It was dark on the street. We looked for an open coffee place and ended up on a small side street where a cafe was still open. The place was empty inside.
-Let’s sit outside. Are you cold?
-No. I am fine.
We ordered coffee and sat outside. He held my hand and we talked about something. It was Wednesday night in the city. He kissed me at the moment when the waiter brought our coffee. The waiter was a young boy and he looked me directly in the eyes and I knew he recognized me. And I felt uncomfortable. We both remembered that I have been here the week before with somebody else.
The conversation went as smooth as it could have gone. We talked non-stop about a motivational philosophical book on traits and attitudes. One of those best-sellers you find in each book store now. He was fun to talk to and we talked about sports, food, education and business. The wine bar was getting busy at 6pm. It was a polished and chic place in the downtown. Beautifully dressed people, oak tables, dark comfortable sofas. And the wine was extremely good too. I made a joke and we laughed. And then he said he loved my sense of humor. And I told him another joke. And we both were well dressed and he looked like he belonged to this chic place. We talked about helicopters and airplanes. And then he kissed me. And I looked at the watch on his hand and it was half past six. And I knew that moment that I’d rather be sparring with the guys at the MMA club than sitting here. And I said to myself that it is sad that I preferred sparring rather than kissing. I yawned and suddenly felt extremely bored.
I was walking in downtown Palo Alto looking for a place to eat. I did not feel like going to any nice place. I longed for something simple and unpretentious. A place where simple people go and where nobody would know me. I ended up at the gyros place and I ordered some food and got out my kindle and started reading. I read while I ate too. When I was finishing my food the owner placed a glass of tea and a plate with baklava next to me. I looked at the man.
-Let me invite you for tea and baklava. I want you to have some tea, it is cold outside.
I thanked him.
-If you finish your tea and baklava I will bring you more. It is all on the house, – and he bowed his head to me.
I thanked him again and smiled softly.
I drunk my tea and ate the baklava. I normally do not like sweets but I did not feel like refusing something that was offered from the heart. I looked around and it was a simple place. There were a few arabic looking men eating at the corner table. There was an asian family with a small child on the table next to mine. People were talking. People were nice.
We were sitting on the beach alongside HWY 1. We found this sunny place where nobody else went, because you had to get barefoot and wet your feet to get there. From where we sat I thought that it looked like Italian seashore. One of those small calas. And the wind was very soft and the ocean sounded mildly so close to us. And I fully believed I was in Italy. I leaned on my elbow and looked at the sun. And then I looked at him as he was standing against the sun. He wore an orange t-shirt and I told him that my son’s favorite color was orange. And he said that so was his.
We opened a bottle of wine and poured it into the glasses. We got some fresh baguette out of the paper bag, had a bite and drunk the wine. Everything was very calm. We drunk and talked and tanned under the afternoon sun. And then I heard some music and it sounded familiar. He was playing it on his phone.
-It is your favorite song, right? – he asked
-Come on, this is from Woody Allen movies.
And then I remembered that the day before when we sat on the steps of a restaurant drinking wine I told him that I loved Woody Allen movies and music. The day before the sun was also very bright in the evening and we both had to wear sun glasses because the sun was blinding us.
I looked at the waves. Beautiful moment. Abstractly beautiful. Like taken from the Hemingway’s novels when his characters lived in the Southern France and drunk sparkling wine by the sea.
The music was still playing and then he said something and then I felt his lips on mine. The sun was bright and then he kissed me again.
Once next to my car we said good-bye and he kissed me one last time. I saw him walking to his car. I pulled from the parking lot in silence. Once on the road I felt tears rolling down my face. I did not try to stop crying. I let it be. Twenty minutes later driving north my whole body was still shaking. I was crying. Profoundly. Desperately. The pain of just being with people. Being kissed and not being in love.
And silence. And beauty without happiness…
My tears dried. I saw the dark blue sky in my rearview mirror. I was leaving Santa Cruz behind. The whisper of the tires set peace inside of my car. The ocean was calm. I still had a beautiful 2-hour drive ahead of me.