© copyright 2005 Betsy L. Angert
It began on April 15, tax day, and while many may think that it was quite taxing, quite a burden, even a bludgeoning, I wonder if it was not my beginning. It began with an introduction, a request to keep company, at least for the time it takes to eat a meal, and then after a four-hour conversation, it became much more, much, much more.
We met in a restaurant, one that I ate in daily and had for years. Actually, though I thought that April 15 was the date of our first meeting, he informed me that it was not. Apparently, weeks earlier, when he was there with another woman, his friend, what he later revealed was his “best friend,” he passed by my table, my usual table, and shared a few words and a smile. I did not recall this clearly, for in the many years of my dining at this locale, strangers stopped by my table frequently. They smiled and shared a few words; yet, rarely were their words or their ways memorable to me. His and he were as the rest, not meaningful and therefore barely worthy of my remembering. They and he were merely moments.
However, this night was different.
He stopped; he leaned over the partition, brushed up against the plants that lined the divider, and asked if he could join me. He asked “Would you like company during your dinner?” I said “Yes, that would be nice.” He gathered his food from the smorgasbord and sat down. I do not recall our first words or why the conversation went as it did, yet I do recall that the discussion was animated and active, each of us sharing our awareness for all aspects of life. We discussed in depth, politics, philosophies, psychology, people, and our parallels. We discussed our differences; we discovered that our deepest divide was political. He was always Right and I was and am always Left. Would this predict my being left behind or left more balanced and authentically aligned?
We spoke and laughed for hours, three hours and forty-five minutes to be exact. Then it was time for the table talk to end. The restaurant was closing. We walked to the parking lot and it seemed so cosmic to me, his car was parked close to mine. Though it was late, we could not stop chatting; going our separate ways was delayed. We spent another fifteen minutes engaging and laughing. He asked for my telephone number. I willingly gave it to him. He did not write it down. For he, as I, can recall telephone numbers easily, from memory. Then, we parted ways.
I left the lot first. He was close behind me. We each drove south on Culver. As I approached the first intersection, the light turned yellow and I stopped. In his stupor, possibly reflecting on the energy of the evening, he did not realize that I had stopped and he or his car, almost slammed into mine. I heard, saw, or felt the near impact. Looking back, into my rear view mirror, I saw that he was waving and smiling, slightly embarrassed. When the light turned green we each turned left. He turned right at the next corner as I proceeded on, heading for home.
Five minutes later, when I arrived at my apartment, I checked my answering machine for messages; there was one. It was from him. He asked me to call; he wanted to see me again. He left his number. I called, immediately. We arranged to get together two days later, on Friday, for dinner. I wondered why I was doing this. I did not feel as though I was interested in him and yet, the energy. I was intrigued.
[Chapter One in a series]