Take It Slow

What do you do when you walk into a café one late Sunday afternoon and you notice a beautiful, sexy and confident black woman sitting across from your table, alone and who stares through to your soul?  Remind yourself that you’re already in a relationship and look away?  Do you move to another table where you could sit with your back turned towards her or leave the café?  I didn’t do any of those things.  I just sat there and returned her gaze. 

After a while it felt as if we were the only two people in the café.  Everyone and everything faded into nothingness.  All I saw was her and I so badly wanted to know who she was.  I had to go over there.

Before I could change my mind, I got up from my table and walked over to hers, my heart pounding.  I ignored my conscience which was urging me to make an about turn and leave.  I was fully under the control of my senses.  This is what temptation felt like.  It was powerful, alluring and irresistible.  I couldn’t walk away now even if I wanted to.  I was standing in front of her, staring down at her, thinking that she had to be the most attractive woman I had ever seen in my entire life.  She smiled and said in a husky voice, “Join me.”

I pulled out the chair and sat down.  I noticed that she wasn’t wearing a wedding ring.  Good.  “Hi,” I said.  “Are you here alone?” 

“Yes.  And you?”

“Yes.  Dax.” 

“Moira.”

We shook hands.  “Have you been here before, Moira?”

She nodded.  “Yes, several times.  This is the first time I’ve seen you here.”

“Yes.  I usually go to another café but I since was in this area today, I thought I would drop in and I’m happy I did.”

She smiled, making my heart skip a beat.  “Me too.”

“So, tell me Moira, do you live or work close by?”

“I work close by.”

“What sort of work do you do?”

“I’m a Marketing Manager.  What about you?”

“I’m a Software Developer.”

“That sounds very interesting.  Tell me more about it.”

I found it so easy to talk to her and before I knew it two hours had passed.  I had to leave.  I had to go home, shower and change because Ally and I were going out for dinner with her brother, Jeff and his wife, Sally.  “It was really, really great meeting and talking to you, Moira,” I said after I told her that I had to leave. 

“Likewise,” she replied.

“Do you need a lift anywhere?”

She shook her head.  “Thanks, but after I leave here, I’m going to pop over to the drugstore across the road and run other errands before I head home.”

Before I got up, I leaned forward, my eyes meeting hers squarely, my expression earnest.  “I want to do this again,” I said. 

“Sure.  We can meet here around the same time next Sunday?”

Next Sunday was too far away.  I couldn’t wait that long. “How about Wednesday?”

“Wednesday’s fine.”

I smiled and rose to my feet.  “I’ll see you tomorrow.  Enjoy the rest of your evening.”

“Thanks, you too.”

I left.  On the drive home, I couldn’t help thinking about her and how much I was looking forward to seeing her again on Wednesday.  I tried not to think about Ally who was probably looking forward to dinner tonight.  Ally and I have been going out for five years now.  Everyone is expecting me to pop the question at any minute but as much as I loved Ally, I just wasn’t ready to take the giant step as yet. 

Marriage is a very serious commitment and I had to be absolutely sure before I took the plunge.  Right now, I’m even close to being sure.  And meeting Moira today only complicated things.  The Bible says that with temptation, God always provides a way out.  My way out was not showing up on Wednesday.

Dinner with Ally, Jeff and Sally was a lot of fun.  We went to an Indian restaurant and over spicy food and mock-tails we talked about our last trip together which was a year ago to Thailand and the women started planning our next one.  I managed to push Moira from my thoughts but when I was alone in my apartment later that night, she filled my head.  When I closed my eyes, I saw her face, the way she looked at me and her smile.  Wednesday couldn’t come soon enough.  And as soon as five thirty rolled around, I was out of the office like a shot.

She was already there, sitting at the same table.  A smile broke out on her face when she saw me.  “Hello,” she said.  Her eyes traveled over me like the first time and I could tell that she liked what she saw. 

“Hello,” I said, sitting down, my eyes eagerly drinking every delectable inch of her.  She looked great in the fushia dress which flattered her coloring.  “Are you hungry?”

“Yes.  I heard that the Smoking Jamaican sandwich is very, very good.  Want to try it?”

I laughed.  “Sure.  I’m a big fan of spicy food.”

“That’s good to know.”

