He walked in The Deli and every woman in the joint looked at him.
He was smooth, polished…virtually glided on a pair of black Florsheims.
He was the kind of man that not only makes me take notice, but one who makes me stare. Dark brown hair…neat but not too neat. He had cool blue eyes, just enough lines on his face to indicate character and a life well lived.
He was by no means thin…certainly not grossly overweight, but a little pudgy. A beefy guy. My kind of guy.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who thought he was attractive. Almost every woman in the deli looked up at him.
One woman stopped in her tracks, her tray of food kept going.
One woman stopped chewing.
Two women’s mouths went agape.
Another woman said “Wow!” under her breath. So did at least three men.
I sat there unable to move; unable eat my fully loaded baked potato. A small clump of buttered spud was situated at a perilous angle on my lip.
I wiped my mouth with my napkin, my eyes never leaving this incredible specimen of man.
I don’t think he knew he was that good looking. He didn’t have that swagger and there was something refreshing about him. Maybe it was a slight case of timidity I was picking up on–I wasn’t sure, but he was deliciously cute and in the time it took for him to first walk in the front door and approach the counter, I already had our five bedroom house decorated and our tenth wedding anniversary party planned.
He walked up to the counter and stood there, hands on hips ,reading the vast menu board. He ordered something…I think a Ruben. The guy behind the counter was unscathed, but the young girl restocking the tea and soft drink island certainly was. She noticed me noticing her. I looked at him, she looked at him–then, we looked at each other. I gave her my patented “he’s mine” look; and she responded with narrowed eyes that all but screamed, “over my dead body”.
And suddenly, two warring factions were born.
He paid for his meal, got a tray and headed over to the beverage island. She got into position. I knew I couldn’t sit back and watch this happen before my very eyes and do nothing.
I stood up with my glass. I needed a by God refill. NOW!!! I needed to intervene. I needed a strategy. Think fast, Kendrick!!! THINK!!!!!!!
Pawn moves two squares forward on its first move and is captured on square.
En passant, Bitch!!!!!
Just as I got up, my dining partner said, “Wait!! You’ve got a chive on your front teeth!”.
Without thinking, I removed it and started walking. I reached the ice machine and refilled my glass. He was filling his with Diet Coke.
I stood beside him. She moved into position with additional clean glasses.
I was one side; she was on the other.
Be devastatingly clever and cute, I thought to myself.
He stood there as my opponent and I edged closer.
I looked at his face. He was cute. Eyes azure; skin tanned. His hands were as big as baseball mitts; fingers like hotdog buns. For a fraction of a second, I wondered if the old wives’ tale was true.
She beat me to an exchange, “Hi, I’m Tabitha!”
“Tabitha”??? Of course she was.
“Here, let me get you a bigger glass!”
Dammit!!!! She’s scoring points with obsequious servitude!!
He responded with a closed mouth smile, the corners of mouth disappearing into two cavernous dimples, so deep that Matt Roloff could spend a day in them……spelunking.
I then tried to play catch up by spewing forth this gem, “Well hey, what do you know! We’ve got something in common. I love Diet Cokes, too!”
Oh great! THAT was neither cute or clever…just devastating. He stared at me, scanning my face as if he were looking for tale-tell signs of Mongoloidism.
I was embarrassed. Usually, I’m far smoother than this. But nothing was working right. I felt cornered and trapped by my own insecurities and ignorance. I didn’t know the guy; I was taking a chance. Perhaps he liked simple approaches; perhaps he didn’t. Whatever his preference was didn’t matter. I didn’t have time to stop and analyze his psyche. I needed something to break the ice.
As my nemesis handed him a glass, I looked at her. She felt my glare and looked at me. That’s when I furrowed my brow and sternly mouthed the words, “I love him!!”
She replied in kind with, “No, I love him”.
Then, he looked at me and said in this most ridiculously high voice, “Yeah, I love Diet Cokes, too”. He thanked her for the glass in what can only described as a supremely spot on Mickey Mouse impersonation and smiled again and that’s when we both saw he was missing one front tooth and part of the other. His smile looked like the serrated edge of a hack saw.
He walked away with his Diet Coke in a much bigger glass and we just stood there–motionless–both of us drained of hope. There went my lovely house and my tenth anniversary party.
Disappointment had two distinctly different faces that afternoon.
We looked at each other for a second ; mouths agape as they were at the beginning of this tome, but now, for different reasons. I shook it off–my extemporaneous exit strategy implemented as I said, “He’s all yours!”
If she said anything, I didn’t hear it. I didn’t stick around. I walked back to my table and as I did, I looked down and noticed the chive was still on my finger.
I did the only sensible thing I could do in that situation….
I put it back.
I’m certainly not wasting a perfectly good chive.
(Republished by special request. Happy Birthday, TKL!!)