Of all the girls I've known, and of the fewer still I've considered a girlfriend, there's only one I can recall who I actually chased and who quite literally got away.
Robin was her name, and though we had our differences, I thought then—same as I do today—that she possesses all of those unique qualities that I believe I want in a lady fair. True, she might not be the type wanted by all men or swingin’ young ladies, but I’ve yet to find such personal perfection in God’s multifarious feminine creations.
A tumultuous relationship we had, for sure. I can’t imagine myself with a dull girl, one who keeps her trap shut, who doesn’t speak her mind, and who is easily malleable. True, no harridan do I want either, but a girl who follows me around as though she were my loyal dog appeals to me not in the least.
Robin could—even at 16—wear a tight yet smart miniskirt and work on a stalled engine of a car she might see on the side of the road, then complain later of the Mexican boys in said car having ogled her during this act of Good Samaritan automotive maintenance.
Senior year of high school, we would talk long into the night, longer, longer still—oftentimes not speaking at all, just resting our ears on the phones, not a word passing for 15 minutes at a time. I would take a nap mid-day after getting off early from school, thanks to our senior year’s breezy schedule that afforded those of us who had been particularly scholastic during our formative years a well-deserved semester-long “break” of sorts.
So rested, I could talk to her, to Robin well past 3am. I can still hear her lilting, doe-like voice that matched those wide, clear eyes of hers.
Oh, my god… That first night on the swing in the park, our first stolen “hug” after she located a picture of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s James “Uncle Phil” Avery online, the contest she won with stilted breath, rubbing the bottom part of her back until she could take it no more. The only times I didn’t mind missing out on those eyes of hers were when they were shut in far-off and total ecstasy.
But, then nothing.
She always seemed to have a boyfriend, especially when I would attempt to sneak a kiss upon our departures. We “aren’t going to end up in the same place after we die,” and thus she’ll never be able to marry me, so why date?
I would have her come over with no makeup, her hair up, lost in a wrinkly and oversized sweater, just to keep it fair. We’d sit by the fireplace long after my mom had gone to sleep, and lit only by the dying embers popping and crackling next to us, I’d comb her hair gently, each stroke as closed-eyed caress.
We held hands that day on the couch in the lobby of the extravagant San Diego hotel, even though we had no reason to be in the lobby, in the hotel, in San Diego at all. She was so soft, I remember, in almost every way. But, it was nevertheless never meant to be and forever.
Never did we share that satisfactory, wind-blown kiss. I never saw more of her bare body than anyone else passing her on the street. My fondest memory of our holding hands takes me back to her Christmas Eve service at the church she frequented with her extra-large family of towheaded children.
And, yet, I knew then, as I know now, that I may see her some day, long in the future, age 45 or so.
We’ll run afoul of one another in an out-of-the-way villa café somewhere in France or Italy or Germany. It will be a gray, romantic day worthy of Byron, dew and mist wafting through the brisk air. We will be partly bundled, I with my book and espresso—perhaps a still-smoking cigarette jutting out of the ashtray on my small table—she with perhaps her daughter or son in tow, and I will see her and she will see me.
She divorced a few years back; I’m now a fairly successful writer of sorts. We’re both on a kind of vacation and meet here for the first time in far too long. And then… and then, I don’t know, do I…?