Over the Hot Jamaican sandwiches, we talked about all sorts of things.  I learned that she was from Belize and that the only living relatives she had were an aunt in New York and a younger sister in Paris.  She was never married and wasn’t currently in any relationship.  Her job kept her busy during the week and over the weekends, she relaxed with a good novel.  I told her that I was the oldest of three boys and one sister and that both of my parents were still living.  They were back in Lyon while my siblings and I were scattered all over Europe.  When it came to my love life, I decided to be honest with her.

“So, you have a girlfriend.”

“Yes.”

“It occurred to me that you were already in a relationship although I was hoping that you weren’t.”

“Now that you know about Ally, does this mean that after tonight, we can’t see each other any more?”

“Do you think it’s wise for us to continue seeing each other?” she asked.

“It’s crazy, I know but I don’t want to stop seeing you, Moira.”

“I’m not sure about this. If you were my man, it would kill me if I knew that you were seeing another woman behind my back.”

“If you were my woman, I wouldn’t be looking at another woman.”

“What about Ally? Do you love her?”

I shook my head. “No. I care for her but I can honestly say that I don’t love her.”

“How long have you been with her?”

“Three years.”

“Are you living together?”

“No.”

“What about marriage?”

I shook my head again. “I’m not ready for marriage.”

“Most of the men I know aren’t.”

“Moira, I really don’t want us to stop seeing each other. Maybe we can be friends.”

“Do you think we can be friends?”

“It’s better than nothing.”

She thought about it for a moment and then, she said. “All right. Let’s be friends.”

Relief washed over me. “Thank you.” I didn’t know how I was going to manage being just friends with her but I had to try.

We spent the rest of the evening talking about other things and then, I took her home. We stood on the steps leading to the entrance to her apartment building. She didn’t invite me up. Instead, we said goodnight and made plans to see each other on Friday.

We saw each other once a week and spent our time at the cafe. After we left there, we usually went for a walk or a drive. Once a week wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to see her everyday but that wasn’t possible. It was hard trying to be a friend to a woman I was falling in love with.

Ally suspected that something was going on and one evening when we were together at her flat, she asked me point blank, “Are you seeing someone else?”

For a moment I was so stunned that I couldn’t say a word. I just stared at her like a deer caught in the highlights before I admitted, “Yes.”

Ally’s face turned red and she demanded, “Who is she and how long have you been seeing her?”

“She’s someone I met in a cafe and we’ve been seeing each other for two months–“

“You’ve been seeing a woman you met in the cafe for two months? When were you going to tell me? If you hadn’t been acting strange, I wouldn’t have suspected anything.”

“I’m sorry, Ally. I didn’t plan for this to happen but it did.”

“How often do you see her?”

“Every Friday.”

“That’s why you and I don’t hook up on Friday night anymore.”

“Yes.”

“So, what do you and she do when you see each other?”

“We meet at the cafe and we spent the evening there. Afterwards, we go for a walk or a drive.”

“Have you slept with her as yet?”

“No. We’re just friends.”

“Dax, it’s obvious that you want to be more than just friends with this woman. Are-are you in love with her?”

I sighed. “Yes.”

“Damn you,” Ally cried, jumping to her feet. “Get out!”

I got up from the sofa and followed her to the front door. “Ally, I’m truly sorry.”

She pulled open the door and glared at me, her green eyes glistening with tears. “Get out of my flat and out of my life!”

I stepped out into the corridor and she slammed the door in my face. Before I moved away, I could hear her sobbing. I felt like a total jerk. I walked slowly to the elevator.

The following Friday when Moira and I met at the cafe, I told her what happened. She covered my hand with hers. “Breaking up with someone even if it’s the best thing to do is never easy. It will take a long while but she will get over it.”

I really hoped so. Ally was a terrific woman who deserved to find happiness with the right guy. I knew that sooner or later I would have had to end my relationship with her because we wanted different things.

I looked at Moira now. “I know I just came out of a relationship but I was hoping that you and I could be more than friends.”

She smiled. “Let’s just take it slow for now,” she suggested.

“All right.” And we did. We remained just friends for a while and when it felt right for both of us became more. And now, five years later, we are happily married with two boys.

Sources:  Boston Magazine; Thinking Cup;

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