the first thought as he approached me--oh, yes, that man. that he sat on the stool to my right, i on the left, my purse hanging between my knees. what i wore, what he wore--plum pants and the scarf my mother gave me after wearing it for too many days in a row; a black button down and thin rain jacket, his pants rolled just at the cuff. what i had to drink, what he had--some sort of white wine and heaven, help me, i haven't a clue.
i wanted to remember how he drank me in, his eyes moving so slowly, so unapologetic in their journey. how we both sat facing forward--facing the bar, just close enough to let our shoulders gently brush, one against the other. the first moment he tucked my hair behind my ear. and then when he did it again. the moment he took my hand in his or that split second eruption incited by his palm on the inside of my thigh.
i wanted to remember what we talked about--where we'd traveled, where we most wanted to go. India--i'm pretty sure he wanted to visit India. and how in that moment, i believed if he opened his hand he might reveal the whole of the country to me--how India sat on and then wetted my lips. how we spoke of what brought him here, what brought me here, and all the years between our arrivals. the gentle roll of his tongue as he spoke, the sublime cadence to his english--belying another life, another language, another world. how he lit up like a boy when discussing his brother's soon-to-be visit--how they would bike everywhere. that first moment i watched as he disappeared behind his eyes to some place i wasn't allowed to follow. and then when it happened again.
i wanted to remember the color of the night and the sense that we were standing on something more akin to the backdrop of a film than a busy brooklyn neighborhood. the moment he first turned and kissed me. and how easy it was. easier than anything. water. how perfectly natural--deliciously natural it felt. how as he kissed me his hands ever so gently rung round my face--pressing hair out of eyes and tracing the curve of the bone. how i laughed, telling him, it mostly didn't ever come easy the first time. how i felt as though we were both teenagers, making out street-coner after street-corner on our way to the subway. a parade of soft first kisses trailing behind us. the sort of little breadcrumbs that i sure as hell hope Gretel grew up to enjoy.
even as it was happening i knew it was the first date that all others would be measured against. that a sort of line had been drawn in the sand: all before this, and all to come. and that, much as didn't want there to be, there would be other first dates, with other men. that the whole night was already pregnant with a sort of loss. that probably we'd see each other once or twice more, that if we were lucky or brave or both a bit more daring than our natures suggested we might make a solid run of it, a good attempt. but that sometimes, much as you hope it might, an easy first kiss, and nearly perfect first night does not mean there will be life beyond those things. sometimes it just is. that moment. that one, spectacular evening in which you learn ever so much more about love and yourself and what lies on the other side of that line.