I’ve had near-death experiences and contrary to rumors*, life did not flash before my eyes. I’ve never had that flash of an experience before… until last week that is.
Plans for my evening were simple – take a stack of work to my local, have a couple of pops, smoke a cigar, decompress. Half way through a La Aroma de Cuba Corona, and a great basketball game (which necessitated ignoring work) a voice behind me announced my full name (including my middle name which is only known to a handful of people.) The very big voice came from the very petite Michelle.
Michelle and I have known each other since high school – our respective best friends were an item and they constantly tried to push the two of us together. We remained fairly close through college, grad school and ensuing years. One day, having fully grown into our careers, personalities, and bodies we connected romantically. Our maturity couldn’t change our poor timing.
I hugged Michelle with all of the affection reserved for someone who requires no exposition for your stories. I hugged Michelle like a dear friend and former love for whom there is still a deeply rooted emotional connection. I don’t know how long it had been since we last saw each other but we shared a hug that was tight enough to melt the years. She then turned to introduce me to her date, Damian. To his great credit, Damian was not unnerved by our exchange.
After brief introductions but before the ordering of drinks, Michelle turned to Damian and announced “You need some history here!”
In that instance, the entirety of our romantic lives flashed before me:
The shared laugh at the expense of all of the people waiting to enter the shopping mall parking lot for a day of Holiday shopping, while we simply valet parked at the Ritz Carlton,
The explanation of a proper Gimlet – gin, fresh lime juice, simple sugar, and a dash of bitters,
The gentle first kiss in the back of a Town Car between dinner and a night cap,
The torrid kiss in the same back seat between the bar and my place,
The exhortation while I unzipped her dress “I’m only taking this off if I get to wear your shirt,”
The first time on my couch… and the floor, and in the kitchen, and finally the bed until an exhausted entanglement of bodies collapsed into a mass of limbs indistinguishable from the other,
The entirety of the six week long and sensual escape from the reality of her return to a doctoral program 500 miles away.
It all passed through my mind in a seemingly slow motion instant that cumulated with the question of “how much history was Michelle about to explain?”
Michelle turned to Damian and in a stunningly display of understatement said “Refugee and I have known each other forever, we practically grew up together,” then she instructed the bartender about how to make her a proper Gimlet.
* every time I write or hear the phrase “contray to rumors” it is in the voice of Morris Day and The Time singing it from the chorus to the song Gigolos Get Lonely Too. Don’t Judge – we all made some *ahem* questionable musical choices in the 80s.