Ass-crack was your first glimpse of me in person. Bent at the waste, I was unfurling my jeans back over my snow boots. Caught looking as you removed your scarf, your smile was shy, but your eyes were decidedly not. “Definitely interested,” I remember thinking, both ways. Eating was on the agenda, given that we’d chosen a cafe for our first meeting. French cafes with their burgundy banquettes and nicoise salads hardly spell “disastrous first date.” Granted, we’d talked on the phone and near memorized each others’ online dating profiles, so we had knowledge on our side. Here in person, though, we were left to determine how much of it seemed real.
I can’t remember if I began with coffee or went straight for the booze, but for sure, I remember that immediate magic. Just like a single-minded single woman, I strung up “this could be it”s before we’d even met. Kissing, I swore, was as far as I’d let things get, no matter how damn magical. Love ain’t about to happen if a man has nothing to chase. My, my, did I have a lot of rules. Never had they actually worked, mind you, but it created a sense of control and containment.
Our drinks had been devoured with the outpouring of our rehearsed stories, the openers we tell, the slightly self-deprecating jokes to prove that we’re open to teasing and not the slightest bit insecure–which of course we are. Polite to the waitstaff, half-stand when I returned from the loo, check paid so it wasn’t even a discussion. Quick as that, it was over, but you assured me that it wasn’t.
“Red, you’re crazy if you think I’m letting this date end.” Snow continued to fall, my arm tucked into your pit for warmth, as we spoke of our love for New York, the oddities and quirks. Timed as if on cue in our play-written life, a delivery man passed with a bouquet of yellow balloons, then together we stared and decided on the nearest open bar, where we drank red and slipped Connect Four chips between us, our fingers lingering. Undoubtedly, I beat your ass, but you still gave the impression that you were the one who was winning that day. Very slick, you were; so slick, in fact, that I accused you of being a con artist. Who the hell has this much in common?
X-men are a fictional team of superheroes with superhuman abilities who fight for peace and equality, led by Professor X, a powerful mutant telepath who can control and read minds. You were my Professor X, minus the whole mutant bit, able to connect so deeply with me, on such an intense, unspoken even, level. Zero doubt that we’d end up together in the end—that is, until the hesitations, half-truths, and smallest of cons became our cracks, and I was left wondering if you’d ever action your way through any of your polished promissory words.
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*** Feel free to try (and share) this writing exercise yourself, creating 26 sentences, each one beginning with a different consecutive letter of the alphabet.***