I walked into the turquoise painted room, there were cold oysters on the half shell, and fish tacos. I knew I’d love it here. We sit, side by side at the booth, half way down the wall, lined with fish tanks, brimming with fish. The water glistened and scattered sparkles across the walls, ceiling, floor, and on our skin. The fish swing around the tank, showing off their splendor. A small puffer fish looks back at me, eyeball to eyeball. A little starfish clings to the glass. The room felt intoxicating, I had yet to place my order. Somehow, it didn’t even matter, not eating yet; I was already feeling full. He read the menu to me. I asked him to order for me. I’m in hog heaven. He orders wine. Not just any wine, the perfect wine. I slip the cork in my purse.
He carefully places his napkin in his lap. I am from the North, transplanted to the South. He was born and raised in the South. We compare our cultures. Mine, a fast paced sense of hurriedness and a keen sense of alertness, and his, recollections of back porch social gatherings and unlocked doors. The South seems less confusing and more inviting. I feel so blessed to immerse myself in sun kissed days and cool breezy nights. I love the South. While he talks, I make a mental note of the lines across his forehead. His hairline is receding. I notice the way his teeth show through his moving lips. His hand gestures have an almost feminine quality, but expressive and powerful also. His right eye is a little narrower his left. Light blue eyes, the color of washed dungarees and a little speckled. He is smart. Not just a little smart, but the kind of smart that draws you deeper into the words. I don’t want to miss a thing. His voice has a pleasant cadence. His words flow slowly between his lips articulately, soaked a little like whisky in a slight Southern accent. My only distraction is, I want to kiss those lips. I resist the urge to lean my face into his. I sit, I smile, and I listen.
A box appears on the linen tablecloth. His thick fingers slid the box in my direction. My eyes meet his. He is smiling. The bow is satin and slips off easily with a single pull. Inside is a string of pearls with a gold clasp in the shape of a blooming flower. He helps me put the pearls around my neck. They feel warm next to my skin and their nacre is rich, and iridescently magic. Something so lovely formed from an irritation, and over time, made into something beautiful.
Half way through the meal, I glance at his hands, one of his fingers is a little crooked. He’s perfectly imperfect. I like that he has these little marks from life. I like that he has come to himself and has nothing to prove. He talks about archaeology, war theory, and religion. He is a good storyteller, and a great poet. My heart feels like I am fly-fishing. Casting my emotions out, and reeling them back in. I tell him one of my favorite quote by John Ruskin “The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion all the time.” I have always thought story telling was a gift from God. This is how God speaks to us and stories connect to us and change our DNA.
I think I’m falling in love. This is new to me. Being in love is like creating a parallel universe that will outlast me. Even though my body will experience an end, my love will not. The evening he planned for me will remain in my head and my heart for a very long time.
Cali is a slipshod writer, bearing witness to a giggling, wild and wonderful life. Cali is a graduate from College for Creative Studies, and finds enduring function and aesthetics pure joy. She is a middle-aged woman warrior. She can usually be found at the gym, sweating, and power lifting. She lives in flip-flops, sundresses, and enjoys a hefty dose of tequila. Whenever she can, she devotes taking her breath away while Stand-Up-Paddle-boarding, (SUP) and attending movies on free days. Everything she does is the right amount of wrong. She is always seeking the “other” conversation. She is attracted to cheerful spheres of truth and muscular points of interest. Not even close to having it all figured out, if she weren’t confused, she’d feel like she wasn’t alive. As for being naked, she lives in central Florida, don’t think about that…oops, too late. You’ve been warned.