So a girl walks into a bar with a sudden sense of wonderment. It could have been the crisp fall air or the tall blonde gentleman on her arm, but she knew the evening held infinite possibilities. She ascended into the night wondering if there would be one, just one, who might make her glow. Whatever her uncertainties, she did know the tall drink of water to her right needed to be spilled out.
Here I was, somewhere in Virginia, feeling that something would happen, if only I could ditch my non-registered Republican escort. Enter Jack. I noticed him immediately – an extremely handsome bartender looking extremely bored. I noticed my companion – stumbling over words and attempting to crack a joke. I noticed my need for a refill.
Jack reached over the bar, shook my hand and began talking in a beautiful British accent. And there it was, the spark. I left Jack after a few minutes so I could officially veto the Republican. I scurried across the room like a silly schoolgirl to one of my best friends, Maggie, who took one hard look at Jack and told me not to let this one get away.
Before I could give Jack my number, he had slipped me his. I leaned over the bar to say goodbye for the night, and instead he abandoned his station to escort the ladies and me out for “a proper goodnight.” Jack and I made plans to meet on Monday afternoon, and he fled back to serve the frat boys before last call.
While walking back to Maggie’s I began to think about chance meetings and my premonition of possibility. Was it predetermined that I would meet Jack? Or, had I convinced myself that I would meet someone? Was it mind over matter? Chicken or the egg? If it’s true that you can’t hurry love, was my waiting over? When it comes to life and love, how do you really know when the waiting is up?
On Monday I sat outside Lucky Bar waiting for Jack in a moment of dating self-doubt – would he show? Would he turn out to be another non-registered Republican? The instant he arrived, everything faded away and it was just me and Jack. Our conversation began with our master’s theses, the novel he is writing and my column. From there, we discussed everything from politics to the possibility of love at first sight. Being a New York cynic, I immediately dismissed the concept. Jack said, “Love at first sight happens when a woman gives birth, so why couldn’t it happen when she spots someone in the crowd?” Insert melting heart sound here.
Jack was by far the most intellectual, charming and attractive man I had ever seen up close. It occurred to me while Jack was telling me about his past girlfriends that my previous relationships all shared two significant themes – I jumped in too quickly and they all ended. I could feel the street smart New Yorker creep back into my psyche. I decided there and then that I would not jump in blindly with Jack but simply get my feet wet and decide later if I wanted to swim. I also decided it was time to walk to my five o’clock class.
When I got up from our two-hour “date,” we entered that moment when you look at your feet and think the “should I/ shouldn’t I” question. I asked Jack, ” Is this when you ask yourself if you should kiss the girl?” He smirked. “If it happens, it happens,” he said. I looked into Jack’s stellar eyes, pulled his blue Puma T-shirt toward me and kissed him. It was the kind of kiss that you wish for on fallen eye lashes – the kind of kiss that you wish you could bottle. It was the perfect first kiss. All I knew was if there is something called fate, it will put you in the right spot at the right time, but it is up to you to do the rest.
On my way to class I replayed our few hours together. I had never before had such a wonderful afternoon with a man. All I hope for is the possibility of another, and another, and another … Jack is not only bright and devastatingly handsome but someone who challenges me. Jack stood the test of conversation, but could he master something greater? Writer Michael Barrish once said, “The conversation didn’t get interesting until the end, after we ran out of things to say.” Barrish is right – you can’t tell if you’ve got something special until the smoke clears. When you have settled in, then you’ll know what is real and what is fictitious hoping.
The only way to answer my questions of waiting is simply to wait. If my premonition was correct, that possibility was in the air that night, I have all the time in the world to find out. There is always the possibility of another moment, another time, perhaps another kiss with Jack. When I called home, my mama said it hadn’t mattered if I had wished to meet someone; it was about me being open to possibility. And maybe it has nothing to do with fate and destiny, but me being able to open my heart and my eyes. All I need to remember is to not rush in and take Jack’s words to heart – if it happens, it happens.
Mama was right – you shouldn’t rush in, you can’t second guess, you can only live and see where life takes you. Maybe you can’t hurry love, but in the waiting time, if you are open to possibility, there is always Jack.