She knew how to kiss. This was how I knew she was the one.
We were in her car, the front seats reclined. Arms around each other, like two old souls seeing each other after a very long time apart. We were delirious with pre-love, and scared to death. We didn't want to say too much, for fear of ruining the moment.
Then we kissed. Game over, man. This is the story of that kiss, and just before the kiss.
We had just met that night, really met, face to face, skin to skin. I couldn't stop smiling. It was as if I knew her already. I could already finish her sentences. Her face was familiar to me, her smile so right. The way she sat next to me so comfortably, and when she sat down, she threw her hair back, tilted up her head, smiled, crossed her long legs with an I-don't-care attitude, and continued on with the conversation she had started as soon as she walked up to my table.
That dazzling smile will be the ruin of me, or mine forever.
After the wine and the laughter, the evening was coming to an end, or so we thought. She had to get home - work tomorrow. We'd planned this to be a quick, casual evening: drinks, say hello, meet face to face. We wanted to get each others' vibe after long evening conversations on the telephone. But fate's finger did not write this on the wall of our lives. Nothing turns out as planned when it involves her.
I had brought along a book, a summer blockbuster: something fast paced. She struck me as the kind of woman who ran late because she had seven things to do but had time to do only three. After ten or twenty minutes of waiting, my cell phone rang: she called to say she was not going to be at the restaurant on time, apologized, and asked if we should move this to another evening. No, I said. I'm here outside, it's a great evening, so even if you don't get here, I'll be able to read and enjoy the air. I opened the book, ordered a glass of wine, and settled in.
When I had forgotten about her and was deep into the plot, I heard a voice. Then I heard it again. It was getting closer. Finally I looked up, annoyed at the loud waitress. But it wasn't the waitress. It was her. Tall, long, smiling... and amused I was reading such shitty books.
She dazzled. I vaguely remember standing up and hugging her, and managed to eke out a weak greeting.
Hi! It's so great to see you finally!
She was dismissive, still focussed on the abysmal choice of books. She lit into me and began upbraiding.
I thought you were the Milton and Shakespeare type. This is going to change my opinion of you substantially, and you're already walking on thin ice.
After the initial shock-and-awe of such a greeting, I retrenched and replied that I wouldn't need such a fat book if someone would have stuck to the planned schedule. She waved a hand.
Please. Plans are for losers. If you're with me, you have to learn how to keep up. Adapt and keep going, that's the motto.
... And we were off to the races.
We wound up staying at the restaurant until it closed. Four hours of conversation. Nonstop laughter. By the end, our hearts were in tatters. After both of us had more than our fair share of drinks, we decided we'd stretch the evening a bit more and ordered dinner.
I wound up kissing her halfway through the dinner, on impulse. She took a phone call, and I got up, walked around and gave her a brief, friendly kiss. She finished the phone call and looked at me.
What was that for?
I don't know. It just felt like the right thing to do.
A bit later, much to my surprise, she reached across the table asking to hold my hand. She was spontaneous, and she didn't think too much about it, but just did it. I reached across and put my hand on hers. It felt nice.
After dinner we kept talking. The waitress took our plates then got us some coffee. Conversation was so pleasant in the warm summer evening air with this wonderful new woman who was talking as if she'd known me all of her life. In another spontaneous moment, she got up from her seat, pulled it next to mine so that we could be next to each other, sat down and continued talking. If anyone had been watching us, they would have thought we were old friends. We kept talking as if nothing had happened. We held hands like an old couple on the beach.
The waitress kept coming by for the check, then served coffee, then announced last call from the bar. By this time we had the outdoor café to ourselves. She was tiring of us. Finally she announced that the restaurant was closing.
We didn't want the evening to end. I walked her to her car, since it was late and the parking lot was poorly lit. She got in and closed the door. She looked at me, smiling behind the glass of her door. I think she wanted to say thank you for a nice evening. Expecting her to turn on the car engine and pull away, I stayed by the door and was ready to wave her good bye. A few seconds later, and the engine still hadn't turned on. We were frozen in this moment. Then the sound of the electric window opener whirred, the glass rolled down, and she, still smiling, said,
Would you sit in my car and keep talking to me? Just for a little bit?
That is how we found ourselves in the front seats of her car, reclined and leaning toward each other uncomfortably because she had bucket seats. Still, we made do. It was heaven to have my arms around this almost-stranger. She smelled wonderful.
Fear seems to be love's constant companion. We were so afraid to ask about the future. We were afraid to declare our strong emotions for one another, afraid the magic bubble of this unreal moment would burst. We were afraid we were in a cosmic play, two characters on stage, when the lights come on and bring us all back to grubby reality, the director's voice would come from the speakers and say, "Cut. That was a nice scene" and we would walk off the stage, home to our ordinary lives.
There comes a moment when you have to act. I needed to kiss her. Kissing was a declaration of intent: I intended to pursue her, and to let her know it. To not do so was to kill the emotion of the moment. And so it was that I turned my head toward hers, and closed in on those two luscious lips.
Just before our lips met we paused, fractions of an inch apart. I remember everything, every microsecond of that moment: her closed eyes, her red hair, her perfect mouth, the way she breathed. My lips could feel the warmth radiating from her lips. Her body felt good in my arms. I inhaled before kissing her. I wanted to smell her in order to remember it, the scent of a woman who is about to be kissed. Our lips were only apart for a second or two, but it seemed like an exquisite eternity.
Then our lips touched.
I may have believed in a soul at that moment, because it felt like this was no ordinary touching. This was soul to soul, mine connected to hers. I poured into her. It was as tender a kiss as I've ever had. Heart, soul, mind, tears and fears and love and laughter, and our future, all in that one kiss.
You can't make stuff like this up. It's been almost a year.