Love (Vignette #3)

By Emma Redmer

Set directly after the 7th season episode "Or Get Off the Pot"

Rated G (no objectionable material)

Characters: Mary Anne

Synopis: Mary Anne reminisces about her relationship with Balki after she moves out.

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Disclaimer: Perfect Strangers is the property of Lorimar Productions and Warner Bros. Television.

Notes: This is the third in a series of 4 vignettes, each describing the feelings of one of the main characters during a certain part of the series.

"But friends canít do that."

"No, they canít."

"Well...good-bye, Balki."

I turned my back on him and quickly walked to my car. The tears started rolling before I made it in the door. By the time I got on the road, they were coming down in torrents. I wish friends COULD do that.

It started raining as I turned off Maple Drive and onto the main highway. For once, I was glad for the rush hour traffic. It gave me time to think. The gloomy weather matched my gloomy thoughts.

Moving out was one of the hardest things Iíve ever done, but I had to do it. I love Balki. I love him more than Iíve ever loved anyone, but heís dense as a brick when it comes to romance. Iíve hinted around for months now that I want to marry him, but heís ignored every hint. Marriage isnít something thatís crossed his mind.

I grabbed something out of my pocket to wipe my eyes with. I nearly cried harder when I saw what it was. Balki made me several handkerchiefs for my birthday last year. Heís an expert weaver in addition to a wonderful artist. The handkerchiefs depicted two birds surrounded by flowers against a large, red heart. "For the heart of life, my little love bird," heíd said when I opened it.

Balki is the sweetest guy Iíve ever met. Heís good to me. Heís a good helper to Jennifer and a great friend to Larry. Heís one of the only men who ever treated me with respect. Most people take one look at me and think "bimbo", but not Balki. Balki never judges anyone. Heís just as nice to people who donít like him as to people who do. I remember when he invited his then-boss Mr. Gorpley to their Christmas party. Gorpley was mean at first, but it turned out that he never had a nice Christmas until Balki gave him one.

Some people are nasty to Balki because heís from another country and has that accent. I donít think thatís right. Iíve loved learning about Mypos. It sounds like such a fun, laid-back little country. I wish Jennifer and I could have gone with Larry when he went to get Balki back a few months ago. Balkiís been teaching me the language, and I think Iíve learned enough to at least get by and understand Balki when he forgets himself and curses in Myposian. I even like Myposian food. The yak loaf and pig snout with saffron are really good.

I first met Balki when he and Larry joined Reubenís Perfect Body gym. Jen and I worked there as aerobics instructors when we first moved to Chicago. The gym wasnít the greatest work, but it was work, and it paid the rent. It paid in other ways, too. We got to watch all the cute, muscular guys who came into Reubenís.

Balki and Larry werenít like the other guys at the gym. They were cute, but in a normal-guy way, not a Sylvester Stallone way. They certainly seemed to be nicer than your average male body builder. I liked Balki the moment I saw him, even if I didnít understand what he meant by being a Bartokomos. Jennifer told me after work that Balki set her up with his best friend, the nervous little guy with the curly hair whoíd tried to make a move on her all afternoon.

It wasnít hard to tell that Balki and Larry were best friends. They did everything together, even getting stiff. That date ended better than you might have expected, given that the guys could barely move after working out for four hours. It was the first of many memorable dates, vacations, and adventures we shared together. Sometimes, it would be just Balki and me, but we more often double-dated with Larry and Jennifer.

Jen doesnít know how much I envy her. Larry may be a coward about some things, but he did finally get up the nerve to marry her. He knew what his feelings were, even if things got a little messy before he actually acted on them. Needless to say, Balki and I had a lot to do with keeping those two together. Jen and Larry were meant for each other. Theyíre both worrywarts who like their lives as neat and ordered as possible. Balki and I are different. We love to be spontaneous.

Well, we were different. I have to stop thinking as if we were still boyfriend-girlfriend. We used to have such fun. Weíd go on walks in the petting zoo and the reptile house. Weíd make shadow puppets in his room in the house. We would hang around the newsstands for hours and read every comic book they had. Weíd go to the top of the Sears Towers and lean out as far as we dared.

Tears threatened to plop onto the dashboard. I bit my lip. Iíve gotten so used to having Balki there. Weíre both morning people and are always up and around long before Larry or Jennifer would dream of stirring. What would it be like to not have him in my life?

Get over it, I told myself. You want marriage, he doesnít. End of story. Your life will go on. Remember how he used to drive you nuts. Remember when he fed you and Jennifer those awful Myposian traveling snacks that made you sick, or how he always followed Larry, like a lamb following a wolf, into his money-making schemes. Remember how he went back to Mypos without question, almost destroying his chance at becoming what he wanted to be most, an American citizen. Donít forget about why you moved out in the first place, either. He was too dense and slow to understand his own best friend or your hints about marriage.

I turned off the highway and onto the ramp for Lincoln Drive, where I planned to live with some other girlfriends until I could find my own space. I really did have to get on with my life. Balki and I could still be friends, and I would see Jennifer at work.

Way deep down, though, I knew I wanted more. I wanted to get married, and I wanted to get married to Balki. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I wanted to see Mypos with him. I wanted to have beautiful black-and-golden-haired Myposian-American children with him.

But friends canít do that.