It was only supposed to be dinner. A couple hours to kill with conversation before I went out on the town with my boys. She’d just moved to a new city, a city I frequented often, and together we were going to explore her new neighborhood. We were going to grab a bite, and smile and catch up, and pretend that we were actually the adults that we were supposed to be at these ages. I’d known her back when. Back in school when I was young and fun and fearless. And she was younger and beautiful and impressive in all the right ways. We’d been friends on our own paths, I’d been reckless and wild, she’d been smart and over achieving. We’d gotten drunk and kissed once years ago, I think it was on my birthday, and I’d often wondered what might have been. Somewhere along the line, as is usual for beautifully smart young women, she’d picked up a boyfriend. He was smart like her, an overachiever in his own right. They seemed good for each other. We all went out for drinks one time, and it seemed like they were happy. I liked her a lot, but knew that she wasn’t mine. I wondered, always wondered.
So it was Christmas time, a holiday she didn’t celebrate. And I was in town because that’s the town I go to when its Christmas time, and we’d made plans to hang out for a bit. The weather was brutal. Horribly wicked brutal, a special Midwestern blend of fantastic brutality. We avoided the weather to stay in and cook dinner together. Veggies and rice and drinks and small talk. We chopped and stirred and seasoned and browned. We smiled and laughed and touched and teased. Our eyes lit up, just for fun, because it’d been awhile and we were both unattached. It was normal and natural and nice. It was a fantastic change of pace from the gutter punks and the party animals I’d been hanging out with for the last ten months. It was Midwest and old school, it was familiar and comfortable.
We laughed and sat close, we touched in the most innocent of ways. We sat a bit closer and let our touches become more familiar. And then we kissed, or I kissed her or she kissed me, it was one of those kisses that was going to happen eventually and felt right when it did. We hugged close and smiled and breathed in of each other, and it was fantastic. We talked about life and dreams and big things and little ones, about the future and the past, and I noticed her again, much like the first time. We reminisced about Spanish class and killing time together and that cute red shirt she used to wear, back when I noticed her for the original first time.
I wondered some more. I wondered about life and love and why things sort out the way they do. I wondered about her, and if this was just for kicks or if it meant anything more than anything else. Or if anything ever means anymore than anything else, or if I just think too much about everything. I wondered if we lived in the same city whether we’d date, and this comfortable night would become a familiarity. I wondered if we were just two lonely people in a strange Midwestern city looking for a connection. She was so beautiful when she smiled.