I met her at a club but I never heard her name. We sat at one of those tall tables, each of us with a beer, shouting at each other over the rock band on the little stage and never really hearing what the other said but I didn’t care. She had hair the same color as a dark beer when you hold it up to the light, and her skin was pale like clean sheets. I think her eyes were green, but in the light I couldn’t tell. She said something about her dog in the wind, and I said she was the most beautiful girl I’d ever met. The band said, This could be my mind at play, or something along those lines. She was drinking Miller Lite but I couldn’t ridicule her for it, because when she smiled I almost fell out of my chair, so I bought her a beer and I think she said thank you. When she bought me one of mine I wanted to kiss her, but I couldn’t think how to do it. The band played song after song, never really a gap between them. I didn’t know why I’d gone out that night, or why I’d ducked into this particular dive. But I never wanted to leave it. The band could play forever. About a half-hour in a guy came crashing past and knocked our table, almost spilled her beer, and I wanted to jump up and protect her, shove the guy away, do something rash and romantic, but he was gone already and she never lost her smile. I said that guy was a dick. She said something about her mother’s lime. Or maybe it was, Some other time. The band said, Is that what this is all about?
Four beers in I had to piss, and I apologized a half a dozen times and finally ran for the toilet, but when I came back she was still there, and I think that’s when I fell in love. The band quit playing and another stepped up to tune their guitars, and through the buzz in my ears and the chatter at the bar I managed to hear her say she was having a good time. I said her collarbone had the most delicate sweep, but I didn’t tell her how much I wanted to trace it with my fingers. She cupped her hand over her ear to hear me better but before I could repeat it she nodded like she understood, and she said, Totally, I totally know what you mean. Then the next band erupted into some pounding guitar riff and I just nodded and touched her hand. And she let me touch her hand.
When she left I thought she was going to the toilet herself, but I guess she was headed somewhere else. I might never see her again, but I’ll always be looking. It’s not a perfect relationship, I know, but you have to begin somewhere.
About the Author: Samuel Snoek-Brown is a writing teacher and a fiction author, and he works as production editor for Jersey Devil Press. He lives with his wife and their two cats in Portland, Oregon; online, he lives at snoekbrown.com. His work has appeared in many magazines online and in print, most recently at Eunoia Review.
Story Song: "Begin Here" by Pinebender