Thursday, February 24, 2011

Love Everlasting At Our Neighborhood Starbucks

The old "Can I borrow your cellphone?" ploy -- that's how he approaches her.

"Can I borrow your cellphone?" he asks her. "I got locked out of my office."

She acquiesces pleasantly. And why not? He's cute, well-dressed, clean-cut -- not the kind of person you'd have to worry about handing your 3G smartphone over to for a moment.

He dials a number of a colleague (presumably someone with a key to the office), speaks briefly about being locked out, then hands the phone back to its owner.

"Thank you."

"You're welcome."

Of course, that's not the end of the conversation. He asks her where she works, she answers.  She asks him what he does, he tells her.  And why not? She's very, very pretty, open and unguarded.

The talk continues. By the time he leaves, twenty minutes later, she knows he's a corporate transactional attorney who primarily handles securities. He knows she works across the street for a small property development company, but also has a marketing business on the side that is handling a new fitness video as its maiden project. He's Canadian. She's from Indiana.

He offers to introduce her to Richard Simmons, who might be able to mentor her on marketing fitness videos. She's appreciative.  Within twenty minutes, business cards have been exchanged, complete with logos, names and phone numbers. Any observer seeing them converse would think, "They make a cute couple."

Or would.

Will he call her? Maybe. Maybe not.  He was bold enough to ask her for the cellphone, and then to start a dialogue.  And she liked his look enough to keep up her end of the conversation.  But the vagaries of sexual chemistry are mysterious.

Maybe, by the time he gets home, his machiato-fueled bravado has worn off.  Maybe she rethinks the wisdom of accepting an invitation from a man she spoke to only briefly in Starbucks (and, by the way, is it just us, or does he bear more than a passing resemblance to Ted Bundy?).  The business cards get tossed in the trash, and no further communication is exchanged.

On the other hand, maybe her sweet face is enough to inspire him. So maybe he calls. Maybe she answers. Maybe he asks, maybe she accepts. Maybe they go to dinner, a movie, a play.  Maybe more dinners, more movies, more plays.  A weekend in Santa Barbara. A vacation skiing in Aspen. A holiday dinner in Indiana. Then one in Canada.

And somewhere along the way, in the miasma that is human relationship, he learns that her vision of life and the future is so close to his, it's as if they conspired to construct the dream together. She learns that he is kind and decent and will defy her tendency to skip breakfast by always making sure she leaves the house with at least some tea and a piece of buttered toast.  He will learn that she wants three children. She will learn that he thinks three is the ideal number as well.

He will decide that for all her little quirks and foibles, life without her would be unbearable. She will realize that, in spite of his tendency towards untidiness, he has a heart the size of all of Canada.

He will surprise her with a ring. She will gladly show it off to her mother and sister. And they will never discuss the two big lies on which their entire relationship has been predicated. The first lie is that, that day in Starbucks, he had both his office key and his own cellphone tucked neatly in his pocket. And the second lie is that she suspected as much all along.

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