“Your eyes are piercing,” she said to me.
I was at lunch with a close friend. We were talking about important, difficult things: marriage, children. He’s probably my closest friend. I count myself lucky to have multiple plausible candidates for that role; unlucky, in that the undisputed occupier of it from 1976-2010 no longer is one of those plausible candidates.
“People tell me that,” I stammered. Her accent was pronounced. Italian? Portuguese? Spanish? My friend hadn’t heard what she’d said. I was preoccupied with her perfectly imperfect beauty.
Her eyes are piercing – far more so than mine. She’s tiny – maybe 5’1″ or 5’2″. Her dress, backless, revealed both her lacy black bra and her multiple tattoos – most prominently, a chain of flowers (roses?) hanging down her back, beneath her black hair. Her smile dominates her face, insanely cute. Her complexion: imperfect, and far sexier for that. Had her skin been clear, smooth, I wouldn’t have been so drawn in. I wondered about a woman so sexy, so forward, so confident. What has her life held thus far? What (who) is next in it?
My friend and I continued our conversation. He hadn’t really noticed her. (He’s gay.)
I strained to listen to him, replaying, editing, my response to her compliment.
She refilled my water. I told her what I’d meant to say was, “Thank you!”
She said something about Americans being rude. I explained we’re not rude, we just don’t know how to take a compliment. At least I don’t. (I wanted to say “We just don’t know how to take compliments from stunning women,” but my friend rendered me self-conscious.)
She left. She came back. Refilled my water assiduously. I drank equally assiduously. She seemed intent on keeping my glass full. In a way I chose to take as promising. Or at least, interested.
Maybe I flatter myself. I probably do.
But she kept the flirting going, more than I felt free to, given my companion, given our conversation.
I was left simply to admire her, to plot my return, to deliver this paean to her.
She said something to me about ice melting in my heart, about the warmth inside me.
A thousand responses suggested themselves to me in that moment. Here’s hoping that, one day, I get to share one or two of them with her.