Gavin was short even when you accounted for his age. He was skinny with thick glasses that exaggerated his eyes. When he got a little older, he let some peach fuzz grow on his chin, which he referred to as a “goatee”. Like I said, we weren’t really the excluding sort and there were stranger looking people that we tolerated and liked much more than he. If it had been a decade later, I would assume that his problem was that he read on the Internet that girls liked confidence and so he would be forever confident in the face of all the evidence that suggested that he had a lot to learn about people and everything. He was the one that taught me how obnoxious proselytizing atheists can be.
When he graduated, he went off to the University of Delosa in Ephesus and I figured that he was pretty much out of my life. He almost was except that he had somehow wormed his way into a friendship with Sally, a girl that I had long been smitten with and had kept in contact with even after she had left for Ephesus as well. Even there, though, I didn’t see him as much and in smaller doses he was much more tolerable. It’s also possible that he had learned something along the way because he had started talking a lot less. Whatever the case, we found ourselves actually IMing one another periodically. Most of our contact was through Kyle and Sally, though. We would go somewhere and he would come along.
One night, a group of us (Gavin, Kyle, Kelly, Kelly’s hot friend, Sally, Willie, Bert, Bert’s girlfriend, and maybe another person or two) went out bar-hopping along the main drag in Ephesus. We ended up at a bar called Solaris that was a bit out of the way and, other than a crowd in the corner, a lot less crowded. Then, suddenly, two guys came up and asked to have their picture taken with Gavin. Gavin asked why and they avoided answering, but everybody figured “What the hell?” and took the picture. Then a couple more guys came up with the same request. He was about to say “no”, but behind them were two super-hot girls that were obviously going to ask the same thing. There was no way that he wasn’t going to do that. Though it was bizarre at first, we all became rather accustomed to it in pretty short order. Gavin was enjoying his mysterious celebrity status to the point of becoming downright cocky, even though none had any idea of what this was all about.
“The short red head, you numbnut.”
At once, everyone at the table got it. You could see our minds say “Oh… my… god” all at once. With his relatively new contacts, he completely looked like Chuck Sherman - The Sherminator - from American Pie. For those of you that never saw the movie, Sherman was a rather icky guy who had no success with women but that you didn’t even feel sorry for because the arrogant persona he took with the ladies made him so repulsive. All of us knew that we would never be able to look at Gavin Redding again without seeing The Sherminator, last seen in AP wetting himself in the middle of Senior Prom after having been exposed for having lied about having sex, being a virgin, and trying (and failing) to fornicate with a grapefruit. Gavin himself did not wet himself, but he slumped through the rest of the evening, obviously deflated and embarrassed in front of Sally, which had a level of importance that I wouldn’t fully learn until later but even then was obvious as she was the one he kept looking at to see how she was responding to this humiliation. It was impossible not to feel sorry for him.
Everything started coming to a head shortly after that when Sally broke up with her boyfriend. She and I were suddenly both single at the same time, which was a first. Then, of course, there was Gavin. I had vaguely known that he was interested in her, but according to Kyle he had been waiting for the opportunity to woe her for years. He had previously been thwarted by her failing to inform him when she was re-singled in the past, so throughout her entire 18-month long relationship with Tommy he had been circling like a vulture making sure that he would be aware the very second that she was single again. Granted, I’d been carrying a minor torch for years, too, but the big difference is that I spent the intervening years dating Julie, Evangeline, and others. Gavin, never having had a girlfriend to my knowledge, spent most of that time idolizing her.
I was planning a trip out to Ephesus in order to talk to Sally and finally have a conversation that had been put off for far too long. Unfortunately, she and Tommy weren’t quite as done as previously surmised. Rather, only one of the two of them was acknowledging at that point that things were done. So while I was staying with her that weekend and she was in the backroom in screaming matches with him, I met her friend Abby and asked Abby out instead. Abby accepted. With that, the prospect of Sally and I were done. It was Gavin’s turn.
It would turn out that Gavin, after all his talk about what he was going to do if he ever got the opportunity, was chickenspit. I mean… “cautious”. He saw an even greater opening down the line because Sally was looking for a place to live. Knowing that she would probably not consent to live with him alone, he organized a group of people to rent a house. He made sure that it would be most logical for their rooms to be next to one another. There was even a door in between them. His massive intelligence was suddenly turning out to be something of an asset. He was sure that once she got to know him - really know him, she would see that they were meant to be together. He was certain that she would be impressed with how he engineered everything to come together. It would be something that they would tell their grandchildren.
So they, along with three others - none of whom were straight and male - moved in together. She got to know him. Turned out that she absolutely hated him. He was arrogant and bossy and he couldn’t turn it off for her. He had been that person for the past 21 years of his life and he couldn’t change that overnight. He yelled at her for failing to organize the fridge properly, called her stupid when she left the garage door open, and locked himself in his room for an entire weekend when he was upset that she had had the audacity to bring a date home for an hour that Friday night.
The housing situation didn’t last. Sally was something of an engineer, too. She engineered the situation so that Gavin’s for roommates would get a house together and Gavin wouldn’t even know where it was. With our connection through Sally severed, I never really talked to him again after that. I really don’t know what became of him.