I was waiting for him to show. He was late. He seemed the type to be late. Was I worried?
No. Yes. Why do we meet people online? I hadn’t been trying, though. Maybe that’s why it was so strange. Dating sites have some code of conduct. He just sent me a social networking message. Does that really happen? Does that work for people?
He entered, and I recognized him from the photos. He smiled, baring a nearly-black tooth he had hidden well. His smile did not ring true. He was disappointed. He sat, quietly. The band was loud, and he clutched his beer without ever uttering a single word. I screamed “It’s very loud in here.”
“I think I’m gonna go. Do you need a ride home?” He clearly hoped I would decline.
“No, I’ll call a friend.” How perfunctory.
“Are you sure?” He turned and left before I could respond. There’s the punch line, I suppose.
I sent a quick message to my ride. It would be at least 20 minutes before she arrived, and she wouldn’t be happy. I sat alone on the worn leather couch, trying to focus on the music instead of the awkward, stinging situation.
Another man sat away from me, but felt somehow very near. I sensed he had seen the awkward exchange. He had strong features, soft eyes, and his hair had grown longer than trends allowed. He was sitting, but his vast stature was still visible. He looked at me with concern. A moment passed, and somewhere between songs he decided to approach.
“Hey. Who’s your honey?” His voice was deliciously deep, and barely close enough to hear his warm breath over the music.
“Some guy. I think I just got stood up.” The expression on his face was pure compassion. Have you ever seen one part of a person’s soul, and so deeply loved just one facet that you would forgive the rest of it? I did know that with certainty. From the first moment his striking eyes met mine and his strong jaw line shifted to address me, I understood that I would one day forgive him. For what, I did not yet know.
Then, he smiled. Just like that feeling that only exists on schoolyard playgrounds; the type that still have the tall slide.
“Well, that’s a pity. What’s your name, baby?” His expression would normally signal some kind of femininity to me, but on him, is just sounded classically elegant. Everything about him hummed with a vintage brand of comfort; Sinatra on holiday.
I suppose I answered, but my ride rang my cell. “It’s nice to meet you.” He handed over his card. “My networking site is on here. You should add me on your page.” So, I suppose that’s the real punch line.
I looked down at his card. It was clean and simple. “A musician? Yes, you’re definitely trouble.”
He grinned as I got up to leave. I was grateful for the ride, but I also ached to be stranded in his presence.
“See you around, beautiful.”