the woman in the white dress

The dark-painted nails look even moreso against the white dress. Lace. Low-cut. Short.

Even at a wedding rehearsal dinner, with every woman wearing their second finest of all fineries, she stands out. It’s quite impossible for him to imagine a room where she wouldn’t.

She’s the friend of someone’s friend or sister. He now wishes he had listened to the faceless description last week.
He’s trying not to stare.

She stops to play with a two year old boy in a three piece suit. She laughs and swings the little dude around and around.

He can’t take it any longer, and walks over to her, meeting the little boy strutting unsteadily across the room.

“Hi,” he offers her, after much internal dialogue on what to say.

“Hello.”

“Now FYI it wouldn’t be entiiiirely correct to say that I have no game… but you might anyway. So I’ve watched a number of people hit on you already this evening. A couple groomsmen. Bridesmaid. Ironically-named best man. Even the bride’s grandfather –”

“He called me a ‘skirt’ and asked me over to his apartment to watch College Jeopardy.”

“Damn… If I knew that was what I was competing against…”

“It’s a tough world out here.”

“Indeed. How’re you enjoying this celebration of love and excess so far?” he asks.

“Well I’ve learned that the ‘no white dresses at weddings’ thing extends to the rehearsal dinner.”

“Oh my goodness. EVERYBODY knows that.”

“Did you?”

“Oh no. Not at all.”

“You ever wonder if you’re going to be single forever?”

“Nope.”

“Never?” she asks.

“Naw.”

“I mean, you’re considerably older than I am –”

“I’m not sure I’d say ‘considerably’ older –”

“– and you’re not at all worried about ending up alone?”

“– I’m ageless. Timeless, even.”

“Why aren’t you worried? Is it a male thing?”

“I don’t think so. I know a lot of guys who are lonely or who just need to be with someone. Anyone.”

“So what is it?”

“It’s just that I know what I bring to the party.”

“Meaning?”

“Imagine all the single women you know. Don’t you think at least a couple of them would like a man who listens? Like, really listens. Listens and gives well thought out replies when required, or hugs when that is what is needed? Someone who will get along well with their family? Or take the place of their family, if their family kinda sucks? Someone who will warm up their car in the morning and scrape the ice off their windshield? Someone who will stick post-it love notes in their pockets? Someone who will communicate his feelings? Someone who will do what they ask just because they asked? Someone who is great with kids? Someone who apologizes? Someone who puts the needs of others first? Someone who just does kind and thoughtful things randomly because he thinks that makes the world a better place?”

“Okay…”

“Sorry. I get a little blurty when I’m–”

“No. It’s good. I like it.”

“Cool.”

“So tell me, when you left home tonight, what was your dream outcome for tonight?” she asks.

“Survival.”

“And now?”

“Honestly? I’d like to go someplace with you. I’m not entirely sure where yet. But I’d like for us to live on the edge of the night, where there is nothing but possibilities. Where the later it gets, the more magical and dream-like it feels. I want us to hug and discover that our bodies vibrate in such a way that whenever we touch we can legitimately feel the electricity. I want to carry your heels for you, while you walk a little bit ahead, fully and playfully embracing your surroundings, like everyplace we go it’s the first time you’ve ever seen anything like it. I want for us to dance alone to music that isn’t there, but we somehow both hear. I want natural laughter. I want to find out your middle name. I want us to sing along with a busker playing Dire Straits’ ‘Romeo and Juliet’ which, despite the subject matter and title, makes me feel optimistic about love. I want you to put your number in my phone. I want time to fly, yet have every detail become permanently etched in my memory. I want us to grab slices of pizza and messily eat them, as you feed pieces of pepperoni to a dog that appears out of nowhere. And I just want us to make out like one of us is shipping off to the front lines in the morning.”

“Wow…”

“I mean I want you and I to make out, not me and the pizza-loving dog. Unless he has especially kind eyes.”

She takes his hand.

He squeezes just tightly enough.

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