A little story on the Tale today which I managed to piece together with what time I had this week. Time and space and moments can be tricky, coming together in ways that bring us to unexpected moments. In our wondrous universe, one never knows who you might …
Throughout the universe, wherever there is life that calls itself intelligent by some description or another, there are certain places where events transpire which are unexpected: the sorts of things which those involved never could have seen coming or, when the moment has past, never quite understand what just happened. These are the sorts of things which a billion supercomputers, each extrapolating a billion variables in a billion ways, would never come close to predicting or ever being able to explain. In a vast and mysterious multiplicity of universes, these are the events which are sometimes called “miracles.”
In this case, the events occurred around him: a rather ordinary man, sitting alone in a mostly respectable nightclub watching life seem to pass him by; unremarkable to most, a shadow if he was to admit anything. No one paid much attention to him and the time he had spent so far, at the behest of a friend that had abandoned him some time ago, had been isolating. His eyes were focused on the half-filled glass of Diet Coke when she came into his orbit.
“Care for some company?”
There are some words which, when spoken in a certain way, capture one’s attention. That can be caused by the tone—the lovely purr; the hint, in the undertones, of seduction, power, and more—or by one particular tone of voice which offers a simple realization: this speaker actually means what is being said.
Doubting this—for, again, he was ordinary, unassuming, and, after all, even the waitress that had brought his drink had departed well over twenty minutes ago and not checked on him since—he turned his attention to the woman that had spoken. “I’m not really much …”
His reply was caught short by the vision that greeted him.
There are some women who have what is called a presence. Some describe it as how, when these women are in a room, all else kind of fades out into the background. They make, as the cliché says, a very good first impression. Whoever she was, she was very sure that she would do so.
The room didn’t fade out around her, it simply didn’t exist anymore. The glow from her red dress was brighter than all else around him. The light shimmering off her curves made it clear that it wasn’t just painted on, it was almost making love to her. That thought made his breath catch and, strangely, made him feel a little jealous. His eyes traced over her hips, along her legs. Her body was wonderfully perfect, and seeing her cleavage being cupped by the red fabric made it very difficult to continue to look upwards.
“A gentleman shouldn’t be left alone.”
The words seemed odd, catching him by surprise, and thus he found himself looking into a pair of deeply green eyes. All thought of refusing her request was dashed from his thoughts moments later. Being a gentleman, he stood and offered her a place where she could be comfortable. The touch of her hand on his arm brought him up short; the smile upon her soft red lips left a very positive impression. It felt right to bow to her, the offer being made deferentially.
She wasn’t what he expected, considering where he had encountered her. A place like this was filled with those looking for something, expecting something. Rather than taking her leave and ignoring him, she did something different: “Thank you kindly.”
A light peck on his cheek drew him to the booth with her, and he suddenly found himself nestled next to her. There was a scent of cherries in the air now which overcame the typical nightclub aromas. A delightful coincidence, really. Coming to his senses, he reached out for his drink and found it no longer on the table where it had been resting. She held it in one red-fingernailed hand, looking at it with seeming approval. Somehow that approval was important to him.
“Allow me.” She raised the glass towards him, bringing it close to his lips and then guiding him to sip from it. She seemed to know when he had enough, drawing it away and then, as he watched, she took a dainty sip as well before placing the drink back upon the table once more.
He wanted to ask her name, but that wouldn’t be gentlemanly. Instead he tried to come up with a suitable opening for conversation: “Lovely weather we’re having.” As soon as the words had escaped, he wished there was a way to pull them back. It was an idiotic thing to say, especially to a lady of obvious means and intelligence. The little bit of ego that had begun to form within him faded out, leaving him feeling small and foolish.
Her answer was, as seemed to be the one consistent thing about her, unexpected. “I rather adore a cool fall evening. It’s delightful to walk under the moon and share the stars with the right soul.”
What followed was, as he would try to explain in the future, a conversation in which he was the focus. The thoughts she shared were complex, delightfully so. He found himself challenged to think, consider, and express himself like he’d never done before.
Though the night that followed, she didn’t speak much about herself, however. There was an occasional oblique thought that seemed to bemuse her, an occasional flash of red in her ebony hair when the light passed over in just the right way, but nothing more. She was an enigma, and he found that captivating. She was a mystery, and yet, at the same time, he felt as if he had known her forever.
How much time passed didn’t really matter, but, over time, he felt the sensation of the moment coming to a close, the encounter soon to be passed. He found that troubling, and asked a question of her: “Do you come here often?”
“I come where I’m needed.” Again, a mysterious answer, but the words made sense for her, felt right for her. His thoughts were interrupted by her outstretched hand cupping his cheek and turning his eyes towards her.
A question came: “Will I see you again?”
“Close your eyes.”
He didn’t want to, but what resistance he had ebbed away, and the last vision of her was a bright smile and her so-green eyes. He felt her lips brush against his own, pressing lightly, rubbing passionately, taking his breath away.
When the kiss broke, her hand melted away, the scent of the club came back once more. The sounds of the club rushed back, having been missing while she was with him. His eyes opened in surprise, expecting to see her in the booth beside him—she couldn’t leave, after all; he was in the way. But the space was empty, her red a memory, the green of her eyes haunting. His eyes fell upon the table, seeing his glass was empty. But there was something more. Left behind on the table was a small silver card. Upon picking it up, he discovered a name written there. The name she’d never given him, but then he’d never given his name, either.
As he fingered the edge of the card, he wondered if he’d ever see her again. Turning the card over, he read the message written there.
You will … soon.
Three words that made him smile. As mysterious as ever, it seemed. As he slipped the card into his jacket pocket, he believed her promise and looked forward to the next time he encountered her. He liked being with her, listening to her attentively. Idly, a thought tickled his imagination and he chuckled to himself: what where the chances that she’d be interested in him for more than conversation, anyway?
As he left the club, his walk surer, a smile playing upon his lips, someone was watching him. In the shadows nearby, at the edge of a cone of light being poured from a streetlamp, Tera watched him, a thoughtful, yet bemused smile adorning her lips. He’d find out soon enough why he interested her and why it was, exactly, she had encountered him.
Encounters were but a step on the way to enlightenment, after all.