On a Monday
One time when I was in grad school at Columbia, a friend called and asked me to dinner. He was recently divorced and I was single and I'd known him for a while, but hadn't been in touch for about two years. Actually, when I'd first met him he was married. I had a big crush on him then but kept my thoughts to myself.
So out of the blue on a Monday, he calls me and asks me to dinner at his friend's place in the Village, with a bunch of his colleagues, since he's a professor now. He was always kindof a shy guy, but very smart and very nice. So I go to dinner and it ends up this is a pretty swell crew of brilliant people and my friend's just written a book, in a field I know nothing about and he's suddenly getting quite famous. And I'm happy for him. We meet at this friend's loft and he gives me a rather brotherly peck on the cheek when we meet. He looks even better than I remember, much better than when I had this major crush on him.
We're seated at a long, thin rectangular table — I'm across from him. We have a lot of fun catching up and even though we're not seated next to one another, it's easy to talk and he's very funny. I'm seated next to a woman who went to my same college, so we start talking and my friend talks to the woman on his left.
And towards the end of dinner someone starts playing footsie with me. And I can't figure out who it is. But whoever it is, is very good at it. And I don't think it's my friend, in fact, it might be this other guy next to him. I look up and catch the eye of the other guy, who laughs nervously and my friend isn't looking my way, but talking to the other woman next to him. I can not seem to catch his eye.
This foot is snaking up my leg in a very sexy way. I look down at my dessert plate and give the sorbet serious consideration. This guy gives very good foot.
My friend is talking heatedly about something ... structuralism or photons or something ... to the other woman and the guy next to him stands up to get coffee at the buffet table. And, of course, it's been my friend all along. And, talk about sexy, he still does NOT catch my eye. This is turning me on.
The other guy comes back. My friend suddenly looks at me dead on and asks me innocently, "what do you think?" and gives me a cunning smile and a wink.
Think? I couldn't even talk. Everyone's looking at me for a word. I say, "I think ... yes, definately," very seriously, as if debating the issue of world hunger.
He says, "I hoped you'd agree."
Now he's pulled his foot away and starts talking to the man, semi-ignoring me. I go over to get coffee. After a few minutes, he joins me at the buffet table.
"You know, I'm really tired," I say.
"Me too," he says. "Maybe we should go."
We say our nice goodbyes, we get into the elevator — he doesn't talk to me, and we don't stand particularly close to one another. I'm thrown off again — did he forget the footsie -- am I wrong -- did he even do it?
We get on the street — it's New York — he hails a cab. He holds the door open politely. We get in. He gives the driver the address of his hotel.
"Nice dinner, wasn't it?" he says, as if we were strangers sharing a cab.
"Yes," I say. He leans over, takes my face, and says, "Say when," then starts kissing me really passionately and really well. Not too wet, not to soft, not to sloppy, just right. Pretty soon, we've fallen back into a supine kiss, no more of these sitting-up-straight caresses. This is what a cab is made for. We're making the most of it.
We come up for air. We're on Madison near 50th. He says, "I have to go to LA in the morning, I want you to come with me. I have to give a speech. Will you come with me, I hate giving speeches."
I say, "What day is it?"
"Monday, don't worry, we'll be back Thursday," he says.
"I have about ten classes," I say, the serious grad student that I am.
"I'll write a note to your teacher. Please come with me," he says. "I can pick you up in the morning." We're at his hotel, he gets out, pays the driver to take me home.
"Will you come with me to LA?" he tilts his head a bit, like 'don't make me ask again.'
I say, "I think yes, ... definately." And I did.