(Continued from Part 1.)
Mr. Flawless opened the passenger door of his seasoned German convertible coupe. It impressed me that he drove this little vehicle instead of some gas guzzling monster of conspicuous luxury. He dressed casually, again in cashmere but this time no collared shirt. Remembering our first date’s wardrobe mismatch, I had dressed up and donned a silver mink stole my mother bought at a yard sale and a black silk John Varvatos dress from a secondhand shop. He liked it.
We headed toward the middle of Brooklyn reaching a neighborhood densely populated with occupied storefronts, more than half of which were gated shut for the weekend. Neither of us knew where to go.
While I looked for restaurants on Yelp with a rating of at least 4 stars, he checked Zagat’s guide and came across an establishment saying, “Oh, this one has a 27.” I put my phone away. Even with 4 stars, places reviewed on Yelp can still be hit or miss depending on who you want to please. Settling on this dimly lit enclave in the middle of Park Slope, we parked and headed inside.
Blue Ribbon looked like a Saturday night. Fitting for a New Year’s Day evening. In spite of the crowd, James secured a table in a cozy corner with a long view of the rest of the dining room. One thing is certain. We both enjoy the energy of a crowded room.
The day before, my motorcycle wouldn’t start. Missing the beautiful unusually warm weekend before, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to take a winter ride. Subways on the weekend are to be avoided. Taxi cabs on New Year’s Eve few. Instead my motorless bicycle got me around town. Perhaps the bicycle was a better ride after all, since riding a motorcycle requires 100% attention on the road.
On a bicycle, it’s okay for your mind to wander while riding on paths with no cars. It’s a great way to reflect, think about life, maybe even grow a little wiser.
I thought about James and his confession. According to some psychologists, about two out of 5 men have a tendency to get emotional about romance. Two out of 5 women are less emotional. I’m one of those two. Was I insensitive to ignore “I thought about you all day”? I stopped my bike and texted back. “I thought about you too.” A day later isn’t too late. Or is it?
The rest of my ride that night consisted of thinking about the guy at the New Year’s Eve dinner who asked me out, wondering why my motorcycle wouldn’t start, avoiding stumbling drunks, and feeling happy and sad at the same time. Happy because I can do the quirky silly things I like whenever I want.
Coming across an abandoned and stripped bicycle frame on the sidewalk, I wondered if James would have fun re-purposing forgotten objects with me. This thought made me feel lonely. I tried not to hope too much.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
-Proverbs 13:12, English Standard Version
At the table, James and I talked and laughed through three courses of dishes paired with a full-bodied Super Tuscan. We had Malpec oysters and Cherrystone clams, roasted endive salad, and lamb shank with sautéed white beans. The wine worked well with all three plates.
Doubts I had about the potential of our relationship melted with every smile and touch. Though not completely.
We got so comfortable in our corner that our legs intertwined under the table.
We spent the rest of the evening at my place, impassioned.
Completely at ease with our spent bodies, we slumped back on the couch. “I want to go someplace warm next weekend. Will you come?” He was leaving for the west coast later that week he said for business. He would be gone for two weeks.
I looked at him wondering how long his infatuation would last. “Sure.” The thought of going someplace warm while New York temperatures dropped below freezing was enough of a lure to not care what happened to our potential.
This wasn’t the first time he mentioned taking me away. During the first date, he alluded to it telling me about his racked up frequent flier miles and “if things work out…”
Whether or not things work out, I try not to hope. Besides, I don’t know what expectations are.
To Be Continued.