I went on an arranged date with a man who would have been perfect for me as we had the same view points in life and love, and we were both singers, and we had the same frustrations in our life and in our future. But sometimes, even that isn't enough for something to blossom.
P.S. For those who are wondering, the next chapter of Emerald Eyes will be up shortly! I have been busy but I promise it's on its way!
I sit underneath the night sky here with you, watching your eyes glow like fire in front of the flames cracking in front of us. I'm meeting you for the first time tonight. I listen as you spill your secrets, black and blue, true to you. Some words you stole out of my mouth, and some contradictory to my own beliefs. The people that hurt you, the people that hurt me. You show me you, I show you me. But not the real me. I don't quite know how, just yet. And there's distance between us that we both thought would close the moment we were alone. Now the uncertainty hangs in the air, but I listen on as your stories unfold, of the things that have dented and scratched you to the bone, but that the sureness in your voice being a true indicator of your own resilience. It had begun to dawn on me just how handsome you were now that I was face to face with you.
As we look into the dark abyss that is the shore, you tell me of that one time you went surfing here and came across a team of sharks that circled near the waters in which you were riding. You had swam away so quick you almost had a heart attack. And then I found it odd to picture such a fearless man afraid of sharks, afraid of anything. Your deep belly laughs would tell me that you had ridden life's waves as well, and if you weren't on top, you would be crashing into the water. At 23, you say you are working on your independent job. Then your reason for quitting your professional job that gave you so much money touched me.
"I'd rather be broke and happy than have all the money in the world, but not live a day of my life."
It's the first time I've heard someone say something like that and mean it. For a second, a wave of sadness washes over me because this is just too good to be true. You are too good to be true. I look at you as your elbow supports your weight as you lay on the blanket and I wish I were one of those impulsive girls who took what they wanted and ran with it. Maybe then I wouldn't have to ask myself questions as to what I was supposed to do.
Should I come closer? Do I touch you? Lay beside you? Or was the intensity we had anticipated just a figment of our imagination? One could have thought, that you and I were one soul split into two bodies, sharing the same talent that was bestowed to us to use in the world. But then I watch you trace imprints in the sand, your face molding into a look of confusion as you tell me that marriage and children were not written in your cards. Being with one person for the rest of your life was unfathomable. We laugh at the stories that once brought us pain, and I start to see it, I start to realize it. We've both been vulnerable. And I wish that someway, somehow, it could have unified us, but instead left us even more broken, confused, with the rude awakening that this night wasn't as magical as we had planned. I wanted to pull you closer, I wanted you to pull me closer, because I might have held you and ran my fingers through your hair just as you had described that you liked. But I sat there, pulling my jacket tighter around me as if to hide any insecurities while you stayed unscathed in a thin cotton v-neck. It was as if we were waiting for a train that would never come.
You let the fire die and tell me it was time to go. I fold your blanket neatly. You brought sweets for us to have, only for it to be left untouched as our night had gone down a different path. You tell me to take it as you weren't going to eat it and nobody else would have it.
I met you for the first time tonight.
You were the kind of man that hid from the world, satisfied with solitary things that money nor people could ever give you. You were everything I had ever dreamed of. And as I stand here in front of you, I want to kiss you, for a voice in my head whispered, no, this could be saved. And what if there were fireworks to be felt? But again, as if waiting for something that would never come, I couldn't bring myself to stand on my toes and taste the mystery in your mouth, the scent of mint, vanilla, tobacco, and sawdust lingering in your musk. I wonder if you want to do the same, as I watch your gaze, your eyes dark underneath the moonlight. And when we finally part ways, no kisses and no promises of a second meeting were arranged. That was that, and we both knew it. Just a lingering hug that I wished contained substance.
I met you for the first time tonight.
The dog you raised wagged its tail from your back seat as you opened it, so I could meet him. I felt like I was in a movie, with the man that was never going to be the proper, clean cut gentleman that women swooned after, but the kind that would have left you breathless with mystery and wonder. The kind that made you want to live. And maybe we had built it up more than we could have comprehended it. Had I released my bold opinions and cut in with each disagreement, would that have left you amused with an impression that there was more to my cynical disposition? Did our similarities merely blend in one accord that we could not find what would have made us want to know more about each other?
Someone once told me that timing was everything.
They said it could either make a relationship or break it. And as I drove off, knowing clearly well that the arranged night could have gone down in different ways, I couldn't help but know deep inside that you and I were perfect for each other, had we met at another place, at another time, in a different way.
Perhaps I could have been the only one hovering over the oldies section at a record store, a Bill Withers record in one hand, Marvin Gaye in the other. My family and friends would have kept telling me to get my life together, that music was unreachable in such a cutthroat industry. And I would spend my days there, lost in a world that I knew best. Perhaps I would look up in shock that someone had been standing next to me, rifling through the same genre as I was.
"I'd say you should take them both." You would say to me, the cap on your head backwards as gold curls would peak out from underneath. "I thought I was the only one interested in this stuff."
