I dreamt last night of two men.
One with overgrown sandy blond hair and two weeks growth of beard. He was charming and clever and we laughed and laughed.
The other was dark haired with a mustache and we spoke almost exclusively in whispers. His southern drawl and twinkling blue eyes a stark contrast to the intensity of both his purpose and his pursuit.
A dark smoky room, low tables and overstuffed leather chairs. The smell of cigars and cedar floated in the air. A tall black man, with a rich baritone rumble, sang of lost love, missed opportunity and dreams derailed while sitting at a long glossy piano. His tumbler of amber whiskey glowed in the low lights. His tip jar sat only 1/4 full.
The night was early. When mascara still lived exclusively on the lashes and lipstick was deep and rich. I remembered looking at my hands and seeing a new manicure.
No ring. No evidence that there had been one recently. Just squared nails and a pink french manicure.
I was there but not really if you can understand what I mean. The laughter was hollow, the banter forced. I had to choose.
Where would I live?
Would I choose charming and clever or passionate and pursuing? So many variables and not enough time. The bartender polished his glasses and gazed pointedly at my table. The glare of the blonde at the bar made my hands shake.
Mr. Charming casually draped his arm over my chair and ordered me another vodka tonic. Twist of lime. The Southern Gentleman took my hand and led me to the dance floor.
As I stood in the spotlight the string bass plucked a languid rythmn and a simple, plaintive melody played. With no warning, with no hesitation he kissed me. I closed my eyes and waited to feel.
But all I could do was turn and walk away. Past the man with the rich voice who sang the songs my soul was crying out. Past the bartender and the blonde who smirked and turned their backs on me. I couldn’t look at Mr. Charming, The Southern Gentleman returned to our table.
I gathered my grey cashmere shawl and stopped at the door to look back one more time.
The two mysterious men raised their glasses to me and nodded. A gentle inclination of their heads that neither condescended nor shamed. Somehow they understood. These two figments of my imagination acknowledged the battle in my psyche and graciously allowed my trembling retreat.
I know they’ll be there again tonight, should my subconscious decide it wants to go out.