To recap, I’ve just touched one of the immaculate curls of the Hera-esque redhead that I’m making awkward, jolting, fantastic conversation with, and I’m sucking down air like a fish tossed on the dock. I’ll blame my forwardness on the booze, but that Hurricane haze faded the instant this woman looked me in the eye, and now I have no liquid comfort to fall back on. Realizing that this isn’t some college party where everyone is drunk and gets friendly, realizing that I’ve touched this woman without permission, in public, after trying to compare her to failing foreign policies, I am starting to hyper-ventilate.
“Sorry”, I manage to squeak out at her between breaths; then I turn to the bar and bury my face in the drink in front of me. Actually, being buried alive right now wouldn’t be all that bad.
“Don’t be,” she giggles…and then giggles again, which is followed by a full-blown snort. I pull my eyes from the drink just enough to see her doubled-over with laughter, bracing herself with one hand on the bar as her face turns as red as her hair. She’s really going for broke, her laughter filling the bar, as the mysterious roofie-producing (probably, I’m not sure) bartender looks our way, and backs up slowly.
I am so confused. So, I just keep drinking, though a smirk is coming to my lips. Her laughter is almost as infectious as her looks.
After a minute, she manages to regain her composure, sitting up straight on her barstool, though her lips are clamped shut and her torso is still vibrating with subdued giggles.
I can’t handle it anymore, so I ask her. “What was that?” She looks at my drink, lets one giggle escape from those pouty perfection lips, and then looks me dead in the eye, which just kills me.
“Who’s drink is that?” she asks. I can see the laughter ready to burst from her again, and my confusion is turning to annoyance.
“It’s mine dri…oh my fuck,” I say, as I realize that this is a rum and coke, I finished my PRIDE Hurricane back at my table, this is the bar, I didn’t order at the bar, I just drank what was in front of me, at the bar, not at the table, I never order rum and coke so why would I drink this one, I don’t know who’s drink this is, but I drank it, was this person clean, will I get a disease, is this funny, this is funny, I can make this work, ok Neil let’s make this work.
And she just laughs uncontrollably, a full-bodied laughter that makes her collapse on the bar, her forehead resting on the dark wood as tears stream out of her eyes and make little puddles. I want to drink those puddles. Hell, I want to drink her.
I let her laugh a little while longer, and as she is regaining her composure for the second time, I say “I meant to do that.”
Bam, her head hits the bar again as her laughter rolls over me in waves, filling me up and emptying me of my nerves, of my loneliness, of my obsession with looking mysterious, and I start to chuckle along with her.
Once her head is back up and she’s uselessly resituating her still-perfect curls, oblivious to the mascara that has run down her face and looks like macabre clown eyeliner, I introduce myself.
“I’m Neil, and I’m and alcoholic.” I offer her my hand, and she plays along, shaking it firmly.
“I’m Katie, and I’m embarrassed,” she says.
“You’re embarrassed? I’m the one who probably just procured like ten communicable diseases from this,” I say as I swirl the offending stranger-drink, and though she giggles, there’s a slight wince too. I make a mental reminder not to talk about diseases with someone that I want to suck my lips (and penis), and I chug forward.
“You do got a little sum-sum right…here,” I say, as I slowly, gently take her face in my hands and wipe my thumbs at the scary clown lines of mascara. I’m cupping my hands right under her jawline, my fingers just barely running into the baby hairs on the back of her neck, and it takes everything in me not to just close the tiny gap between our lips and see what she tastes like. Her skin is silk, she smells like cinnamon and strawberries, and her eyes are ethereal pools of the clearest blue I’ve ever had the privilege to lose myself in.
The first time I touched her I was unsure, and I flew into shock. This time I’m confident, in control, and this is prolonged contact. She’s not pulling away or wincing, so I figure I haven’t overstepped my bounds. All in all, this is greatest moment of my life.
“Thanks,” Katie says after I’ve finished, and as I drop my hands, she puts her hand behind her head, gives me her best model face, and in the deepest voice she can muster asks me, “How I do look, baby?”
It’s clunky, sort of funny, sort of awkward…and I could not love it more.
“You look perfect.” And she does. “Wanna go for a walk? I think we’re both a little too embarrassing to be seen in this place any longer.”
Katie pauses, and I might have taken my confidence a little too far. Sure, this was fun and games, but under the lights of Times Square, I’m still a troll and she’s still a Grecian Goddess.
I imagine her thoughts go something like this; ‘Ok he was funny, but he doesn’t look anything like Hugh Jackman. And really, what kind of boy drinks a random drink. An idiot that’s who. So hell no, I’m going to stay here and pick up Robert Pattinson and then I’m going to fuck his brains out like the sex goddess I am. Then I won’t take his call after that, because there are so many Twilight cast members that I’m good looking enough to be with, including the women because I’m open to bisexuality.’ I’m sure those are her thoughts.
But yet again, Katie surprises me, and I’m a self-made fool.
“Yea, lets get out of here. I think I can see the bartender pulling out his roofies,” she says with mock terror. I’m dumbfounded, my jaw has splinters from falling open to the wooden floor, and I’ve totally sold Katie short in every way possible.
“Oh, come on,” she whispers.
Katie closes my mouth with one soft, elegant, purple nail-polished finger, feather kisses me on my lips, and guides me out into the lights of Times Square. I haven’t paid my bill, said bye to my friends (hopefully they’ll cover it), or regained the feeling in my legs since they turned to banana mush. But Katie doesn’t care, so neither do I, and soon we find our rhythm in the tourist-laden crowd as she buries herself in my side, our fingers intertwined, our legs in step, and we bask in the glow of the Broadway marquis, McDonald’s advertisements, and the enormous harvest moon.
We walk, we talk, and I alternately ride between tension and freedom; captivated by the quirkiness, honesty, and beauty that is Katie, and capsized by my lack of height, charm, and ability to satisfy. But Katie doesn’t seem to care about any of my fears or insecurities, and to me, that is perfect. I am with a perfect woman, and this is New York, so the possibilities are endless, right?
I wonder what she’s like in bed.