“I memorized your face just in case you try to murder my friends.”
I paused a moment at this audaciously honest remark. A part of me wanted to howl in laughter – another part wanted to reassure her that I’m a “good guy.” Instead I matched her bold stare and replied, “That’s fair.”
Because it was. I was about to get into a slick Purple Mustang with three tipsy women I had just met 20 minutes before at Molly’s Pub. Somehow, I became an honorary member of their girls night out. They eagerly stuffed me in the backseat. Within a few seconds I heard the heart-thumping roar of the Mustang’s engine. There was no turning back now.
Our next stop: Karaoke.
Sunroof down, spirits high, and speakers booming we raced to Reno’s. Barbara looked at me from the passenger’s seat quizzically, “Barry! What song should we play?!”
“I’m in a Kendrick mood, put on DNA.”
My request received a glowing smile of approval and soon after Kendrick’s lyrics assaulted our ears with rap glory. The song ended right as Carla pulled into Reno’s parking lot. My brain finally caught up a bit at the strangeness of the unfolding events: Am I living in a movie? Who the hell cares, get me another beer please. Okay brain sounds like a plan.
Without recalling my legs moving I ended up standing by the girls night troupe at the Karaoke sign up sheet. Our current struggle? Deciding what song to sing. My eyes soaked in the environment at all the merry drunkards singing along with the main karaoke performer. Faint puffs from smoke clouds combined with the fragrance of hard liquor put me at ease. The right bars smell like a unique form of happiness.
The ladies were still deciding on song when I suddenly heard Lauryn Hill’s voice wave over me. Sentiment wiggled into my heart as I put my eyes on the floor, “My mom loves Lauryn Hill.” Suddenly I felt pressure gripping on my left wrist. It was Barbara, “Come on!” Without warning she led me to the center of the dancefloor. My body came to life as I held her hands, unconsciously leading her with my motions. No words were exchanged, but our bodies flowed in perfect sync. Without warning I stared serenading Barbara while our eyes locked. The moment was a vivid daydream. We danced for three more songs.
I escorted her back to the girls night group and quickly escaped to the bathroom. When I returned Barbara lightly touched my bicep and whispered, “You’re the best man I ever knew.”
In that moment the dream became real. In the back of my mind I knew there was a chance I would never see her again. – Barry