Her presence was like being breathless; skydiving over a foreign land you’d only seen in photos but admired, longing to visit in the cool unfamiliar majesty of a new landscape. She looked at me, and before anyone else could move, like a sly fox I gestured with two; the bartender nodding quickly seeing the opportunity knock.
At first she played coy, as if she didn’t notice the guy at the end of the bar wasn’t just eager, but handsome. Then he put the drink down to her left on a “kiss me” napkin she had wiped her scarlet lipstick onto. She was so delicate yet deliberate. A certain definite allure drove me mad. Politely finally looking down to accept the drink whispering “thanks” then turning back giggling to a friend.
I wondered what her name was, the events that led her to here at this bar, this exact moment in time. Was it magic when she called a cab, did she ask the driver to suggest a place, did the rain force her to change plans, or was she looking for momentary reprieve from another man?
This wasn’t her first rodeo, or mine. Neither of us virgins in precious egos connecting when admiration meets a vintage taste so fine.
The ice had melted enough, she sipped carefully at first but droplets collected as if to say I don’t have long to be persuaded. Water making the napkin soggy; so she picked up another still dry, lips to paper… I reconnected my middle jacket button and walked over. “Are you gonna kiss napkins all night?”
“Hmm, timing and drinks, this one was too strong… bold, but wishful.”
A smirk, feisty but the lady had a point. “Why don’t we go somewhere with better selection?”
She smiled subtly and rolled her eyes in a playful fashion, responding, “if I was your daughter and I said yes, would you want me to say yes?”
Grinning like the Cheshire Cat, my body reacted before I could speak; my eyes began to widen and dilate, the watery shivering blurring my vision. She’s been hurt before. Like a shield she wears reality thick. Just then I realized it, she hadn’t come from a cab, or to vacation for a few minutes from a man upstairs… she was collateral damage. She was like me, waiting for magic, but effortless and tragic.
Noticing me wandering off in thought, she retaliated, “Well, would you?”
I tilted my head, looked at her and smiled.
Looking into my eyes her nature softened, the posturing turned into wanting… she leaned over to softly ask, “why pretend, wanna get a cab?”
Just like that my parachute opened, gliding over water and trees. The rest was still to be determined, but the best parts of her landscape put me at ease; reminding me, that magic sets you free.