Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Night Sky

The first time I saw her we were at a quiet party in the city hosted by a mutual acquaintance. Parties were never my forte, not loud parties with music played loud enough to cause bleeding ears, anyway. This one wasn’t like that. This party was much more subdued, Henry Mancini spun quietly on a record player in the back room, red wine was served and everyone chatted quietly. These pseudo-sophisticated get-togethers weren’t my favorite thing in the world to attend, but it wasn’t so bad as some social functions I’d been forced to.

The only person at the party I even half knew was the host and he was busy tending the rest of his guests. My plan was to arrive, have a few drinks, thank my host and leave, participating in any conversation that was offered my way in the meantime, but, by no means, initiating one myself. It was a good plan. It would have worked, too, had fate not crossed Sarah into my path.

Like clockwork, I arrived thirty minutes late, dressed casually in khaki slacks, and an untucked button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up halfway, trying my hardest to look better than I felt. Soon, I had a drink in hand to ease my nerves (crowds of strangers were never something I dealt easily with) and moved to the couch where I planned to stay until such time as I decided to leave.

Sitting there, alone with a drink in my hand, I’d become that guy that's at every party. I didn’t realize it until after; one never does until much later. But I was that guy at the party, disinterested in everything but with nothing to say of my own, drinking free liquor, bobbing my head back and forth about the room like a curious bird, staring at everyone around me. I wondered what she was thinking as she sat down next to me with a breathless sigh that betrayed her disinterest as much as my face betrayed mine.

Despite the stupidity of it, I remained quiet, keeping my silent vow not to initiate a conversation with her, though I tried stealing glances.

The thing about stealing glances is that even if you think you’re being slick and unnoticed, you’re being human and everyone sees it. Regardless of how I saw her, she was captivating. She had thick red hair, cut short to her ears and done up in a classic pixie style with a single barrette pinning the part of her hair to one side. Her skin was a soft milky white and she had a crest of light brown freckles that outlined the top of her cheeks beneath the eyes and the tops of her shoulders, exposed by her thin strapped dress. Her figure, in tandem with her tastefully exposed cleavage, was enough to get my heart racing.

What a fool I was to keep silent!


To read the rest of this story, you can purchase it here for the Kindle in the collection "The Accidental Date and Other Stories of Longing, Romance and Woe", or click the button below to order a .PDF of the collection.

The collection contains 11 other stories from me, Bryan Young.