Posts Tagged ‘a nice chianti’
Friday, September 2nd, 2011
A single orange-brown leaf broke free and spun to the sidewalk in front of my feet, reminding me that summer was not forever and change was coming and there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing at all. Time continued to move on and, so, took me further away from him.
Which was the way it was supposed to be, I guessed. Justin died almost two years ago and I needed to move forward. Which is what I was doing. Although stumbling would be more appropriate.
It was close to 90 degrees, even though the sun would set in an hour. I should’ve taken a cab but I’d wanted to walk and make sure my head was clear. But now that head was covered with sweat. My shirt clung to me and the hair I’d carefully curled now hung limply to my shoulders.
Ryan was leaning back against the metal railing in front of the restaurant. He straightened and smiled when he saw me and my stomach flip-flopped.
“Hi,” he said. He reached out and hugged me and for a moment I forgot about my damp shirt and simply inhaled the scent of a man. A man who was not Justin.
I stepped awkwardly out of his embrace.
“I’m so gross and sweaty, I apologize. I thought it’d cooled off so I walked but then I realized that it’s still really hot and I should’ve taken a cab…” my voice trailed off. I knew I was babbling. But I was nervous. When was the last date I went on?
“No worries,” Ryan said. “Let’s go in.”
He opened the door of the restaurant and the cold air inside immediately brought goosebumps to my skin. I rubbed my arms as we were seated in a wooden booth. Ryan ordered a bottle of Chianti and, when our glasses were poured, he lifted his toward me.
“To beginnings,” he said.
“To beginnings,” I echoed softly, taking a small sip. I carefully set my glass back on the dark wooden table. Three tea lights sat in a glass bowl in the middle and I watched them flicker. I didn’t know what to say. He’d given me his number that night I’d met him and, as he’d asked, I’d texted to tell him I got home okay. We exchanged more texts over the following week, and then he’d called and asked me to dinner.
I felt Ryan looking at me and I met those light blue eyes that made my breath catch.
“Hey,” he said, reaching across the table and putting his hand on mine. I looked down, noticing the small dark hairs below his knuckles. I slowly lifted my gaze to him again. “Are you okay?”
“Yes. No. I mean, I’m just not sure I’m ready for this. Whatever this is. There’s been no one since Justin. And you make me feel… I just don’t know what I’m capable of giving, you know? ” I felt my face get hot. Clearly I had no clue what to say on a first date. We barely knew each other. It was all a bit heavy and I wondered if he was going to excuse himself to go to the restroom and duck out the back exit.
Ryan squeezed my hands before letting them go and picked up his glass to take another swallow. The candlelight made his skin glow and I thought about reaching out and touching the dimple on the side of his cheek.
“If it makes you feel any better, I don’t know what this is either,” he said. “But I’m willing to find out if you are.”
This is a work of fiction inspired by the prompt “Change of Seasons” from Write on Edge. It is the continuation of a story, You can read previous installments Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five and Part Six.