30 July 2012

Make it Count

Among the many other people yet to show, Clara Tribeck was one. She had said she would be at the party by nine at the latest. She was not always one to keep her word, but hopefulness had led one particular heart to conclude she would be there early if anything. For months now, he had been noticing her. She was the type of person that he could not just get over. She was a personality that grabbed his attention from across a room, in a reflection off a window, or through a thin office wall that could not contain her laughter. She was the type of person that drew him in faster and faster the more he learned of her. She was richly complex and intricate, yet perfectly honest and tangible. She was not so perfect that she was out of reach, but she was neither a simple everyday run-of-the-mill type of girl. She was predictably spontaneous and lively, wide smiles and lively eyes that scanned with cunning cheerfulness an entire room.
She was perfect except for the single reason that she seemed uninterested in him. It was not that they had never talked, it was that she seemed distant and refrained from him while with others her typical warmth surfaced. Like any man interested in a women, each time he saw her his heart reminded him that he needed to know more about her. One several occasions he had tried to start conversations that apparently never happened without some effort, and none of them ever got beyond awkwardly forced discussion of meteorological discrepancies for the season that ended abruptly and thankfully when interrupted by another colleague.
Hundreds of thoughts churned in his mental stomach, but he could never digest. It was so tempting to give up, but she was simply too much not to think about. So, standing to the side of the room thinking the same thoughts over and over but always arriving at the beginning of the process, he waited.
A glance at his watch revealed that she was indeed absent when the time for her to be present had arrived. An uneasy anxious disappointment grew. Suddenly, the voice, her voice, and saying his name! She was there and she was speaking to him.
*              *              *
Turning around quickly but not too quickly she was standing there stunning.
“Are you looking for someone?” she asked coolly.
“Well, not anymore” came the words perfectly and unexpectedly. I let my eyes rest on hers gently. After a moment’s pause, I again added, “Not anymore…”
She had already had a first and several other impressions of me, all of them very similar and awkward. But, in reality this was the first time we had met. I had finally given up on the idea of making the perfect impression and was milling to make my impression.
A few seconds moved out of the way as her eyes reevaluated me in the new light. Still not sure that she had read what I was implying she decided to play it safe. “Is there something that I missed at work today? Is there something that you want to ask me?” she said moving the words along with a tone and pace that allowed room to be read into them.
I had an opportunity to abandon my honesty once more and pretend. But, I wanted to be bold. There are many times in life where being bold is right. This was a time where being bold was the only way to know the answer to the question we all ask: “what if”.
“No, nothing about work. I was waiting for you. I’ve been hoping to talk to you, actually since the first time I saw you.”
Her expression changed from the casual one of uncertainty to one of “go on,” so I did.
“I’ve been trying to meet you, but every time I seem to get in the way. Can you pretend like you have never met me before?”
She was not entirely caught off-guard by my attention, after all she was beautiful and more, and this was not the first time that someone had been interested in her.
Pausing briefly and then answering my question while grinning she said, “I don’t believe we’ve met before, I’m Clara.”
Finally, the smile I’d been hoping for.
“No, I don’t believe we have,” then I added, “I’m sure I would have remembered. I am Chris.”
“It’s nice to finally meet you. I think you’re the Chris that I’ve heard so much about”
“Do you dance?”
“I’d love to.”
“I wasn’t asking if you want to. I was asking if you can.”
“Oh, well, yes I can then, in that case. Too bad no one is around to dance with”
“I can’t dance well, but I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than dance poorly with you”
So we danced, danced for an hour in silence. Perhaps I didn’t dance well, but our eyes were so caught up in each other’s that I doubt either of us would have noticed if had we been standing there, and maybe we were.
They called the final dance. Taking her hands once more step by step we moved together. There was something her eyes were saying something that I don’t think she herself knew they were saying, and my eyes must have been saying it too. As the song played its final few measures we found ourselves in a kiss, and then another small kiss, a smile, and then a look of surprise.
Surprisingly often, the things we need the most are the things that scare us the most, hurt us the most, heal us the most. Not every tear is one of joy, but not every tear is one of sorrow either. Life made as we make it, so make it count.


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