Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Love at First Sight (Part 3 of 3)

I thought about how many more posts to write about this story. The truth is that if I wanted to I could probably write a medium size novella about the whole thing. But I’ll keep it decent. I will conclude the account today.

She made the caramel latte with such a natural flair, unpretentious but self-assured. You know, like someone who knows that it’s capable of many wonderful things, but is in no hurry to get there. It was almost as if she was taking a day off just to make my coffee and was enjoying every step of the process. Pour the milk in the metal carafe, place it under the steam wand and warm it up with just enough artistry and at the right angle to have a substantial layer of foam to top the latte. Grind the coffee beans fine to give the espresso shots a smoky texture when the boiling water extracted those mystical flavors. A few stripes of caramel syrup to top the creation with which I would gather enough courage to tell her that she had been on my mind since the first time I saw her.

“Do you believe in signs?” I asked her almost out of the blue.
She smirked while looking down as she was tidying up her work area. She vacillated, looked at me like figuring where I was going with this conversation, and then almost under her breath said “Yes,” like she was remembering that she did in fact believe in signs. She was quite pleased with her answer. It was almost as if for some reason she had forgotten it a while back and I had just reminded her.

“I don’t even know where to start,” I said. “It’s just that the whole thing is so fantastic that I just have to say it. If I told you that I was thinking about you on my way over here, would you believe me?”
“I don’t know,” she smiled. “I don’t think so.”
“It’s kind of odd I know, and I apologize for being so forthcoming, but I’ll tell you why. About a month ago I was doing some Christmas shopping with my family in the mall by the border and I saw you in the coffee shop. I wanted to talk to you, but it didn’t seem appropriate. I’ve been thinking about you since then and now I run into you here! That has to mean something right?”

She chuckled genuinely. If I was telling the truth, it was kind of charming I guess. But even if I was making the whole thing up, as far as pick up lines is concerned, this was a pretty good one, I thought. I don’t really know what I was expecting. I mean, I know I wanted to ask her out on a date, but what were the chances of her saying yes? At the same time, as if the situation wasn’t odd enough on its own, I didn’t want her to feel uncomfortable.

“I guess all I’m really saying is that I would really like to get a chance to talk to you, get to know you a bit more. I have a feeling we would get along really well.”
“Well,” she started, “I have to say that I appreciate you being so frank, but I don’t know. I would feel weird giving my number to a stranger, I mean, it’s not something I do.” She smiled again and continued “but you are talking to me now, right?”
“Yes!” I said holding my breath as a glimmer of hope peaked.
“Well, talk then,” she said amused.

I figured I had about five minutes to have a convincing argument before more customers arrived. She had to have some information about who I was and what I did for a living. She needed to know that I was genuinely interested in getting to know her, and that I was not just flirting frivolously. I told her about some of my adventures as a reporter which she found entertaining, and she told me that she was finishing her professional practices as a psychologist. As you can imagine, I was thrilled with every bit of her that she shared, I thought it gave me a slight better chance of seeing her again. She was exactly the kind of person I imagine her to be: quirky, sassy, funny, genuine and smart. We were hitting it off famously, I thought, and in my mind there was a good chance we could set something up. Then the door opened and a customer came in. If there has ever been a more inappropriate intruder, it had to be that lady.

“I’ll tell you what,” Tania said as she looked at me. “I like that you are audacious. I respect that and for this reason I’ll take your email. I might write you,” and she handed me a pen and a piece of paper. My time today was up. It was like one of those moments when you are walking amid some foliage and run into a hummingbird. It hovers for a moment right in front of you flickering its wings so fast that they are just a blur, but you feel like you can almost touch it. But it’s only an illusion, a moment later it flutters away in a dash just as gracefully as it had arrived.

I wrote my email address in my best handwriting and gave her the note. She took it, verified it, folded the paper in half and placed it in her back pocket. It was a bittersweet flavor for me of course. Admittedly, more sweet than bitter yes, but still. I started backing away, slowly, as the customer intruder lady who had been looking the stuff on the retail shelves approached the counter and I didn’t want to get in the way. I thanked Tania for the coffee, which was delicious, and was about to leave when a fleeting thought crossed my mind.

“It was really nice talking to you,” I said to her. “It was just a moment, but I enjoyed it a great deal. I’ll be checking my email. But you know what? I have a feeling that even if you don’t write, we’ll run into each other again sometime.”

She smiled as she directed her attention to her customer and I left.

Yes, I checked my email every hour in the course of the next few days, which soon enough became weeks, and later months. On more than one occasion I thought about going to the coffee shop where she worked to say hi, but it didn’t feel right. I thought there was probably a good reason why she didn’t write. At times, I considered the possibility that she might have washed her pants with my email still in their pockets. What if she had the piece of paper in her car and it was blown away in the freeway? What if she put the note in her purse and it was stolen? Or even worse, what if she just threw it away as soon as I left? Whatever it was, I had to be stoic. I had to stand by what I felt the very first time I saw her. I recognized her. She had always been with me, transcending time and existence in our present form since back when we were still light traveling across the universe, there was no doubt. I knew it in many different levels, and in some odd way I thought she knew it too.    

Nine Months Later

I was on my way to the newsroom to work on a story that was due, when I ran into tree of my best friends. We joked for a bit as we hadn’t seen each other in a few days and they ended up talking me into having sushi with them before going to work. There were two possible sushi places we could go to, and I picked the one closest to my office. We took the second next table by the window facing the parking lot and ordered our food. As we waited for our lunch, we caught up on current happenings and events in our lives; it was a period of many exciting changes for us. I sat in a bench with my back against the wall facing the door, like Wild Bill.

A girl walked in, but I couldn’t really see her as my friend in front of me blocked my sight. She ended up sitting next to me on the bench, taking the table right by the window. I was involved heavily in the conversation with my friends when out of the corner of my right eye I saw the way her hair fell on her shoulders as she leaned to read a book. I turned my head to see her delicate and unmistakable profile.

It was a warm Thursday of September, and I have to agree with Keats: Who cares about the songs of spring? Fall has its music too.

We’ve been together since.