I stood back and spent the few extra seconds I had left before we exchanged words to take off my coat. I knew who she was because she told me she’d be wearing a flower in her hair. It was white and it stood out from her dark locks. It drew me to her.
There is only a second, really, just the smallest moment before I find out if this girl is worth talking to. In an instant I’d seat myself next to her at the bar and hear her voice for the first time. It’s like I was waiting in the wings about to take the stage. The show would commence, and there’d be no turning back.
Before she turned to see me, I noticed her posture. She sat proudly on the stool, her forearms on the bar, her fingers around her pint glass. She knew I was coming, but she looked more relaxed than me. Patiently waiting. Maybe she was thinking what I was thinking as well, that things could change after tonight. Our lives could be much different after I sat down.
She turned to greet me, and I saw her face just as in the photograph, her light, round face, thin lips and delicate smile. I was instantly happy to meet her. And as the night went on, I found that this woman saw the world in a way that I can relate to. The conversation turned philosophical within the first few minutes which intrigued me. The more people I meet in my life, the more I notice that many of them tend to shy away from the important subjects. It’s much easier to discuss the mundane because the opinions of others in those areas don’t usually challenge your own world view. She seemed to get it, though. She shared with me some of her disappointments and I admired her confidence in spite of them. She also shared with me her affinity for beer which we used to toast the lessons of life.
There was a warmth about her that made me feel comfortable. As we walked to my car from the bar, our steps fell together like we’d taken them before. I could have mistaken her excellent people skills for an actually enjoyment of my company, but things were going well enough for that thought not to cross my mind until much later. I was content hearing the words come from her mouth and not wishing she’d chosen any one differently. I on the other hand could tell immediately her lack of interest when I mentioned a particular sports team I liked. I wasn’t looking at her face because we were walking side by side, but her tone was definitely less interested than before I brought it up.
What I read from her face as the night progressed was that she was enjoying herself. She turned out to be more of a mystery than I had thought, because she hid her discomfort from me well. It wasn’t that she was displeased with me, but she didn’t actually enjoy the show we attended as much as I did. She revealed that to me much later. But that night every glance I snuck of her face showed me a relaxed smile and a tentative gaze. She even took me by my arm as we walked back to the car. I suppose no matter how honest you want to be from the beginning, it’s best not to show all your cards right away.