How Shayna Broke Her You-Know-What
The only good part about the breakup was that it needed to happen. Shayna had been only 22 when she met Dave. He was 30, sold construction equipment, and had a two-bedroom apartment at the newest building complex in town. He had a dimpled smile and, to Shayna, seemed like the whole darn package. He took her to restaurants with fancy bread baskets and to concerts on the weekends. He was safe and that was Shayna’s repetitive internal motto, safety first. She had wanted to leave her hometown after college graduation but instead had moved in with Dave. And they stayed together. For too long.
They moved to Southern California for a job opportunity for him and graduate school for her. She tried to ignore his drinking, he tried to ignore her need for adult conversations. They were disintegrating as a couple but neither knew how to end it. So Dave did the mature and responsible thing by cheating on her with a waitress at the local Hooters and Shayna and Dave were no more. So there was Shayna, far from home, thirty years old, and single for the first time in her adult life. She was a little lost, to say the least.
She got her Master’s Degree, a cute apartment in West Hollywood, and began rebuilding her life. She got some plants and dyed her hair blonde. She started hiking Runyon Canyon every day before work. She began baking again. And, finally, she was feeling like she might be ready to date. The apps made her so nervous that she broke out in hives, so that route wasn’t an option. And, having broken up with a guy with a drinking problem, meeting someone at a bar wasn’t super appealing either. It was when Shayna had decided that she and her rescue dog, Pep per, were the perfect match and who really needs a man anyway? - that she quite literally ran right into her upstairs neighbor and noticed his mop of dark curls for the first time.
Shayna was so surprised by how cute Dylan was that she didn’t immediately help him up from the ground where she’d knocked him over with her giant dog crate.
“No, no, don’t worry about me, I’m fine. I actually like sitting on the ground. It’s good for my posture muscles,” Dylan grinned. Shayna was smitten. Apparently, the feeling was mutual because they hiked Runyon Canyon together the next morning. Then the dates just got better and better.
The second date took place at a taco truck near Beverly which they both agreed were the best carne asada either one had ever had. Then they went to the Modern Art Museum, a Dodgers Game, an improv show, and a trek to China Town for impossibly good Dim Sum. The tenth date was a concert venue at a tiny park in Silverlake where thousands of glittering Christmas lights adorned the trees and felt like a fairyland. Shayna was flabbergasted by how well things were going. Dylan was charismatic and funny and seemed to get her in a way that, even after eight years, Dave never did. Shayna didn’t want to mess any of this up. But, she also hadn’t slept with him yet.
When he suggested bike riding on the boardwalk in Santa Monica and then an Italian place with live music after, she decided that she would go for it. After a fresh bikini wax, and some very quick lingerie shopping, Shayna was ready. Very, totally, and completely ready. She was a normal amount of excited and an abnormal amount of nervous. She hadn’t been with a new person in over eight years. Before Dave, she’d been in college, younger, less concerned with her future or who might take part in it. Now she felt pressure. Not to sleep with the guy, God no, he was the sweetest person with a penis she’d ever spent time with. The pressure was self-imposed and for exactly that reason, that things were going so well, she didn’t want to derail this perfect train.
She went over their plan in her head three dozen times: first, they would go biking down the boardwalk. Then they would ride to this cute Italian restaurant in the South Bay, have some wine, pasta, and then… Shayna began to spiral… what would they do then? Ride their bikes back to the car in the dark? Drive back to the city after drinking? No, no, no, this ideal plan for her to seal the deal was falling apart at the seams. She immediately turned on her laptop and booked a room at a small bed and breakfast. As she confirmed payment, she felt very, very good about herself. How romantic and fun this day was going to be.
Shayna spent an interesting amount of time in front of her bathroom mirror styling her hair to look cute under her ten-year-old Bell helmet. Safety first.
That afternoon the sky emerged behind the smog as a glorious shade of blue, the birds chirped like they did for Snow White, as Shayna and Dylan loaded up their bikes in Shayna’s hatch-back sedan, and headed West to the beach. Shayna giggled more than usual which annoyed her. Dylan seemed as relaxed as ever. She couldn’t wait to surprise him with the hotel room after dinner.
They parked by the boardwalk, and pulled out their bikes, as Shayna, slightly embarrassed, put on her helmet. Then Dylan reached into his backpack and pulled out his own. They shared a look, and for a split-second, both secretly imagined their wedding.
As they rode South, the wind began to pick up. It was still clear and sunny out so the couple didn’t mind. The sand whipped along the bike path. Shayna didn’t notice, she was on Cloud Nine. However, this didn’t last long. Shayna turned a bend and her beach cruiser skidded on the sand. Not wanting to crash into the riders going the other direction, she swerved, braked, and her front wheel stuck right in a wind-blown bit of beach covering the path. Her body lurched forward, slamming her, um, private parts right down on the center bar. Shayna’s head thought, “Oh, no!” But her mouth screamed, “FUCK.”
Dylan caught up to her in a pile on the side of the path. He looked utterly bewildered, “Oh my God, are you ok?” The perfect guy asked his first dumb question of the relationship.
Not only was Shayna not particularly verbal, but she also couldn’t walk. And she sure as shit couldn’t get back on the bike. So instead of cruising to Leonardo’s Inn, they had to call an ambulance. Being the good guy, Dylan, of course, hopped in the back with her as the EMT asked Shayna to recount what happened.
“I fell…. There,” Shayna gave the EMT the widest eyes she could. She finally looked down. Blood seeped out of the cute shorts she had purchased just for this special day. The EMT looked horrified,
“Do you want me to -“
“NO.” Shayna interrupted emphatically. Luckily, they were only minutes away from a hospital with a surprisingly quiet emergency room. And Dylan wouldn’t leave her side.
“Why don’t you go grab a drink or something and I’ll come meet you when I’m done?” Shayna suggested while wearing a white gown, lying in the hospital bed, waiting for the surgeon. Dylan was almost offended.
“I’m not leaving you like this.”
Shayna and the painkillers in her IV had an (almost) funny realization, I guess there is a downside to dating such a nice guy.” She didn’t have time to explore this train of thought because a way-too-young, way-too good-looking, and way-too-happy surgeon, burst into the room. Shayna died a little inside. Dylan hopped up, helpful as ever. He reached out his hand to introduce himself and explain the situation, “You see, we were riding our bikes when-“
Shayna stared at the two very attractive men, one who she was falling in love with, and the other who was about to stick a needle and thread into her hoo-ha and she let out an animalistic scream.
“NO!” The two men turned to her. Her eyes darkened, her voice deepened, and witnesses would swear the sun disappeared and the birds stopped singing. “Here is what is going to happen: Dylan, you are going down to the cafeteria and having a snack. You will not be in earshot of this room. Dougie Howser, you are going to give me another dose of these painkillers, then come back in five minutes and I will explain what happened and what you're going to do about it."
Dylan and Dougie looked at each other, both taken aback by the scary, throaty voice escaping from this cute, blond woman. But they were smart enough to know when to be afraid and they did as they were told.
Poor Shayna needed seven stitches and had badly bruised herself. There would be no running, bike riding, or sex for the next six weeks. So what happened? Dylan picked up her groceries, the beach cruiser gathered dust, and when it finally happened, they laughed through the majority of it. And that was ten years ago. And somehow this story didn’t make it into her maid of honor’s wedding toast.