She tasted of strawberries – faint and aromatic, possibly from dessert a few hours ago, possibly from lipstick. The moment couldn’t have lasted longer than thirty seconds before we broke apart – and her eyes were still closed when I opened mine.
“Well, I guess this is goodbye,” I said with a rueful smile.
Her eyes lit up with laughter – “Oh, don’t sound so morbid! We’ll be in touch. Call me!”
She squeezed my arm once, turned … and then she’s gone.
Whether it’s the beginning of a full-time relationship or a fleeting moment of shared intimacy that vanishes by daybreak, there is always something magical about that first kiss you exchange with someone, isn’t there?
It’s that moment of hesitation; the sweetness of sensing the thousand tiny imperfections in the process of absorbing a woman’s idiosyncrasies that, for me, lingers in memory long after everything else has faded away.
Wait wait – back up.
So it’s Friday night, and I’m picking up my blind date from her cousin’s apartment. My briefing on this woman was short – a good friend’s college roommate was in town for a week to visit her family. She ended a two-year relationship about one month ago, works as an artist/graphics designer at a web-design agency, and she was a runner-up in a Miss Chinatown pageant three years ago.
Naturally, since I'm a shallow bastard, one of these factoids stood out and grabbed my attention. That's right - I've got this major fetish for women who work at web-design firms.
Knock knock, Neo.
Damn – she is attractive. Knee-length black cocktail dress, shoulder-length hair pinned back over one ear, light touch of makeup and a sunny smile that could pierce a storm cloud with its radiance. It’s incredibly flattering when a woman takes time to look good for you - and I'm certainly not immune to its effect. Please dear god don’t let me screw this one up I prayed, to no deity in particular.
With reservations for dinner and dance phoned in hours ago, we departed.
(continued from main journal)
In my line of work, I have to maintain a high level of awareness to conversational dynamics to effectively coax subjects to disclose important information.
Perhaps because of this, I find tremendous pleasure in the self-introduction dialogue attendant to the courtship ritual – the sequential pieces of mutual self-disclosure and mutual evaluation.
Tell me what you treasure. Tell me what you fear. Tell me what you dream of. Tell me who you are. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.
She did - I followed, and we talked into the night. Evening folds forward past midnight, and then to 2 a.m.
So we are standing next to my car in front of her cousin’s apartment again.
“I’ve had a great time with you tonight.” I’m looking at the reflection of street lamps in her eyes, trying to read her interest level.
“I had a great time too. I’m glad Chris gave you my number and told me to look you up.”
YESSS!!!! My inner voice does a victory jig.
“It’s been a while since I’ve gone out like this, and I’ve forgotten how much fun it can be.”
Keep talking, sweetheart, keep talking. Say anything - anything except the word …
“… but …”
“… I don’t want to lead you on if you’re looking for something more than tonight. I’m trying to sort out a lot of things in my life, especially since I just broke up with Dave and I’m still in the process of moving my stuff out of his apartment.”
Her eyes dart downward. “Oh God, I know it sounds like a blow off, but I do like you and honestly hope I can see you again. It’s just … bad timing if you want something serious. Does that make sense?”
“Okay.” I agree, my face neutral. “So where does that leave us?”
“I don’t know … two people who had one great date but didn’t jump right away into a relationship?” she smiles, arching her eyebrow.
“Well,” I reply, spirits rising again “If we’re going to call this great date, it’s only appropriate to finish with a great conclusion, yes?”
She nods in quiet comprehension, leans forward and closes her eyes.
Three … two … one … Contact.
For a moment, my body disappears from this planet – transported to another world with one companion and the faint taste of strawberries in my mouth.
And, as quickly as the moment arrived, it’s gone.
The chilly waterfront wind kicks up a gust and I pull my coat close around me. My mercenary sex-obsessed male friends would probably consider my inability to bed her tonight a massive failure. No matter – I’m still smiling as I look up into the night sky.
I’m smiling because she tasted of strawberries.
And that, for now, is enough.