There was no predetermined course of action that should have led me to believe the night would be any more or less meaningful than the countless others I had spent in that same location through the years. Yet something inside of me knew tonight — this night — would be different.
Perhaps every event of that day, and the week prior, and the months before that were just another brick being laid in front of me for the road that would lead me to what I was walking into that night.
As Elizabeth walked me over to the group, there were a number of familiar folks, along with a couple of fresh faces. There was Ricky, who was much more friendly than his heavily tattooed body suggested, and then there was you — an olive-skinned brunette with a warm smile and green eyes that were nothing short of magnetic.
“She’s cute,” I whispered to Elizabeth, nonchalantly.
“Yup,” she said, smiling.
A few seconds passed, with my eyes routinely rerouting back to you.
“No, like, she’s actually gorgeous,” I replied.
“Yup,” she said, chuckling.
In the moment, that was the end of it. While every fiber of me wanted to pursue you in some way, so much of me was still emotionally dejected to the point where going on a lengthy hiatus from dating sounded like the perfect rehabilitation.
I had my thumb over “x” to delete my Tinder account less than an hour before my arrival.
Once the formal introductions broke, you went your way and I went mine. In the moment, that was the end of it.
After an hour of squirming through hoards of people trying to navigate through the room, and after losing the group for a period in time, I was ready to call it a night. I gave Elizabeth the 45-minute warning, all the while wondering what the point was of even waiting that long. Then, with one smoke break, everything changed.
Had it not been for the fact that neither of us smoked, we probably never would have stayed inside and talked at length on the stairs. I remember wanting to kiss you right there, but fearing that the move would be ill-advised. Had it not been for that talk, I never would’ve asked if you wanted a refill on your vodka cranberry.
On most nights, it would be aggravating that the bartenders were so backed up. Tonight, I was glad. As you leaned against the bar, I wrapped my arms around you, and gently kissed your collarbone. From there came a kiss to your neck, and then a nibble on your ear.
With one deep sigh, I went for it. Once our lips locked, it all hit me.
It was that feeling you get when the place mutes to deafening silence. That feeling that makes it seem like you’re invincible and invisible to the people around you. It was that feeling that erases every thought in your mind for however long the moment lasts.
That feeling that had been lost over time, and now that it has returned, I’m better prepared for the repercussions.
I can’t allow myself to fall as hard as I once did, and it would be wise to never put myself in that state of vulnerability again.
Negative experiences in our life have a way of trumping the positives in a similar situation, despite all logical reasoning.
We’ll swear off a restaurant after getting sick once, despite having gone there for years; we’ll fear household pets after being bitten once, disregarding the hundreds of hand licks that preceded it; and we’ll guard our hearts like clockwork after it breaks, potentially shutting out the person who may possess the glue to mend the wound.
Part of me says to reach out and keep you at an arm’s length. Another part of me says to reach out, pull you towards me, and kiss you. Only time will tell which part wins out. I don’t know, and can’t begin to guess, what comes next.
What I do know is this: The second I got home that night, I deleted Tinder and haven’t looked back since.