Noire After Dark: By Change Or By Design [Part 1]

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I felt it before I walked through the door. He wasn't coming.

I'd been stood up.

My heart raced as I stood near the hostess stand trying to figure out what to do.

The restaurant began to fill. The heat rose from my belly to my face. The embarrassment set in, but I couldn't move. I sulked in the corner for as long as I could before moving to the bar. Though it was in my best interest to leave altogether I decided to stay. I didn't want to stare at the door, but I couldn't help myself every time the door opened I wanted to believe he could still show up.

It was a chance meeting. During my morning routine of scanning social media, I came across his profile. Apparently we'd become "friends" somehow and never spoken to each other. Today, I was feeling a little impulsive and decided to send him a message. Within minutes he replied. This sent a small shiver up my spine and boosted my ego a bit.

 

“Hey there” was all he said, but the mere fact that he responded was all it took

 

“How’s your morning?” I asked enthusiastically.

 

“Great actually. How’s yours?”

 

“The rain is making me sleepy, but it’s still a pretty good day.”

 

“Are you at work? Do you work?”

 

“ Yes I work and yes I’m at work. What about you?”

 

“I’m working too. Where do you work?”

 

“In the loop. You?”

 

“Me too. Where are you exactly?”

 

“Near the Macy’s on State Street.”

 

“You’re near me. Want to meet for lunch at Rudy’s Bar and Grille around 12?”

 

The conversation flowed so easily and my excitement seemed parallel to his. So I decided to take a chance.

 

“Sure.”

 

I logged off and put a bit of makeup on and a few sprays of perfume. It was only 10 o’clock and I was already nervous.

It was a simple conversation, but already my hopes were high. This is my normal reaction with men. I think of all the ways we could possibly be together. The smallest amount of attention caused my mind to drift into the future. I envisioned our first date, the first time he says, “I love you,” because of course he would say it first, I think of our lovemaking, marriage, babies and all. I know I have tendencies to get my hopes higher than I probably should, but I can’t help myself.

I usually shied away from most things I had no control over or that offered little surety, and being stood up was definitely a fear of mine. Now that it had happened, I wasn't terribly upset, just embarrassed. I pride myself on being a hopeful person, so the chipping away of my hope bothered me the most.

 

Adulthood was proving to be a hindrance to my self-esteem. My outlook on love was fading quickly. It’d been three years since I’d had sex with anyone other than myself, and even longer since I’d met someone that I connected with.

The bar was filling up and I was just taking up space, so I gathered my bruised ego and left. I left with my head held high, a gesture that was only surface deep.

As I stepped outside, there was still a slight drizzle, so I reached into my purse for my umbrella; I didn’t have it. I remembered setting it down on the floor near my seat. I turned to rush back into the restaurant, but slammed into a man exiting the store to my right.

I lost my footing and was on my way down when he grabbed my waist to keep me from hitting the pavement. When I looked up to thank him my lips grazed his neck. He smelled fresh, like fabric softener and wood. I looked into his face and we locked eyes.

 

“Are you ok?” his voice was deep and shook something in me. I felt like I was swimming towards him.

I couldn’t gather the words to say I was ok, or to thank him. I tried adjusting myself, but instead I slipped again and fell deeper into his grip.


*To be continued..............