Something Nice

1 06 2007

Another Word for Being

The lights flicker and the music is heavy, she holds a glass in her hand waiting to dance. This is not complicated, this is not difficult; the girl there, Isabel, is my date – the slender shine of youth streaking down her brown hairs. The glimmer of light reflected by the disco ball lit her face in spots, making her steady pose appear to change from annoyed to content to blasé to expectant. I noticed the glass was empty; so to stall, I offered to get it refilled. She smiled and said she was grateful, “pink champagne.”

Walking to the barstand where a few drunken chaperones traded stories of their childrens’ exploits, I tried to compose myself. I wanted to impress Isabel, prove to her that I was equally well-connected. I asked the barman (who I’d never seen before) if I could “have another glass of champagne” hastily adding “sir.” I met the girl at a party at most two weeks ago. Isabel immediately was charmed by my reserved, quietly self-confident demeanor; she saw in my wallflower smile not some fraction of me but instead the boy who was awkwardly moving the hands, arms, and legs of a garishly lanky man. He poured me the drink which I brought back to the table, the table covered in the cafeteria’s white tablecloths.

I thought about lunchtime, about her high-spirits- the laughing that accompanied discussions of high school romances. Last Tuesday, the invite to be the boy at the table; this is one of two things, it is either the best opportunity for a boy to get to know several girls intimately, to know their secrets and share your own, to express a sentimental side. Or if you’re too sentimental then you become a girlfriend to them, not date-able, not a boyfriend but a best-friend – the wrong “bf.” I treaded carefully in this distinction with Isabel, being curteous, thoughtful and considerate, but not relinquishing self-confidence, not falling into the nice-guy trap. I handed her the glass and sat down.

She tasted it and I could see something was amiss. She put it down and looked like she was about to yell, then suddenly she started laughing. “You realize, Austin, that this is actually champagne? I watched you the whole time, figured they’d laugh at you or some silly thing like that.” A joke; unexpected, but I wasn’t played and I still made her laugh — good so far. She explained, “Alright, maybe I should just come clean about this whole thing. I have had a crush on you since we met — maybe before, but I’m not going to get into that just yet — and I had no idea who you were, really, so I invited you to sit with me, but you didn’t talk much. You really haven’t said much about yourself, and I figured you were either taken or gay. [At this point my face must have appeared to fall] No, no, I was just waiting for you to make a move. Waiting for you to do something, anything really. And you asked me to prom, but still we haven’t really said much. We needed some kind of icebreaker. I figured if I waved my glass around enough, your silly chivalrous conscience would offer a refill. I figured if I asked for champagne then you’d get rejected, maybe even thrown out and we could go do something more .. fun.”

At that point I had to kiss her. She had played a little game with me, something I’m not usually fond of, but her face during the miniature confession was adorable, two large brown eyes looking up at me seeking approval. I kissed her with a grace I had not felt surge through my body before; it was the concerted contraction and extension of muscles that pushed my face close to hers. At last, merely inches apart, our faces themselves propelled lightly forwards and I could feel upon the skin of my lips the ridges and valleys of hers. Two wallflower eyes locked together once again in a speechless understanding. I could smell the passionfruit perfume, the vanilla shampoo, the ambrosiac smell of liquor, and even my own cologne wafted out of hiding.

She brought her hands forward to touch my face and we were there, the two of us and not a living breathing soul otherwise — and suddenly we were outside racing to the car, beneath the broken streetlamp — suddenly escaping life’s myriad complications, exchanging years of ardent meditation for the moment of spiritual surrender.

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2 responses

2 06 2007
Dad

Great stuff Kevin. It shows a mature writer who could actually publish someday if you could keep this up. It looks to me to be extremely difficult to do. I probably haven’t written one paragraph in my life with such creativity.

I think you might want to back off just a tad in the description. Sometimes less is more. There were only 1 or 2 instances of that and we can discuss later if you want. It’s not that they were so bad. It’s that the other parts of those paragraphs were so good.

This is the kind of top flight work I do not think you could have done a few years ago. Maybe you are learning a lot in school and it is now showing. Anyway….GREAT STUFF!

2 06 2007
Margaret

I think it was the most beautifully composed piece you’ve ever written.

It flowed well and was short enough as to not get a bogged-down feeling. I enjoyed reading it (all three times).

Good work, darling. Write more often. You’re very good and becoming better all the time.

With Love, Margaret

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