Friday, February 03, 2006

An Odd Day

As I left the video store today and crossed the parking lot, a woman crossed in front of me. I'd seen her in the grocery moments before -- so striking that she stood out in the sea of faces. Dark haired, well dressed, late 50s maybe -- devastatingly attractive. As I unlocked my car, she looked up and saw me looking.

Deer in headlights.

I wanted to buy her a cup of coffee and talk. So badly I shook. The conversation spooled in my head between two heartbeats like some movie loop where the guy gets into the elevator with the girl and has this great experience only to return to real beginning -- stepping into the elevator and not speaking.


"Um! Hi! Can I buy you a cuppa coffee?"

"Do I know you?"

"Well, no. But I saw you in the grocery store a few minutes ago and here you are and ... well. I thought I'd like to buy you a cup of coffee. Maybe you could tell me about yourself."

"What do you want?"

"I just want to buy you a cup of coffee and talk with a fascinating stranger for 20 minutes and pretend that I'm not a 50-something, paunchy, balding father of two with a mortgage, a car payment, and bad skin. I just want to step away from the ongoing drama that is my life and see if there's something else out there that doesn't involve lawn care, house paint, and worn carpets. I thought -- perhaps -- you might spare 20 minutes to tell me about your life and then walk away and never see me again. And then I can go home and unpack the groceries, assure my very insecure spouse that I love her, and perhaps, have a fresh outlook on what passes for reality."

"You don't want much."

"Actually, I think I do. And I'm wondering if it's too much."


And the movie keeps rolling.

She walks by and I don't speak. I get into my car and drive home thinking I'm some kind of idiot for (a) wanting to speak (b) failing to have the courage (c) betraying, somehow, somebody ... Knowing how stupid it is -- how much being approached by a strange man in the parking lot might have frightened her.

And I get here thinking I'll write up a nice little post -- first of the new year -- and I find a comment from the woman I thought I should have married but who had the sense to follow her own path.


An odd day all around.

1 comment:

Lesley said...

Years ago, I felt an irresistible urge to follow a guy I had never met, on foot, right across the city. I'd noticed him in the university library and he just looked interesting. I never spoke to him and I don't remember ever seeing him again. That was an odd day too.
Oh, and I wish someone significant from my past would leave a comment like the one you found.