I called her Cassandra, even though I don't think it was her name.
She told me her name once, but I was too busy staring into her eyes and imagining what it would be like to be somewhere in Madrid with her, in a hotel room, with a television that didn't work and too many bottles of champagne easily at hand. I nearly drowned in her eyes, even though I'm given to believe they were closed the first time I looked into them.
It was the first time we met that she told me her name. It came across like a whisper, like something that came from somewhere far away. Or it might have been that I wasn't listening. She was taking my order in a bar I had never been in before, but she was more than just a cocktail waitress. Her movements were too fluid, too precise, too otherworldly to bestow upon her such a pitiful label. I stood there as she waited, looked up at her, studied the shape of her lips, and called her "Cassandra."
She never corrected me.
I could have sworn her hair was blowing behind her and catching the flourescent lights in a way that framed her face like that of an angel. Even though it was all in my mind, it was still very real. It was more than real. It was so real I found myself unable to say anything other than that name, which was probably not even hers.
"Cassandra..." I breathed it out slowly, as one might when taking their final breath of life, desperately thinking of the last thought they want to take with them to their grave.
She looked at me curiously, confused at first, and then her expression changed. She was enjoying what she was doing to me. And in that moment, that moment where I realized what she was doing to me and how much she enjoyed knowing what she was doing to me, I knew it was a moment I never wanted to escape. It was a moment I never wanted to leave behind. Memory alone could never preserve the moment. It had to last for as long as we could make it last. I knew this. She knew it as well.
I don't remember giving her my order. I don't think I ever did, but after a moment, she moved away from my table and back towards the bar. As she moved further away, the room grew darker and felt threatening. My eyes darted around the bar. I felt dizzy, and it seemed as if some of the patrons of this establishment had goat legs. Others appeared to have horns. I looked down at my hands and waited, nervously and more unsure of my worthiness as a human being than I had at any time in the course of my meager existence.
When she returned, peace also returned to my mind. The room was filled again with light and it felt as if there were no other people in the room. I was alone with this woman I had decided to call Cassandra. She had brought me a drink. She told me what it was, but I did not hear her, as I was otherwise engaged, studying the perfect line of her face and trying to decide if it were at all possible this woman was real.
With the first sip of the drink she brought I knew it was the only drink that could have relieved my thirst, for in that moment she was the only creature that existed, anywhere in time and space, who was capable of satisfying that thirst.
She looked at me, smiling in a way that reassured me and made me uneasy at the same time, and said, "Is it okay?"
If she meant the drink, I hoped my nod would suffice as an answer. "Cassandra, I..."
"I know," was all she said before moving away again.
To Cassandra with great respect and admiration.