I have not been writing because something happened to me a little over a week ago.
My son and I went to a local cafe for a bite of supper before dashing off to a Halloween party - the same cafe where I now sit writing this to you because I can get an internet connection here (we still don't have it at our under construction house).
As we were being led to our booth, I momentarily made eye contact with a woman sitting in the next booth and something happened. I don't really know how to explain it. It took only a nano-second, but it has changed my life. I felt a shock course through me and time stopped. For that instant, something passed between us. Then it was over and I was sitting down, facing my son, our conversation never missing a beat, but inside I was wondering what had just occurred.
Over the course of our meal, I kept trying to sit up taller to see if I could peer over the top of the high wooden booth and once again make eye contact with the woman on the other side. I could see the top of her head but little else. I finally had to resort to the old "I have to go to the bathroom" ploy which allowed me to stand up, glance quickly into the other booth and then make my way to the john for an unneeded pee break. Upon returning there was a second chance to stare for a moment at the mysterious woman dining with a friend just on the other side of our booth divider. Each time, there was a fleeting connection that fairly crackled with tension.
When my son and I were done and preparing to leave, I did something compleatly out of character for me. After debating with myself for several minutes, I tore off part of the paper strip the bill came on and scribbled my first name and cell phone number upon it. As I passed our waiter on the way out, I asked him if he would deliver it to the blond sitting in the next booth. Then we were outside and my appalled son asked me what the hell was going on. I said that I was temporarily deranged and that the condition would soon pass. We then went home to prepare for the party.
By the time we had changed into costumes and had driven to the party, I had almost forgotten my crazy moment at dinner. I thought that whomever it was probably had immediately discarded the scrap of paper or that perhaps the waiter, being busy, had stuck it into his apron where it would be discovered weeks later with other scraps of debris and minute bits of food. I was therefore surprised when my phone buzzed an announcement of a newly arrived text message while I stood trying to sip a beer surreptitiously through my surgeon's mask. The only person that texts me on a regular basis is my son who was sitting 50 feet away from me taking tickets at the door.
Upon opening my phone, I found a message from a number that I did not recognize asking me who I was and what I was doing. It was the mystery woman.
What followed was a fairly surreal evening of too much alcohol, weird costumes, fervid dancing, and coy text messages passing between two strangers. Eventually the messaging stopped as my MW ceased responding to my queries.
It was with a bit of difficulty that I rose to awareness the next morning, dragged from sleep by the sound of a text message arriving in my phone which lay on the floor next to my sleeping pad. Upon cracking a bleary eye and picking up the phone, I saw that the MW had sent me a morning greeting, apologizing for not responding to my last couple of posts from the night before due to her being mugged by the sandman. To make up for it, she proposed meeting at a local coffee house for a cuppa. In a slight panic, I agreed.
See, it is one thing to flirt with a total stranger via the anonymous and completely senseless medium of text messaging, but it is something completely different to sit down with someone you do not know in the cold, clear light of morning especially after a night of saying who knows what salacious things to them as the effects of mucho beer slowly invaded the higher thinking portions of one's brain. Extra especially when said beer was still mudifying said brain the next morning. But agree I did.
So, I sat there at the coffee house wondering who was going to walk through the door. What if the waiter passed my note to the wrong person? What if I had been flirting with someone totally different from the MW? What if, instead of the electricity of the previous evening, I experienced only the sinking feeling of a "what the fuck have I done" moment when sobriety and morning's light showed me what a fool I had made of myself. Then she walked through the door.
It was the MW. She saw me and came over with a smile on her face.
What followed was an hour of polite conversation as we each tried to gauge the other. We admitted a mutual moment of be zapped when our eyes met the night before, but that was merely the moment that intrigued us to know more.
In that hour as we slowly sipped our coffee, we danced and parried, quized and answered, told each other a bit our our life's story. All too soon, it was time to go. As we chastely shook hands, I said that I would like to see her again and if that would be OK. She said yes, that that would be good. Then we went our separate ways and I returned to our apartment puzzling over the events of the last 24 hours.
Later that night, I got a text asking me if I would like to meet for a drink before turning in. Well, one thing has lead to another and I now find myself intrigued and enmeshed. I am fully aware that infatuations are heady but often lead to nothing once the glow wears off. I am also aware of the quickness with which all of this has occurred. What happens next is yet to be written. Just know that I have been happily blindsided by this and am more than willing to go along for the ride to see where it goes.
More than that, I cannot share. I just wanted you to know that my silence was not due to my normal procrastination, but something more.
I'll let you know how it goes.