And we would meet there in that same corner everyday at 5 pm, right after you got off work at your Grandfather's construction company, that one you started when you were just 12. We would talk for hours and you would tell me that you didn't know what you wanted out of life yet, and we would have found solace in each other's indecisive plans about our future.
Perhaps you and I would have found ourselves at an audition in a large hall in the city, me nerve wracked at my ability to forget my lyrics as I struggled to breathe, you all the way at the end of the hallway strumming away on your guitar as you have practiced your set millions of times. I would have gone after you, my jaw dropping at the sound coming from the other room as I had never heard a man sing so beautifully and with so much passion and emotion. I would have tanked the audition because at the time, I wouldn't have been musically developed yet. I would get startled as you'd push the double doors open, a sweet smile of success on your face.
"Hey, good luck to you." You'd nod as you give me a pat on the back. And when I walk out with a frown on my face, you ask what happened, for the voice you heard down the hall escaping my lips made the hair on your body stand up. And at 19, you would have told me that there were many more opportunities to come. I congratulate you and that would have been the beginning of our musical duo as we performed together at restaurants and bars, and eventually in each state all over the country.
Perhaps you could have been running up the stairs at a subway station, your guitar slung over your shoulder as you had heard that your dog went missing as he escaped from your apartment complex again, and you curse yourself for ever letting someone else watch Cash. I would have been running late to my Philosophy class, my bangs flapping with each careless stride I took down the stairs as it would have been my 3rd time being tardy that week. I would try to push my overgrown hair out of my eyes, unaware that there was a person in my way, bumping into you completely as it sends my books flying in the air, your guitar case opening with your picks scattering all over the steps. You would have acted out in your already frustrated state, telling me to watch where I am going. But unaware of your situation, I would have snapped back at you and claimed that you could have equally seen me coming down. Not wanting to be rude, I'd help you pick up the lyrics you have written on pieces of paper and gather all the guitar picks I could pluck with my fingers. You would hand me my books while you run your mouth, your words firm but gentle as you see the tears flooding in my eyes from the stress of taking care of my Mother every morning due to the cancer. Mr. Harvey, my professor, was not one to be empathetic with his student's excuses. You would hesitate a little before leaving, our eyes locking for a good 10 seconds. I'd brush the hair out of my face to get a better look of your eyes, deciding whether they were green or light brown. You would excuse yourself and hurry up the steps and I would do the same, only to stop on the last step, a red guitar pick that you had missed catching my eye. I would pick it up, placing it in my back pocket as I scramble to catch the train.
It would be my best friend Wynona's 21st birthday and we would all be huddled at a table, empty shot glasses and crumpled lime wedges covering the table. We all laugh about that one time in Vegas when I wasted 70 dollars on a cab that would take me just across the street from where I was staying because for the first time in my sexually deprived life, I would be hooking up with someone at Planet Hollywood only to be stood up. They would have announced that there was a new, young performer who had just moved to Seaside after traveling to different places for a few years and I wouldn't be paying attention because I would already be buzzed like a wimp from one little fruity mixed drink. I would have been there to try to forget that stupid boy I dated briefly who had stopped talking to me out of nowhere for some other girl one city away. And you would be there singing songs about that waitress you dated for three years that cheated on you and dumped you for someone else, or maybe it would be about that single mom you dated for a few months? Either way, I would look up to see that it was the same man I bumped into at the subway and instead of yelling out and drunkenly pointing at you, I sit there, transfixed like everyone else at the voice coming out of your mouth as if our hearts were breaking along with yours in every word you sang. By the end of the show, I would pull out your red guitar pick from my pocket and come up to you to tell you that you had forgotten it at the subway station that day. And you would recognize me as the clumsy, teary eyed girl who wasn't watching where she was going and you'd learn that I had dropped the class that same day and you would tell me the story of you circling the whole block to find your dog. You would have a few stitches on your forehead and a bruise on the side of your mouth from doing MMA fighting and I would ask you where they came from. And at that moment, I would have felt as if I could have taken care of you for the rest of my life. We would talk for hours before telling my friends, I'll be okay going home alone and we would leave together after you got $400 just to perform at a dingy little bar off Lighthouse Ave. Your motorcycle would be waiting at the parking lot and you would have swept me off my feet, the rest being history.
Perhaps you and I continued on with college like our families would have wanted us to. I would be struggling to go to sleep in my dorm, already stressed out about my midterm the next day at 8 AM. You would have been playing your guitar just outside our building on the steps as you were trying to learn a piece for a song you were going to perform for a record label the next day. Your voice would be strong and loud and I would have had about enough of you. Throwing my windows open aggressively, I would have yelled at you at the top of my lungs.
"IT'S 1 IN THE FUCKING MORNING, SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!!" I would have yelled, dark bags underneath my eyes. "I DON'T CARE IF YOU SOUND LIKE THE LOVE CHILD OF STEVIE WONDER AND KURT MOTHERFUCKING COBAIN, PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO SLEEP!!!!"
