Who are you?
So I was walking back to my hotel after The Drink, wearing the golden beads, wrapping up a fun night of jazz hopping in New Orleans. Like all of New Orleans, I was in such a good mood. That’s when you looked toward my way, for a millisecond. I thought you were lost. You were not more handsome than the others but you had a way about you. You had a little gut but you looked vaguely modern. Then you walked ahead with a group (that I thought you were with) until you veered off by yourself off to the street. For some reason, by the time I walked up to where you were, I looked at you again. And before I knew what was happening, you said
Do I know you?
You came back up on the curb to join me on the sidewalk. I said, sorry for staring but you look like a friend of mine. You said I looked so familiar too. Have we met somewhere? Where have I seen you before? We stood there in the middle of the sidewalk, squeezed by people, our standing so close in this exchange of confusion under the streetlamp, and found out that I lived in DC, and you travelled to DC for work. What I didn’t tell you, was, in fact, where you travel to meet your client is only blocks away from where I live. That rattled me as if you had somehow gotten inside my house! And that was the only reason that I asked what you did in DC, and you said
Oh let’s not talk about work.
I said, great, because I don’t really want to know. Don’t tell me what you do. But I have a feeling I know what you do for work. Because you look like one, dress like one, walk like one, talk like one. And there are plenty of those people in DC. And one of these people’s favorite phrases is, I don’t recall. You said
Oh that’s very good.
I could tell I hit a nerve because from the corner of my eye, I saw that you were smiling and looking down, while starting to pick up pace again.
oh that’s very good.
You muttered to yourself. Then you asked me what I liked to do for fun, I said, I liked listening to music and I like to walk. Then you said
Would you walk with me a little more?
We passed by a rock music club with smoke and sound blasting. The DJ saw us and started pointing at us while lip synching. I pointed back. Then a group of college kids passed us, and they looked at the single strand of gold beads that I was wearing that I had gotten. Oh yeah BEADS!!!!! They shouted at us. They screamed. WOOHOO! Some of them had 10+ beads. I had 1. You looked at me and said
Are you always this charming?
That couldn’t be further from the truth. I knew you were just being playful. I asked you a bunch of questions. You managed to answer none of them while keeping the conversation going. I said, how was your dinner? Fine, you said. I said, what were your dinner partners like, you said, fine. They are fine. In fact, you said nothing about yourself. But we managed to find out your sister and I have the same name. You stopped traffic for us with a low wave of your left hand. You were both forward and awkward. And it went on like that, while I was loving every minute of your surprises. You were the calculator, I was the clown. You indulged me. We walked in the balmy weather. You said
Ah, this is the best part of my day. Actually…my week.
The night was so refreshing. You said, which way should we walk to? I said, how about you walk me back to my hotel. You said, is that in a dangerous area? I said, just look at me, do I look like someone who would walk into a dangerous area? I mean, just look at YOU! Do you look like someone who’s going to walk into a dangerous area, pointing to your starchy white dress shirt, now a little wrinkled by the day’s activity. You laughed. I said: clearly, you are not a detective.
Towards the end of our walk in front of my hotel, you wanted us to meet up again. How many days are you here? Can you stay out a longer? Can we walk some more? Can you stay in New Orleans longer? You asked for my number, but I couldn’t give you my number. We had just met. You could be a criminal or a married man. In fact, I was scared of you. You’re bigger, taller, older and most importantly, more disciplined and experienced. But you wouldn’t give me your number. You said, no, I can’t do that, I want to do this, I want to be the one doing the asking you, the old fashioned way. Can’t a guy ask a girl out?
I wish we had met through friends.
Whatever the reason it is that you won’t tell me who you are or give me your number I will never find out. But since that walk, I’ve looked for you everywhere. I didn’t sleep that night.
Before we said goodbye, I took a long time to look into your eyes, and behind your glasses, I saw your eyes. They are kind and full of smiles. You said
I have a feeling we will meet again.