For all I knew, he was married. Drugged-out. A father of ten. Unemployed in Antarctica. Or all of the above. But I still wanted to know. What happened to that untapped goodness? Where did he go? And could he be mine again, thanks to a twist of fate and a lecherous husband?
Minutes later, I figured out that whatever happened to Connor Solberg, he wasn't on Facebook unless he was going to university in Minnesota or graduating from high school in Utah next year. Ah, well. I didn't expect it to be that easy.
So I was shocked that he came up on MySpace.
No guff. And no gut, either. He had the same hypnotic blue eyes, a tanned face, and a whipcord build I could pick out even behind his drum kit. He was a drummer in the Galvanized Jazz Trio. Nice!
He still had white-blond hair that grazed his collar. He still managed to look cool, which is harder to carry off at age 35 than 13, especially when your hairline is just starting to recede. He carried it off, though, the same way Sting does.
I copied Connor's picture to my desktop and zeroed in on his face, bright and alert with one drumstick in the air. Yes. Same guy. No question.
The Galvanized Jazz Trio's music washed over me. The saxophone took the lead, but the cello plucked a rhythm in time with Connor's drums on a hypnotic backbeat that thrummed in time with my heart.
I took a deep breath and joined MySpace in order to send him a message.
I haven't seen you since spitballs and tennis lessons. Sweet band. How's it going?
If nothing else, he should remember my name. It was always the weirdest moniker in the room. "Oona Mak," I would say to whatever teacher had fallen silent midway through the attendance list. In university, I'd explain, "Oona. Oo, as in 'Ooh, ice cream,' and then na, like, "Nah, no thanks.' And then just Mak."
Nine times out of ten, they'd say, "Mac what?"
Sometimes I'd say, "Mac and cheese" or, sarcastically, "MacDonald's," but then too many people started calling me "Mak and Cheese."
I was delighted to change my name to Wechsler when I got married.
Just before I clicked over to Yoga Today for my daily dose of yoga, I got a chat request from Benjamin O'Young.
Who the heck was that?
The picture gave the clue: the Yin-Yang symbol. It had to be Bendy Ben, the youthful yoga teacher who wouldn't give me one-on-one time. And dear God, his last name was O'Young. Oh. Young. A sign that he was wrong is just so many ways.
On the other hand, the guy had headed my List. And now he was seeking me out at 10:29, which meant he'd hit the computer as soon as the class ended and he'd ushered out the last student.
Also, I took small comfort in the fact that his initials were B.O. He must've gotten teased when he was a kid, too.
I signed on to chat with him.
Ben: Hi. How are you?
NumeroUna: Fine, thanks. U?
That was sarcasm. I'm not big on abbreviations like that, but I assumed he and his compadre used them all the time.
Ben: Missed you in class. Want to have coffee tomorrow?
I hesitated before typing back. Part of me screamed YES! I've got to tell Marie! Meanwhile, the rest of me cringed at the prospect of more rejection.
NumeroUna: I thought you weren't supposed to fraternize with the students.
Ben: Checked with the boss. It's cool. 2 p.m. okay?
He had cojones. He must have tracked down my info from my registration sheet in order to message me. And I was free. I crossed my fingers.
Night falls. Out. Dancing. With Ciara and Michael. Heavy beat. Unz, unz, unz. The bass rises and falls. People cheer. Club floor bright red. Someone's painting a Che Guevera mural in the back.
No alcohol, but smart drinks and packs of cigarettes are for sale. Ciara pauses at the display of silver cigarette cases and hip flasks, but I'm swaying with my arms in the air.
I'm already drunk. Can't you tell?
Not drunk enough, though. There are only about ten people on the dance floor and I wish there were 100 more, or at least dimmer lights to hide me gyrating.
The spotlight hits one guy. Medium brown skin, Arabic or black or something else tasty behind a bit of face stubble, eyes closed, just grooving to the music. Slim hips moving under loose khakis, muscled arm stabbing the air in time to the beat before dropping back to his side.
I move so I can read the logo on his red T-shirt. It's probably some soulless corporate logo.
Actually, it's an ad for a space probe to Mars.
Maybe he's smart AND a good dancer.
Or maybe his sister bought him that shirt and he doesn't even know what Mars is, if it ain't the chocolate bar.
But the boy can dance.
And I know I should stop staring. Younger men hurt. See Ben for details. Of course, older men like Craig can hurt even more.
But this guy's eyes are closed, he can't see me, I'm not hurting him. And he is living poetry, liquid music, flesh in rapture, with the way he spins and flows and grooves. His eyes seem closed, but he never runs into another dancer or a person cutting out for a smoke.
I dub thee Dance God.
So even I though I don't have and will never have the same moves, even though I'm aching from Craig and Ben, even though I'm probably ten years older than most of the kids in the club, I'm glad I'm here and I'm dancing a foot away from Dance God and his friends.
I'm glad I'm alive.
Hey, I'm glad Craig dumped me so I can try new stuff. He can have his poetry ho. I'll dance.
The Dance God's eyes never open. But he reaches for my hips, pulls me closer to him. His touch is light, assured, like all of his movements, and soon I join the flow. Cheek to cheek. Lips against my ear for a moment, so I feel his warm breath before he spins me around so he can dance behind me.
I tense. I've never been a fan of the "guy stands behind you and pretends to grind" dance mode. But neither is the Dance God. He lifts my arms in the air in an easy arabesque while his hips undulate behind me, and it's not porn, it's romance, it's erotica, it's beauty. It's freedom and respect. It's everything my marriage has not been for the past 18 months. And I dance, dance, dance with him until the smoke makes me light-headed and I don't even know my own name.
He tugs my arm. His eyes open. His irises are black in the dim light and his eyelashes are blacker and thicker than mine. He raises a questioning eyebrow.
I shake my head. I signal Ciara. And I am gone, gone, gone.
I slide between dancers and off the dance floor. I dash up the steps and edge out of the door. I flee into the night like Cinderella because it's so beautiful and in my heart of hearts, I don't want to love again. I don't want to be hurt. One perfect, mind-bending dance is all I need.
Outside, in the fresh air, the bass muffled behind the brick walls, my ears cautiously recalibrating to the usual night noise, I'm breathing fast, my mouth is dry, and it all seems like a dream except Ciara said, "What the hell was that? That was so hot! You've got to get his number!"
YOU ARE READING
When Oona's husband asks for an open marriage, she kicks him to the curb and makes a list. A list of the guys not taken. The first guy she really loved. The guy who morphed into Dr. McDreamy. And the smokin' yoga teacher with abs of titanium. The Li...