Love stories. Strangers in Love by Dewey Edward Chester… We met, as strangers from another country. I watched her walk along the terrace, dressed in blue…
We met, as strangers from another country. I watched her walk along the terrace, dressed in blue—porcelain skin, bright eyes, tawny hair…the corners of her mouth, the way she breathed.
We had become friends, which implied she was nice.
“We could have dinner,” I offered.
“But aren’t you tired after your football game?”
“No…I feel fine; how about dinner?” I knew she had nothing to do, no planned evening or place to go.
She compromised, “Can we eat in that drugstore we walked through last week?” she asked.
I thought, then said — “Is that where you really want to go?”
“Yes. I like to eat in drugstores.”
We sat on high stools and ate tomato broth and hot sandwiches. It was more intimate than anything we had done together. But we both felt lonely; felt it in each other.
We shared drugstore scents: the bitter, sweet and sour, and the mystery of our waitress who had her hair colored black and white. And when our snack was finished, we stared at pictures of still-life on nearly empty plates: a sliver of potato, a sliced pickle, an olive stone.
It was dusk in the street when we left. It seemed nothing new for her to smile affectionately at me now. When we entered my car she said —- “Thanks! I’ve had a wonderful evening.”
It was not far from her home, but when we reached the hill, I knew this was the beginning of the end. Lights were on in the homes we drove by. I turned on my headlights. “We must do this again, sometime,” I said.
“No,” she replied quickly, as if she had been expecting my offer. “I’ll write you a letter. I like you. You should marry someone.”
“Why do you say that?” I asked, then told her how I felt —- “I’ve had a great time…,” but I saw her shaking her head as I drove up to her front door. “I must go now,” she said, explaining, “I have an engagement.”
“That’s not true,” I countered, “but it’s alright if that’s how you feel.”
I walked to the door with her, and stood in my footsteps of the previous night. I heard her feeling in her bag for the key.
A sparrow cocked its head. I smelled burning leaves. And then I saw her looking back at me with eyes that glowed mysteriously….like a cat! Somewhere a dog was barking.
“I’ve got it!” she said finally. She wanted to see me better—so she leaned her head to the left, then to the right, trying to catch the look of my face against the twilight. But she leaned too far and too long, and it was only natural when my hand touched her arm and shoulder —- and pressed her head toward the darkness of my throat.
She shut her eyes, feeling the key clutched tightly inside her hand. She said “Oh!” in an expiring sigh and then “Oh!” again, as I pulled her close to me, and my chin pushed her cheek around gently. She smiled faintly as the inch between us melted into darkness.
She shook her head, knowing this would happen. But when was her moment of knowing?
“Can I come inside?” I asked.
She resisted a moment but could not blame me. “This is not my idea,” she insisted, “Not my idea at all.”
Inside, I realized what I should have known. Furnishings were luxurious —-a Bokhara rug was stretched across the floor. Oil painted screens, Chippendale tables, Regency chairs. A Tiffany stood on the desk.
Already this woman defined a new school of thought. I said, “You’ve got taste.”
She made no comment when she poured me a hot cup of tea.
She was different from women I’d known, standing over there against that blue print wall, sipping tea from her cup. Apparently she was waiting —- for something.
“Have you seen what you want, yet?”
“Oh!” I quickly answered, “I want it all!” My fingers gripped my tea cup; and then I heard her say —- “Do you see what you want right now?”
I was on the edge of a cliff. Could I fly if I jumped?
“Why won’t you answer me?” she insisted.
“I told you; I want it all!”
And casually, she replied, “Then come and get it!”
When I came, she was waiting to be held. She moved her head from side to side, only more slowly this time…and she never took her eyes from mine.
She spoke roughly, then raising her knee, she pulled off her skirt. I knelt to the floor and kissed her, inviting a journey that was sure to bring us home.
“I love you,” she whispered.