I’m not a closer.  It came to this realization while shooting pool in the West Village last night.

I was beating my friend, who is excellent at pool, like a drum.  I was striking the ball with confidence, knocking down any shot I wanted.  3 Ball, side pocket- Easy.  6 Ball, left corner.  Down.  Combo 1 and the 9-Done and Done. Next thing I knew, all that was left was the 8 Ball, and I had a good, clean look.  Now, if this was the measly 2 Ball and it was 5 minutes ago, I would have made this shot with my eyes closed.  But this was the 8 Ball, and to sink it, meant the game was over.

I called 8 Ball, corner packet, and lined up over the shot.  Didn’t feel right.  I broke my stance and looked at it from a different angle.  I put my cue stick against the 8 Ball to make sure I had the right trajectory.

I finally settled on what I wanted, and as I pulled my arm back- I had a flash of me, back in my Junior year of high school. Kristen Thomas, a senior and the hottest girl at Wade Hampton High,  was totally into me.  She liked my curly hair and that I wanted to be an actor.  Her friends told me she was into me, her actions, to any unbiased third party, would have clearly stated she was into me.  But I couldn’t accept it. Why would she want me when she could be with someone a year…older.

It was spring and her Prom was forth coming.  She called me one night, telling me that this guy wanted to ask her to prom but she didn’t want to go with him.  She was distraught and didn’t know what to do.  I  wanted to go with her but was convinced that I shouldn’t ask her to her own prom.  The results of that level of rejection would have been hard to handle. And Kristen, this being her senior prom, wanted to be the askee not the asker.

Instead of manning up and asking the girl to her prom, I pussed out.  Two days later, other guy asked her, and she, being a nice person, said yes.

This is what I thought as I struck the 8 ball.  It had no chance.  It careened off the wall into the side pocket and I lost the game.

Not a closer.

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