Sometimes when I'm sitting at home reading it seems necessary to get out of the house, if only to avoid thinking about all the things I should be doing at home besides reading. It seems as though the sun is beckoning me outside to enjoy whatever delights I may find outside my front door. It seems like I spend too much time in my own little world forgetting that there are other people on this planet. So sometimes I go other places to read.
The bookstore was having a buy two get one free sale on classics so I chose a bunch I might be interested in and headed to their coffee shop to narrow my pile down. I was going to enjoy a mocha and read the first chapter or so of each. Then buy my three books and head home satisfied that I fulfilled my internal quota of out of the house time. Then I saw her and forgot about my plans. I almost even forgot about reading.
She was long and lanky, gangly as they say. She was graceful in how ungraceful she was. Her hair was a thick, brown mane that would be almost impossible to do anything with so she didn't even try. She wore big old coke bottle glasses and fashion that almost seemed to go together. She was the kind of woman I find most beautiful.
I noticed her right away. It was hard not to. She was loudly apologizing to a store employee for having spilled her cappuccino. In her embarrassment she was gesturing wildly and would've knocked over four more drinks if they had been on her table. The books she'd been perusing were cradled in her arms like they were babies she had saved from a fire rather than books she'd saved from a spill. The employee pointed out that she had spilled a little on her pants but she seemed unconcerned with that.
They gave her another drink for free, over her protests, and things settled down. I bought my mocha and sat at a table close to hers. I wanted to be close enough to try and catch her eye as I pretended to read but far enough away to avoid any future spills. Come to think of it though, I should have wanted to be right in the line of fire. If a beautiful woman spills coffee on a guy she almost has to give him her number, right?
I sat there and read Kafka and tried to figure out how to approach this woman. Both the book and the situation were impenetrable mysteries. I hope that maybe the place would get crowded so that I would have an excuse to join her at her table but it didn't. I thought about the direct approach but a bookstore isn't exactly a place a woman expects a man to approach her. Besides, who wants to take the chance of getting rejected in public when they're sober?
I watched her read. I love watching people read, seeing the little smiles or the narrowing of their eyes as they react to words on the page. I like the subconscious little ticks people have, how they lick their lips or constantly tuck their hair back behind their ear even though it hasn't moved. It's fascinating to watch someone so absorbed in a book that they've forgotten there is even anyone around to watch them.
She would look up every now and then to take a sip of her drink and, of course, I would look away because beautiful women still somehow have the power to make me feel like a shy little teenager. Before I looked away though, I would let our eyes meet for just a second or so and smile. She never smiled back but she didn't frown either. The look on her face was that of a woman who isn't used to being looked at. It wasn't negative but it wasn't inviting either.
My instincts told me there was something, some signal, I was missing but I have terrible instincts with women so I ignored them. She was beautiful and I wanted to know her but I was at a loss as to how I could accomplish that. I read a little more and thought about her and the situation more than what I was reading. I caught her eyes a few more times and still saw nothing inviting but nothing unwelcoming. I decided my best bet was to wait until she finished her cappuccino and ask if I could buy her another. It was risky, all those people, but it was the best shot I had.
When she finished her coffee, though, she stood up, said alright to herself, gathered her books once more in her arms, and then walked toward the shelves as if to put the books back. I grabbed three of my books at random and headed towards the cash register. My plan was to buy my books and be heading across the parking lot at about the same time she was. It could be a little creepy to approach a woman in a parking lot I guessed but it was daylight and somewhat busy so she shouldn't feel threatened. Besides in the parking lot the audience for my rejection wouldn't be as big.
I kept my eyes on the door as I purchased my books and she hadn't left yet. I thought I had timed things right but she was nowhere in sight as I walked out of the store. I'm a smoker, though, and a smoke is always a good excuse to bide time. So I lit up, basked in the sunshine, and waited for that beautiful woman to walk out of the door. I thought about planning what I was going to say to her but I'm not a lines kind of guy so I decided on just hi.
I was halfway done with my smoke when she walked out, with someone else. She was holding the hand of a woman that was pretty similar to her. I understood now why my instincts had been saying no and they were right for once. When the warm sunshine hit them they paused in the parking lot and kissed. It wasn't the kind of kiss drunk desperate women share in bars to get guys attention. It was just a short brushing of the lips like long time couples will give each other when they want to say I love you without speaking.
They looked at each other and smiled and walked to their car. I smiled as I watched them and then walked to my truck. It was a shame that she was taken but they were reassuring. Some couples you can just look at and know their love is deep and true and they were one of those couples. It's good to know that kind of love is still out there and that someday I might find it again if I ever get the nerve to approach a beautiful woman and if the one I approach isn't gay.