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Have you ever walked through a crowd without fear, your head high, steady steps, confident rhythm? It is possible when you are either too self absorbed in arrogance or you have nothing left to lose. The second case was last night's scenario. I was out with friends, not much money in my wallet or bank account, a cute outfit, bold lipstick, and flowers in my hair. Uncertain and exhausted by what the future might hold, I went out to get a break, dance a little, and maybe get teased by strangers. It had been a long time since last someone had desired me.
The night began with an awful cocktail and a lousy DJ. Luckily, we ordered nachos and a plate of greens. With our bellies full we made our way to the dance floor. I could feel my inhibitions fading and my fancy pushing me to be on my toes and dance as if nobody was watching. We were surrounded by a crowd of mostly youngsters and I couldn't be bothered with mathematics, yet there was this man in a grey sweater. Confidence was his scent without doubt. He was smiling and acting as the most charming of chaps, a bee with infinite hunger in a field of flowers. My attitude was neither provocative nor reckless for I was not tempted to get attention yet I felt comfortable enough to let go of my fears and daydream to the rhythm of the music. It didn't take him long to notice my presence and give me a smirk to which I responded with a confident glance and a disagreeing nod. My friends had their doubts about his sexuality, but we all agreed on how handsome he was. As he kept making turns around the small dance floor, I couldn't help but notice his eyes all over me. At first his attitude annoyed me but later on I found myself captivated by his curiosity and even tempted to succumb to the game of flirtation. I had only had that one terrible drink and rejected most of the suitors wanting to get to close to my body. Part of me did not wish for this night to be a frivolous experience and I felt proud of my mature self yet also bored and old.
We stayed on the dance floor a little longer until we were tired of the dynamics and decided to go back upstairs to the lounge area and relax. It wasn't long until he joined us with a friend. They sat on the table next to us for over 15 minutes. All they would do was laugh, stare, and pretend to be invisible. Eventually, his friend approached one of mine. The man in the grey sweater took this as an opportunity and came close enough to introduce himself. I was surprised to noticed he wasn't drunk like his friend and I thought: perhaps he's trapped in a charade like mine. He asked about my life and with a little information about my career and talents I managed to impress him. I was calm, confident, and honest. There was no need for artificial details or bluffing. He looked at me in the eye and said:
“You are a marvel and I am glad I've met you.”
Although his interest had been genuine and his attention kind, he stood up, gave me a sweet, affectionate look, and told me I was very talented and that my life had just started. Without another word he left and I stayed, calmingly reflecting on his words without regretting our brief encounter. I had impressed him to the point of giving him cold feet. Was it my confidence or my indifference to rejection? The truth is I had isolated myself from the world during the last few months to chase after my dream of becoming an independent illustrator but never expected to get trapped in a melancholic state.
That night, I believe my tired soul was just outsmarting my heart to prevent further emotional distress yet part of me wanted to get angry and fight for a second chance. A little courage with kindness could have persuaded him to trust me. Being realistic, the only thing that would have happened would be a scene in which I am chasing after him and then ruining everything. That's why I chose to keep it special so that he might never forget me and believe that there is more to attraction than pleasure or egotistical display. He was kind and sweet to me so I returned the favour by respecting his decision to abandon the romantic pursuit.
One day I'll walk through a crowd without fear or disdain and I'll meet someone who is genuine and gentle but also braver than this charming man in a grey sweater.