After waking my computer up a short while ago (if I have to be roused by insomnia at 3 in the morning, my computer must as well), I was greeted with a large, bright reminder: today is December 2. And with my borderline autist skill of birthday recall, I was reminded of an older woman who once took a fancy to me. Her birthday, as I recall, was December 2.
Now, honestly, I’m not the kind of guy, never have been, who women generally take a fancy to…my personality and physique seem to curtly disqualify me from much of the playful flirtations that sustain the social world’s vibrancy (something I’m definitely self-excluded from as well).
Nevertheless, she was about 44, I was about 27, and I was working my first, and only, bartender job at a French Basque restaurant near Los Angeles. She was an attractive woman; a bit goofy and socially alienated as well. She was married to a wealthy guy and she had no kids. She was blond and very slender and was unable to shake off that youthful sense of rebellion and unmannered insurgency which followed her into middle age. Hence, her fascination with this younger, Mexican bartender working in a restaurant bar in which the average age of the patrons was well over 50. She bought me a large bottle of Jack Daniels for my birthday in 1992. See, it wasn’t only the age difference that separated us. She was a different generation, a product of the disco 70’s and she hobnobbed in a different social circle which included mostly White, self-employed, conservative but hard-drinking business people. I was a minority, I was liberal as shit (we all go through that), and there was absolutely no sense of “high society” pretentiousness about me.
We flirted all the time and spun endless plans to go out, hook up. We indulged in protracted innuendo, repeated tirelessly, this naughty motif helping us pass the daytime shift. We traded numbers and fantasized about sneaking away together.
But nothing ever happened.
I lacked confidence. I was not self-assured. I was horribly out of my element and had no courage to control the situation. I let that one slip by. She was ready; she signaled and signaled and I laughed and signaled back and the sexual tension was real, but alas, she expected, desired, that I make the move. “Take charge.” But I was not a take charge kinda guy in 1992. She did everything to make it happen but I never bit. I left the job after one year and re-entered the corporate office world and never looked back at tending bar again.
I was reminded of her when I saw the date on my desktop half an hour ago. A random memory which sneaks up on you, pilfers your early morning solitude here in the pre-dawn darkness. She is probably nearing her 70th year now.
I wonder what she looks like. Hell, I wonder if she’s alive. Drinking and smoking were a common union in 1992 bars. Plus, life happens; tragedy pummels our recollections, our memories, our past. She could be dead. I could be dead.
I wonder if she ever thinks of me in the middle of these cold nights?
Damnit. I can’t even remember her full name!