“I didn’t know I loved you until I met you.”
“Oh, puh-leeze! What kind of Hallmark flowery Nicholas Sparks bullshit is that, Jules?”
“What? It’s kinda sweet!”
“That’s a song, you know. Gary Glitter. ‘I didn’t know I loved you until I saw you rock n’ roll.'”
My friend Jules and I sit in slightly uncomfortable mass-produced easy chairs in the corner of the coffee shop. She sips from a comically over-sized mug, the steam from the liquid inside fogging up her glasses as she drinks. I pick up my mug of hot chocolate and cautiously dip the very tip-top of my tongue inside the liquid to check the temperature before I take a drink. I half expect the sweet chocolate to shock me with a small jolt of electricity, but it doesn’t. It’s still too hot to drink, so I blow into the mug, watching the fluid ripple into tiny waves. I imagine a minuscule surfer catching one of those waves and I smile. Cowabunga, dude.
“Well, now what am I going to do!” Jules whines. “Writing is hard. I hate it.” She sticks her bottom lip out in a pout and huffs.
“What are you trying to write, anyway? Nothing very good if you’re using lines like that.” Jules tosses a balled-up napkin at me and it bounces off my knee.
“For your information, Beatrice, I’m trying to write Stig a love letter. A very contrived, full of shit love letter.”
“Your first problem is dating a guy named “Stig,” honey. I still can’t believe you let that guy stick his hippie penis into your vagina.”
“Beatrice Elaine Porter! Stig is not a hippie! He’s Swedish! There’s a marginal difference.”
“The only reason you’re dating him is because he looks like Thor, Juliana, and you know it! Oh, Thor! Pound me with your hammer!”
Jules stares at me hard, then busts out into raucous laughter, the sound echoing off the walls. I see a few people pick up their heads from their laptops and iPads and turn to stare at us. I make eye contact with one guy, make the “she’s cuckoo” sign with my index finger pointed at my temple and cross my eyes. Jules sees me do this and slaps my arm down.
“Here’s your love letter, Jules. Ahem. ‘Roses are red, they have thorns that prick, I love your blonde hair, and wanna suck your dick.’ There.”
The two of us are laughing harder now and more people are looking at us, which makes us laugh even harder. Tears are streaming down my face and I get up to excuse myself to use the restroom, as I’m certain I’m going to pee my pants. I get up, still laughing to myself, and head to the bathrooms. I get to the women’s room door and start to go in just as He comes out of the men’s room.
He is the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen. Tall, but not too tall as to be intimidating. Broad shoulders that fill out the t-shirt he’s wearing so well it’s a crime. Light wash denim jeans rolled into a cuff at the bottom, but not in a pretentious hipster way, but in a “these jeans are a bit too long for me and I don’t want to ruin the hem at the bottom, so I rolled my jeans” kind of way. His light brown hair is perfectly coiffed. I’ve never seen such perfect hair on a man before and my compulsion to reach up and touch it, to run my fingers through it is so strong, I have to hold my own hand down with the other to keep me from doing so. And then there’s his eyes. Words cannot describe the color, so I’ll use onomatopoeia to describe his eyes: uuuunnnnggggghhhhh. They are that good, the only proper way to describe them is to make a weird, guttural sound in the back of the throat.
I stop in my tracks and stare. He also stops. We stare at each other for a brief second and he offers me a half-smile that I’m certain just exploded my vagina into a million pieces.
“Hi,” he offers politely.
My eyes widen and I shove the bathroom door in so hard it slams against the inside wall and I practically burst inside, whip around and try to slam the swinging door shut, but it resists my force. Here I am, pushing all my weight against the obstinate door, shoulder digging into it, my arms pressed hard against me, like I’m Sisyphus trying to push the boulder up the hill. Finally the door closes and I stand behind the door as it does, leaning over to catch one last glimpse of him through the last inch gap in the door.
I back up against a stall and mutter, “oh holy shit he was perfect,” under my breath. I can feel my heart beating a thousand miles a minute. I’m so taken aback by this man, I don’t notice there’s a knocking from behind the door I’m pressed against.
“Uh…excuse me? You’re blocking me in,” a slightly amused voice says from inside the stall.
“Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry!” I apologize as I step to the side. I can feel my face burn red.
“It’s okay,” the woman chuckles as she walks to the sink to wash her hands. I go into an empty stall and sit down on the toilet. I fumble for my phone in my pocket and immediately text Jules.
“JULES. I MET THE MAN I’M GOING TO MARRY JUST NOW. TALL DRINK OF WATER WITH CUFFED JEANS. HOLY. SHIT.”
Jules replies a few seconds later, “OH EM GEE. I SEE HIM.” Immediately after that text, this one: “He’s with a woman. She just put her hand on his ass. I’LL CUT HER FOR YOU.”
My heart drops into my feet. Of course he’s with someone. Why wouldn’t such a perfect man be with someone? Thanks for reminding me my life sucks, Life. I feel like crying. I compose myself, wash my hands and splash cold water on my face, and prepare myself to walk back out. I hope he and the bitch he’s with are gone, so I don’t have to face my rejection.
I turn the corner from the restroom and see Jules at our chairs and we make eye contact. She tips her head to the table beside us. Of course The Most Perfect Man Alive and The Horrible Wench are sitting next to us, and better yet, it’s the same woman I barricaded in the bathroom. Of course that gorgeous brunette with huge, pouty lips is his girlfriend. Of course, of course, of course.
I want to turn the opposite direction and leave the coffee shop, but Jules is my ride and all my things are on the floor next to the chair I am sitting at and I pray to whatever god will listen to me to create a giant chasm in the floor and swallow me up whole, but it doesn’t happen and I make my way to the chairs and I sit down and Gorgeous Man sees me and smiles and again, my vagina erupts. Jules witnesses it all and snorts, trying to hold back laughter. I kick her and she lets out a yelp.
“Hey! Ouch, Rice! That hurt!” I cringe that she calls me her pet name for me, “Rice.” The World’s Most Amazing Man and The SheBeast hear Jules’ whimper and look over at us again and I offer a polite smile. I kick Jules again. Incredible Beautiful Man laughs softly, then turns back to Harpy McHarperson.
After a few minutes, Brilliant Charming And Incredible Man and The Town Bicycle get up and prepare to leave. My heart sinks again as I realize I’ll never see him again and the amazing wedding I’ve spent the last five minutes planning in my head will never happen and I want to jump up, grab him by his perfect head and kiss his equally perfect lips and he’ll pick me up in his arms and carry me away to our forever.
Instead, he lets Garbage Can Face get ahead of him and he turns to our table. I stare at Jules. She stares back. He clears his throat and we both look up at him.
“It was nice to meet you, Rice,” he says through two rows of impossibly straight and white teeth. His eyes shine like Santa Claus’s eyes. I swear to you, his eyes literally sparkle like Santa Claus’s eyes. He needs to leave before I completely lose my mind even more than I have already. And he called me by my nickname that I used to hate, but hearing his silky smooth voice utter it made it my most favorite nickname in the history of all nicknames. I make a mental note to legally change my name to Rice and to monogram every single towel I own with it, as well.
I think I reply to him. I want to say I replied with the most witty thing ever said, but in actuality, I made that same gurgling sound in my throat again. You know, the one I used to describe his eyes? Smooth. He smiles again and walks out of my life forever.
I didn’t know I loved you until I met you.