Asharply-dressed waiter lifts my handbag from the floor and places it carefully onto a stand. He leans in close and whispers an apology about the wait, but I barely notice him over the shrieks of my girlfriends who’re busy celebrating yet another 30th birthday. Only, as I later discover, he’s not a waiter but the restaurant manager.
When the fun dies down I find myself back at the restaurant for round two but this time we’re practically the only ones there. He seems intrigued by me, and I’m there because he is, without exaggeration, the best-looking man I’ve seen in my life. Literally, looking at him makes me reflect on all those times hopeful prospects asked about my type, and there, sitting in that grandiose dining room, I know, without a doubt, that it is him. He looks eagerly into my face as though expecting the sum of me to come spilling from my lips but I, so focused on staying awake from partying late the night before, can barely get any words out. All I know is that he has the most beautiful skin . . .
I wonder about how I’ve even ended up here. We’d exchanged email addresses after our first meeting, and the next morning an email from him had been waiting in my inbox about how much he wanted to see me again. Just the day before, my friend Torrent and I had been talking about how much we were done with men, particularly after her last escapade, dating a man who hadn’t told her, until she found out for herself, that he was married . . . with kids!
With that thought I glance down at his left index finger and . . . I can almost feel my world shift. Is this really happening? Déjà vu, à la Torrent. I instantly feel jinxed. Did he plan on telling me at all?
I wonder whether to bail now or later on this date, but nothing about the situation seems inappropriate or presumptuous. Besides, he’s been nothing but a gentleman. I convince myself to stay and talk with him about everything under the sun: work, writing, life. His silent revelation doesn’t make him any less amazing. In fact, I am damn sure he’s the man I’ve been looking for my entire life. I wonder about the universe and its wicked sense of humour . . .
In the confines of my room that night he remains on my mind. Desire rockets through my body when I think about how he’d hugged me, hard and tight, like he never wanted to let go. Just as quickly comes the sinking reality. Still, I can’t shake the feeling that it’s some kind of obscure lesson. Perhaps it was all about not settling. My mind drifts upon soul mates, and what it could possibly mean to meet the person you’re meant to be with when you’re good and settled down with someone else. I wonder how many other people have experienced the same.
Whatever it all meant, I knew I wouldn’t forget him. He was searching for something, as was I. There was no telling whether I or someone else would be able to give him the answer he was looking for but I knew, without a doubt, that our spontaneous meeting had helped me to find mine.