Standing in the parking lot he looks up at the sky. The evening shadows were quickly descending on the city. It seemed as if summer had escaped on a fast moving train, with the rolling thunder of October storms the engine’s chorus. Yet the beauty of the trees manifesting into winter hibernation all but compensated for the now rapid transition from day to night.
The crunching of the stones under his feet, as he slowly makes his way to the restaurant’s door, is eerie. No different than in a movie, with the rise of the orchestra in the scene where the man walks into the room to face the woman of his dreams. He can not escape his destiny because the music controls the mood. Romanticism may be glorious for the woman who receives the gifts of the heart, but for the romantic it’s moments like this that overwhelm logic; overwhelm common sense.
When his hand touches the door knob, feeling the coolness of the brass, he comes back to reality. He decides to wait for her in the lobby…changes his mind and is seated.
Instinctively he looks up to see her enter the room. He stands. No words are needed to draw her attention; it may have been 20 years since he last gazed into her green eyes, but there was always a chemical link between them. Perfection; after all these years, she is still perfection.
Conversation comes easy and they hardly notice the food that seems to appear, then vanish from their plates. He listens to a hundred little pieces to her life; selflessly wanting it to be her time, somehow to make-up for all those yesterday moments when he never ‘heard’ what she was saying to him.
He tells her that he is trying to learn Spanish. She asks what brought this on. “About three years ago I finally went to Puerto Rico, for work. The people were so hospitable and polite…I felt bad that I could not speak Spanish beyond ordering off the Taco Bell menu.”
She laughs, “Three years of study? You should be good by now.”
“You know me, I have trouble pronouncing, remembering English. Besides I only started a few months ago.”
She starts to say something, than stops, suddenly remembering that he once commented – while they were still just acquaintances – that he had a thing for Puerto Rican women. She reaches for her diet Pepsi, and as she lifts it to her lips asks, “So, what brought on the sudden need to learn Spanish three years later?”
In your everyday, matter-of-fact voice, with impeccable timing, “I was waiting for a hotel elevator and the nice housekeeping lady did not know how to tell me my fly was open.”
She has just taken her sip of Pepsi, and when she starts to laugh she is hit with fizz nose. “You ass,” a little too loud, looking somewhat embarrassed, now voice lowered, “you did that on purpose didn’t you?”
He tries to hide the smug smile, “Yeah. But you’re so beautiful when you get fizz nose.”
Well, this is the moment of truth; does she get up and walk away, but first show her anger, disgust by pouring the remainder of her soda in his lap? He knew her, or hoped he did, and thankfully she reacts as he felt she would by asking him in a playfully angry voice, “Why?”
“To put some levity in this conversation; we have been too tactful with each other.”
She smiles at him, “You’re right.” And he feels relieved. She had used her napkin on her face and now tosses it to him, “let me have yours…fizz nose?”
“And dribble mouth, you had dribble mouth.”
In a dry voice, “Dribble Mouth expects a fresh napkin. How far have you progressed with your Spanish?”
“Well, I bought a CD to listen to while in the car, and I can now say La ducha no fuciona; but, I don’t think the CD has anything about zippers.”
“You’re probably right, I doubt if that’s a common phrase.”
The waiter brings fresh napkins, and as he starts to turn away, in her best ‘sexual innuendo’ voice she offers, “So it would have been easier for her to just lean over and zip your pants back up.” The waiter gives him a knowing half-smile. Her Cheshire cat smile grows wider.
For the remainder of lunch they share stories and no serious words strain the moment. But all moments have to come to an end.
They walk to her car, close but not touching. At the car she uses her remote to unlock the door, and he steps forward and opens it for her. Her eyes do a quick glance at his hand holding the door, “Just wondering, do you plan to treat me like a lady forever, or just until you get your second first kiss?”
“Well, seems as if it might be forever before I get that…second… first kiss.”
“Tisk, tisk…double tisk, tisk, you are so slow to catch on.”
The pounding in his chest is in stark contrast to the slowness of his arm as he
raises his hand to her face, softly touching her cheek with the back of slightly curled fingers, brushing some stray strands of hair away from her eye. He leans forward and gently kisses her lips. She takes his hand and holds it to her cheek. How do you describe a ‘bridge the waters of time kiss.’ Her response was not a hesitant kiss, not a light, giddy peck on the lips kiss, not a take advantage of the mood kiss; simply a wonderful kiss. The act lasted but a few seconds. Nonetheless, had this been nighttime, she would have taken the stars out of the sky and shamed the moon.
He watches as she starts to back her car out of the parking space, stops and lowers the driver side window, “zipa.”
She blows him a kiss as she drives away.
(Second First Date is a work of fiction, adapted from Through a Stranger’s Eyes, copyright 2005, Steven S. Walsky, all rights reserved.)