It was a long time ago, another life really.
We sat in a restaurant of starched white table cloths and talked. Long after our plates were removed and we were coaxing the last drops of champagne from the night, we talked. And talked. The other diners left. The waiters hovered at a safe distance, at first complicit in our encounter, then realizing this would not end of its own accord, standing closer, intervening more often.
Finally the unctuous maître d’ kicked us out, egged on by the waiters who hovered at the edges, their hands yearning to loosen their bow ties.
The maitre d’ was miffed that we had called his bluff: now he was forced to show the limits of the studied graciousness and endless servility that he had cultivated all night long. He locked the door behind us with a clunk of the lock, glad to see us gone.
We were oblivious. We left the restaurant still talking and walked across the empty city until her feet in heels could take no more. Reluctantly, we parted: she to a taxi, me to further pavement strolling. I needed to walk her presence out of my blood if I were to go home.
We parted – but not for long.
That was a defining moment in my life. She was admittedly drop-dead gorgeous but what made me fall in love was her ability to embrace the beauty and the darkness of life in a single gulp and free me from my cell. She would confess things to me and I would confess things to her and it would not upset the exquisite balance of life around us. I could be broken and unfinished in all sorts of places and still bright and shining and complete in her eyes.
She taught me that life is mottled and fissured and rarely ends well. I showed her that it was still a thing of beauty to be revered and celebrated.
And so it goes, even today. Honesty still turns me on.