love to Spencer, and in turn you were given such a kind and loving man in your life!

Beautifully written, and the picture you posted of Spencer… what a darling!


20 Jen Has A Pen September 1, 2011 at 10:33 pm

I know! Cute, right? You should see him without his front teeth! (I couldn't find one of those pictures on my new computer… dammit.)

Thanks for reading! I appreciate it!!!


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