It went well I think. She said “fuck” within the first couple minutes and it immediately put me at a certain kinda peace and then we talked without pause for a little over two hours and we disagreed on things and I embarrassed myself by not knowing where her home country sits on the map but, to be fair, I don’t know where anything sits on the map, myself included. Her eyes widen and she karate chops the bar while making certain points. She’s friendly but has an immediately-evident edge to her. Like a flower that’s sometimes a knife. She drinks two whisky sours over the course of the chat and I’ve had three or four beers in that time, maybe one too many, and I squirm now and then when she asks me something about the Project or writing cuz I guess I still don’t know how to let myself be taken seriously.
We sit there beside empty glasses for a while talking before I get the check and then we step outside.
I walk her to her building a few yards over but conversation’s good so we curve at the door and walk around to the back, by the river. She’s shivering and I have a jacket and consider sharing it but can’t tell if it’ll be weird cuz she did seem to kinda bristle when I put the drinks on my tab (told me very directly, “I can pay for my own drink”). When we’re standing alone at the back of the building, warmer without the breeze, I tell her a story and she listens attentively and it leads into another conversation and I wanna kiss her but it seems too soon so I don’t do it because the night’s proven way better than I could’ve anticipated and I know that if I fuck it up by moving too fast at the last moment I’ll literally cringe about it for decades.
Walking her back to her front door she makes remarks about “next time” and I tell her I’m glad she’s up to do this again and then I leave for another bar where over a single beer I read a long Rolling Stone profile of M. Night Shyamalan’s comeback. He says that in his twenties he thought it would be lame to spend his life making thrillers like Sixth Sense. So he tried to break away and be a different kinda filmmaker. It almost ruined his career. Now, in his 50s, he’s making peace with the fact that he’s the guy who makes thrillers. That’s what he does, that’s what he enjoys – he may as well do it as best he can.
I fall asleep at 2 a.m. and wake up at 6. I know that later in the morning I’ll send a text telling her I had a nice time but I’m thinking, as I walk Mango at sunrise, about how I’ll word it.
Too soon for compliments.
No cuz that’ll look deliberately nonchalant, which looks and sounds more desperate than even just voicing your desperation unadorned.
I shower and dress and walk to Starbucks where the barristas now greet me by name after so many months and when the cashier comments on my smile I wanna tell her about last night. I wanna tell everyone. But I don’t.
Sit and eat the bagel, drink the coffee, edit the Snake Pit essay and post it, along with the gas station piece, and then start in on moviepicture #351, Breathless by Goddard, and it’s well into the movie, and my second cuppa coffee, that, on impulse, I grab my phone and shoot off a text to her.
Hey, had a great time last night…would love to see you again after the holiday…
Set the phone facedown beside the laptop and finish the movie.
Breathless, it’s called, by Goddard.