“OH MY GOD!” squealed the tanned, buxom woman with the blondish hair falling haphazardly from its sparkly clip. “Is that really you? OH MY GOD, it is SO GOOD to see you!” With that pronouncement, the woman draped herself around my date, all the while continuing to smile and laugh and coo some more about how long it had been.
I see. Well, now. I’m fine with this, I thought. And I was. Maybe even a little intrigued.
I think my date was more surprised than anything.
As my date returned her hug, the woman glanced over his shoulder and seemed to see me for the first time. “Oh, hey, we’re just friends,” she giggled, “And I haven’t seen him in SO LONG!” She laughed and cupped her hands around my date’s face to snuggle closer to him. “It is just SO GOOD to see you,” she gushed one more time.
Okay. We get it. SO GOOD.
The three of us awkwardly stood together at the bar, her two male friends wondering who my date was, my date wondering about and yet sort of flattered by the woman’s attention, and me half smiling at how this not-quite awkward situation that had suspended time for a split second could go absolutely anywhere.
“Oh honey, he is so special,” smiled the woman as she disengaged her arms from around my date’s neck and turned toward me. “And so hot, yes?” Well, um, sure. “But go on, now,” she urged us both. “Have a seat and grab a drink.” I swear she winked at me.
I don’t know why, but I knew at that moment that there had been zero romantic history between this woman and my date. Never mind her over-the-top energy. Never mind how she practically purred as she looked at him. Never mind any of it at all. Because my date pulled my bar stool close to him and lightly touched my back. The woman saw this subtle gesture and smiled at me, nodding at my date as she sipped her wine before saying, “He is really something, you know.”
The oblivious bartender began to tell one awful joke after another, the woman’s male friends talked about a mutual friend whose wife had kicked him out of the house “again,” and how they better take him to dinner as soon as he was sober enough. The woman laughed, saying not to worry, they’d go as soon as the guy woke up in her car. She smiled again at me, and laughed when we both put on crazy-colored reading glasses to look at the wine list.
“It’s like we’re twins!” she said, tapping the bridge of her multi-colored frames. Well, not quite. But her glasses were pretty cool.
She continued on about her two bikes, and how one was in the shop and how she was almost hit riding the other, and it dawned on me part-way through this story that these were BIKES, as in Harleys, one of which she rode through town on Christmas Day dressed up as Mrs. Claus. The other patrons nodded and smiled as they remembered her on that day in that get up.
She then talked about her new job and how much better it was and how “you gotta do what makes you happy in your work because life is short. I mean, I know that now at my age.” I think I told her I agreed. Because I do. I smiled, too, because I was beginning to feel oddly drawn toward her–her nonstop smile that deepened her laugh lines on her “undone” face–rare to see here in SoFla. I liked her ready laugh that softened her edgy I-don’t-give-a-shit-what-anyone-thinks demeanor.
“It’s like my son, he’s a musician, you know,” she continued. “And I always told him, you follow your heart and do for work whatever your passion is, never mind the money. Now he’s getting pretty successful. Plays the horn. He’s really good at it. Money for his passion, you know? But he’s really a great musician.” Okay, cool. Very cool.
I asked if he lived here, now curious. She emanated much love as this boy’s mom, and she clearly adored him as much as she was so proud of him.
“Oh no, he’s out west now. Doing really well. Used to be the opener, now he’s the number two band.” And when she told me the name of his band, I was somewhat stunned. I had actually heard of it. And I hear of and remember the names of very few bands.
Don’t misunderstand, I love my music collection, and I have hundreds and hundreds of songs stored on my computer. I often troll iTunes and download songs by artists I’ve never heard of simply because I like the music. It is certainly a hodgepodge collection of songs, but I love them all even if I have no idea who’s singing or what group is which.
But I absolutely knew her son’s group. The band’s music is not really my taste, but they have one semi-acoustic/reggae tune on a bizarre CD that I liked the instant I heard it one evening when I was layers deep in the “listeners also bought” iTunes realm. I remembered the name of this particular group because I had emailed my daughter and asked her if she had heard of them. Now I was talking to the mom of the band’s horn player.
Wow. What are the odds? I wondered. So strange. “We ran into each other for a reason, ” the woman said to me. “I mean, that you would have heard of my son’s group….” And now her energy had ebbed somewhat.
She sipped her wine. I smiled at my date, kind of shrugging. So random, I murmured to him.
“Here,” said the woman, pressing a business card into my hand that turned out to be her son’s, as she told me to email him. “But that’s his cell number on there; I wouldn’t call that.” No, no. No worries about that, I reassured her. And I thanked her for the business card.
She knocked back the last sip of wine in her glass and linked her arm through that of one of her male friends. “Come on, let’s go get him,” she said, referring to the poor guy who’d been kicked out of the house by his wife. “He’s gotta be awake by now!”
She turned and looked again at me, then at my date. “He’s a great guy,” she said once more. “You email my son, okay? And call me. We should go hang out some night.”
Sure, on both counts.
At which moment she unlinked her arm from her friend’s and scampered back to my date. “Bosom back rub,” she laughed, as she wrapped her arms around his waist and rubbed her ample breasts against his back. And there we were.
She laughed and nodded at me. “Hot,” she whispered. Uh huh.
“My mom is the person to know for where you live. She knows everybody to know it seems,” wrote her son in response to my email the next day. And he had advice for RG Daughter’s talented guitarist boyfriend, whom I had also mentioned in my email to him. “Tell your daughter to tell her man that the ONLY way to Carnegie Hall is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!”
Go out when asked, meet new people, find the common ground with all of them–no matter how vast the differences between all of you.
Practice, practice, practice.
Take a risk, date a boy, like an older woman who likes him. Test your broken wings.
Practice, practice, practice.