I felt like Cinderella that night. My boss couldn’t make it to the opening so she gave me her ticket and told me to have a good time. I borrowed a dress from my sister and the necklace I wore belonged to my best friend. I had just one hour to go shopping for shoes, but I found them with enough time to take a shower and a quick nap.
I stepped out of the company car into the hands of a doorman who tipped his hat slightly to me. I wonder if you noticed me as soon as I walked in or if my dress caught your eye as I swept around the railing of the staircase. I imagine how I looked to you, a floating cloud of chiffon and satin, sparkling diamonds catching the light. I blended well, you had no idea I was only an assistant who had been lent glass slippers for the night. The next morning I would turn into a pumpkin or a mouse.
For that night, I was a queen. I still tried to keep myself a little smaller than everyone else though, sticking to the edges of the room. I didn’t know anyone there and I was happy to watch everyone in all their glory twirl across the room. I closed my eyes and swayed along with the music. You touched my hand and asked me to dance. When I said no you looked startled and so I ran away, out to the garden. I made my way through the maze of bushes and flowers until I couldn’t see where I was going, so I just kept staring at the stars and the moon. I saw a clearing up ahead and ran on with my arms spread out wide, twirling in the light snow, laughing.
I ran to the bridge that launched out to a secret island and leaned over the railing to see if the water had frozen yet. The fountain turned the water into tiny waves and I could barely make out your face over my shoulder. You whispered your name to me in the snow and I mouthed my name to you. It was then that we fell in love, falling into the water laughing as it pushed up against us to catch us to carry us downstream to warmer waters of the Pacific.
You pointed out oceanic flowers and fish that were swimming by. We laid on our backs and watched the bottom of the bridge travel up as we traveled down, holding hands and laughing. My cup ran over and we built a reverse bridge from the lake of my heart to yours.
You took me home and kissed my damp hair and the curls that had formed. I asked when I could see you again and you told me in my dreams first but definitely for lunch later that day. I ran to my bed, stripping off my dress and jumped into the sheets, wet body and all so I could see you. And I did. When I woke up I saw my dress laying over the chair where I left it and the shoes next to the shopping bag and I smiled to myself as I thought of you and getting to meet you again.