Soft Moments: Sunset
Add: 5 August 2015 / 13:23
Soft slow music was playing, the lights dim and flickering over the mass of people around me. Every movement in the crowd had slowed to match the rhythm, voices were lowered to barely a whisper, and the crazy dancers had subsided to drifting through the club, like a breeze that teased the Mt. Everest peak so used to 60-knot winds.
A pair of strong, masculine hands were lightly resting on my hips as I swayed lazily, their warm touch a comfort and reminder of the man just inches behind me. Constantly adjusting to my movements, this protective barrier shook away all the fears and dangers of the world.
Just a few weeks earlier, I marveled, I had felt the exact opposite. Single for just a couple months, I felt isolated from everyone in the world, barely making the effort to meet other guys or interact with people in general.
He pulled me towards him. I recognized his desire to hold me close and it burned up within me as well, as I leaned back into his chest and his arms wrapped possessively about my waist. Despite my high heels, his head was a good four or five inches above mine, and I drank in his light smell of cologne. It was fresh and made a good contrast to the heavy colognes many guys wore, and the sweaty smell that settled upon the club.
I caught the eye of Sarah, one of my two friends who accompanied me, and blushed slightly, drawing myself away. After holding up an image of being an innocent, practical tomboy for so many years, it was hard to let it change even in front of trusted friends. But for this man, I could not resist. For this man, I had entreated my best friends to sneak us out to some distant respectable club.
My problem lay in that I was seventeen, still in my senior year of high school, with highly protective Asian parents. Having moved to America when I was small, they still greatly distrusted the city and its people. It was of greatest importance to them that the people I hung out with were “respectable,” and that I had met them in a “respectable” way. Talking to strangers, for example, was not a respectable way to meet people, and my parents held deep disdain for any friends I did not meet at school or some paid activity.
And I had most certainly not met John at school.
• • •
On Thursday evening I was walking through the university campus, a good thirty minute drive from home for no reason apart from being sick of school, of home, of common things. My idea was to call up a freshman that went to the same church as my best friend and convince him to have coffee with me, but he was busy, so I continued solo to a café. After buying a nice hot mocha, I left immediately to walk back to my car.
While treading down a small concrete walkway between dorm buildings, I noted the sun was setting directly behind me, lighting up my path with a soft red glow. I noted a figure in a suit some ways down hurrying up the path, his arm across his forehead to block out as much of the blinding rays of sun as possible. Unalarmed, I sipped my coffee with a faux feeling of contentment.
But by the time this man was just a few feet away from me, I was indeed alarmed out of my little warm bubble of aloneness. He was rushing right towards me, a heavy briefcase in one hand, completely oblivious to my presence. As was typical, the speed of my reaction was very slow, and as I jumped to the side to avoid the man, he knocked my coffee out of my hands.
As silly as it seems, that hot mocha with whipped cream and chocolate syrup was the only thing keeping me happy that day after a rather stressful session of eight classes with three tests and a forgotten project due, plus the disappointment of being rejected by the freshman. This horrid, ignorant, stupid man instantly became my arch-enemy, and I glared at him childishly for about five minutes straight, my lips pursed together, my hands clenched into fists.
“God, I am so sorry,” exclaimed the man. I was envisioning punching him in the face, for the first time actually taking a good look at his face too. He was perhaps in his early forties, his hair slightly graying, with a surprisingly handsome, stern countenance. Unfazed, I would not allow this to sway my anger at him.
He knelt down to pick up the cup. We must have looked a ridiculous couple, a teenage girl pouting like a five year old before a kneeling businessman, a coffee cup spilling out between them, and behind them the slowly setting red sun.
“I did not see you at all, I really must apologize for running into you like that. I was in such a hurry and the sun completely blinded me.”
Receiving no hint of acceptance of his apology or excuse, the man stood up rather awkwardly. Considering the hurry he had been in, I assumed he would soon run off in an ungainly manner to whatever meeting or something that he had to attend to. Needless to say, it took me by surprise when he offered,
“Ah, why don’t I buy you another coffee? Perhaps you will forgive me then?”
I don’t know what prompted him to say that, but I blinked at him several times before becoming rather embarrassed and unsure of what to do. Perhaps I should accept, I thought, considering I really really wanted that coffee, and it was an offer I wouldn’t normally get. Anything unusual in my life appealed to me at that moment. However, I wasn’t sure how much time I had, so leaving the guy awaiting my reply, I checked my watch.
Just past 6 PM. My parents would want me home by 8:30, so actually I had quite a bit of time, and I could always pretend I’d gone to some friend’s house to study.
“Alright,” I said to the man with as much disdain as possible.