And you with your no bullshit attitude would have kept playing even louder with no intentions to appease me. We would probably run into each other a few times on campus after that, as we would have had the same music teacher, except when class was ending for you, it was just beginning for me. And everyday, we would pass by each other in the doorway, and I would try to avoid you because I didn't want you to notice that I was the girl who yelled at you. Then you being you, would throw rocks outside my window one night just to tell me that I needn't worry about the early morning crooning sessions as you had turned down Sony's 2.5 million dollar offer because you cared more about making music than receiving material things. Then I would congratulate you with a sarcastic attitude and thank you for being the reason I was late to my midterm. And then to make up for it, you would ask me out on a date as to which I would have said yes because you had your two rescue dogs sitting next to you with puppy dog eyes whining at me. We would have graduated together, maybe settling somewhere in Oregon or Nebraska, maybe Portland, and you and I would get married and open a music studio together. We would blend in with your beard and I would have my bangs cropped short. I would make you coffee every morning, and you would come home with mochi ice cream so we could secretly eat it in bed together.
You would make me your famous big breakfasts with eggs and bacon. After three years of trying due to inheriting my Mother's fertility issues, we would finally have three kids. Two boys and one girl, Daniel and Austin Jr., and our youngest, Niavi Audrey. They would all have my dark hair but your green/light brown eyes. You would take them for rides in your motorcycle around our block and we would go camping in the backyard when they weren't old enough. You would make us s'mores using reese's cups because that's what you liked to use on your s'mores. And then we would have gotten divorced after some time, when we both would learn that you truly cannot change a person and their beliefs. You're distaste for marriage would eventually set in, but your love for your children, which came unexpected as you never would have imagined having kids, would surpass your need to be free. You would have promised me in the beginning of our marriage that you were never going to be the shitty father that your Dad was to you when your parents divorced at just 2 years old. We would have given it our best shot and I would be telling myself a bunch of cliches, like it was better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.
Or perhaps it would have been too late, and I would find myself sitting at a table across a stage, watching your gig for the night that was my wedding. Of course, it was me who had gotten married. At 32, the stress of being alone forever would finally come to rest. I would sit and watch you and just for a brief second, just a brief tiny moment, I would feel my heart skip a beat at the sound of that voice but snap into realization as my perfect, clean cut, businessman husband would come back from talking to his colleagues. I'll look down and find all my bridesmaids swooning in front of the stage. I would look back up at you and we would lock eyes and I would feel as if you were singing to me for that moment, wondering what it would have been like if I had met you earlier, as you were singing my favorite song without even realizing it. You were in and out of jobs and this gig was going to last you your week's expenses. At 34, you were aging quite finely, your gold hair still holding its color, the tattoos on your arms not even close to fading even after almost two decades. For some strange reason, my gaze would linger at you when my husband leads me to the dance floor and for a split second it almost gives me doubts and second thoughts. The stranger that is you would make me wonder if I had settled for a mediocre love inside an all too perfect man's arms because time was running out and I was getting older. But just as quickly as the pang came in my chest, my husband would whisk me away and my eyes would leave you, and just like that, I would go back to being a married woman. I would leave with him in an expensive car and you would loosen your tie and grab a beer as you head back to your modern loft, dialing the number to someone you had met at a bar months ago to pass the night and have meaningless sex with.
Or maybe your fear of settling down would not last forever and at 50, you would find your edginess and rebellious streak softening at the edges, ready to settle down with someone as life had already given you all it could. Maybe my dreams of becoming a singer would never come true but I would still carry the love of performing through doing shows on cruise ships. You would be on your retirement and you would come and see me perform one night as the ship would be sailing to the Bahamas. And among a sea of people, you would stand there in the crowd, watching me get lost in the song, my long, thick, dark hair swaying and never changing after all these years, maybe a few streaks of gray here and there. You would think I was beautiful and for the first time, you could see yourself being with one person for the rest of your life. You would send a song request, a duet of course, so you could have an excuse to join me on the stage. And just as you had fallen for my voice, I would fall equally if not harder for an old stranger who could sing the damn song better than I ever could. Then you would make me forget the pain from the death of my husband 10 years ago, making me feel as if I could fall in love all over again. And in that night, we would have finally found our forever, the forever that slipped by our fingers tonight.
Someone once told me that timing was everything.
Someone could be the perfect one for you. Someone could be everything you want. Someone could have so many things in common with you. And someone could have been the one for you, had destiny allowed it. But if that person wasn't emotionally available or if life was taking them to other places, you'll never really find out what it would have been like if things went the way you wanted them to. I met you for the first time tonight, and though I knew, deep in my heart, that you and I could have been in love in another reality, time gently drove me out of the winding roads away from the beach that night, telling me the clock was still ticking and that it was not my time. Not yet.
I met you for the first time that night.
Had we met differently, maybe we could have had a story that we could have watched unfold. You were the man of my dreams. But perhaps in my dreams is where you're meant to stay.