During the period after graduation, when I work as a pastry chef, I feel really good about myself. I am single again– finally freed from John, my culinary school boyfriend, once and for all.
One night I go out alone to Rookies, the late night bar I used to work at, which by this time has been remodeled and renamed.
I am wearing my tight, electric blue jeans and brown half boots with a tucked in t-shirt and my hair down and curly. I notice a guy across the bar sitting by himself. He is beautiful, with shoulder-length sandy blond hair tied back in a ponytail.
He is young, perhaps even a couple years younger than me. His body is tan and fit and he strikes me as someone who works a trade, although this is just a theory.
We make eyes a few times across the bar and when I pass by on the way to the rest room. Finally, I touch his hair when I walk by and say, “you really should wear it down”. I look over my shoulder to see him pull the elastic band out of his hair, without looking at me. But I notice his smile as he tilts his head down toward his beer glass.
Later on, he approaches me while I am standing at the jukebox.
“I want you to know something,” he speaks low and slow into my ear.
“What’s that?” I straighten up and smile at his reflection against the colored laser lights.
“I am strongly attracted to you. But I have someone waiting at home.”
And it is fine. In this moment I couldn’t feel sexier, or more empowered.
I am twenty-eight.