It’s a lovely spring day and I’m lying in an meadow, daydreaming about Sylas Nguyen. Next to me is the novel, Feverish Fiascos, a titillating story set in the Victorian time about a handsome charlatan and his sexcapades with all sorts of women, mostly rich and lonely ones. These encounters always had disastrous consequences. Normally such a book would have my undivided attention but not this time. My mind was preoccupied with thoughts of a handsome, older man whose face I long to see again.
I met him yesterday when my best friend, Rae invited me to her older sister’s wedding. The moment I saw her uncle, I was instantly attracted to him but alas, he has a girlfriend who is Vietnamese like him.
I told Rae and she said, “Forget it. His parents would have a fit if he got into a relationship with someone who wasn’t Vietnamese. And he already has a girlfriend. My entire family loves Fay. Besides, Uncle Sylas is way older than you.”
“How old is he?”
That didn’t matter to me but she was right. I should forget about it. He wouldn’t be interested in a twenty year old black college student. Besides, his girlfriend, Fay was stunning. And they made a very attractive couple. I overheard some of the guests speculating that they would be walking down the aisle soon.
“Come, let me introduce you to Uncle Sylas,” Rae said, grabbing my hand and pulling me towards him and Fay.
My heart was racing. When we reached them, I tried to appear calm. They looked at us. Up close, he was even more attractive. Fay smiled at me. She was very beautiful. I was envious.
“Uncle Sylas, Fay, this is my best friend, Kayla.”
Sylas smiled and extended his hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Kayla.”
“It-it’s a pleasure to meet you too.”
We shook hands. He had a nice strong grip. When he released my hand, I could still feel the sensation of his. And my stomach was acting crazy and I marveled that they couldn’t hear how fast my heart was beating.
Maybe it was wishful thinking on my part but I thought his eyes lingered on my face before he turned to look at Fay who was holding out her hand. “Hello,” she said. “It’s nice to meet you.”
We shook hands and then, Rae grabbed Fay’s arm and said, “There’s someone I’d like you to meet,” she said before she scurried off, tagging her along behind.
Left alone with Sylas, I was very nervous. I couldn’t get over how handsome he was. He looked so distinguished in the tuxedo. He smiled at me and said, “It’s nice to finally meet you. I’ve heard so much about you.”
“It’s nice to finally meet you too and I have heard a lot about you. I think you’re Rae’s favorite uncle.”
“Rae is a wonderful young lady. She and I were very close when she was a child. We still are.”
“She seems very fond of Fay.”
“Yes, they are very fond of each other.”
“Maybe Fay will become Rae’s favorite aunt.” The moment I said that, I was sorry. I saw his expression change. Me and my big mouth. “I’m sorry,” I mumbled. “I shouldn’t have said that.”
“Don’t worry about it. You aren’t the only one to assume that Fay and I will get married.”
I stared at him. The word assume had jumped out at me. Was he disputing the rumors that there would be a wedding? I hoped so although I liked Fay. “Fay seems very nice.”
“She is. Are you enjoying the festivities?”
“Yes, I am. I haven’t been to a wedding in a long time so I was thrilled when Rae invited me to this one. Everyone is so friendly and fashionable. And I love the decorations.”
This is my first cultural wedding. I loved the ceremony and the reception. And the food was amazing. Elaborate 7 to 10 course meals were served, starting with cold platters and then followed by hot dishes such as seasoned lobster, seafood hot pot and other Vietnamese and Chinese banquet dishes. During the meal, we were entertained. A few of the guests performed songs for the couple. There was the cake cutting and the first dance. Rae and I danced with her cousins and their friends–they were all cute guys but I had my eye on Sylas who danced with the bride, his mother and Fay. I kept hoping that he would ask me for a dance.
“The decorations are symbols,” Sylas explained. “These symbols represent luck, fidelity and happiness for the couple, among many other things.”
“Luck or blessings, faithfulness and happiness are what every couple needs for a long, lasting and successful marriage. My parents have been married for forty years and their marriage is still going strong.”
“That’s wonderful. It’s the same for my grandparents and parents. And I hope it will be the same for Joslyn.” Joslyn was Rae’s older sister and the bride.
Sylas and I chatted for a while and then, to my surprise, he asked me for a dance. I happily and nervously complied. And there we were slow dancing. He was a terrific dancer and I felt as if I were floating. When the dance was over, he thanked me and escorted me to my table. Then, he excused himself and found Kay. He spent the rest of the night by her side. We didn’t exchange any other words until it was time for me leave. We said goodbye and I took a taxi home.
I couldn’t sleep. My mind was active as I relived every moment of the wedding, especially the moments when Sylas and I were talking and dancing. If only he weren’t already in a relationship, I agonized and then, Rae’s words came to me, reminding me that I didn’t stand a chance with him because I from a different race and culture.
Groaning, I rolled over and hugged the pillow, burying my face in its softness. It was after three in the morning when I finally feel asleep.
I sit up now. It’s no use wishing for something that was never likely to happen. I must forget about Sylas. Rae mentioned something about going to the movies and then dinner with one of her cousins and his friend. I decided that I would call her and tell her that I’m up for that.
As I am about to call Rae, my cell rings and my heart leaps when I see the name on the display. “Hello, Sylas.” I know I sound breathless but I can’t help it.
“Hello, Kayla. I got your number from Rae. I should have asked you for it last night.”
“It’s–it’s good to hear from you.”
“Rae thinks that I’m calling about your job situation. She mentioned that you got laid off. I’m sorry.”
“Me too. It’s tough not having a job to go to.”
“Kayla, I was wondering if you would like to have dinner with me this evening.”
“To discuss my job situation?”
“Sure we can do that but the reason I’m asking you to have dinner with me that I want to see you again and get to know you better.”
“Oh,” I said. That pleased me tremendously. “Where would you like me to meet you and what time?”
“I’ll pick you up at your place around six-thirty.”
“Good. I’ll see you then.”
“Yes. I’ll see you then.” After we ended the call, I stared at my cell for a long time, hardly able to believe that he had just called me and asked me to have dinner with him. Then, I called Rae and told her that I couldn’t go on the double date.
“That’s okay,” she said. “We can do it another time.”
“No, please don’t cancel because of me. Why don’t you take your cousin, Lyn?”
“That’s a good idea.”
“Has my uncle called you?”
“I hope you don’t mind that I gave him your number.”
“Did he ask for it?”
“Yes, after I mentioned that you were looking for a job. Maybe he will set up you with something or put in contact with someone who could.”
“That would be nice.” I had been out of a job for close to five months now and was getting anxious. Maybe that’s why Sylas asked me to have dinner with him, to discuss my job or lack of job situation.
“Well, let me know how things turn out, job-wise.”
“Will do and you let me know how the double-date went.”
“I will. ‘Bye.”
I smiled, took a deep breath of the fresh air and picked up my novel.