It was a lazy Sunday at the beginning of June – a breezy, 80 degrees without a cloud in the sky. A twangy, yet oddly soothing melody caught my ear and I found myself enthralled by the sound of banjos and harmonicas. I had already made the decision to pause my quiet day of reading and wandering to bask in the random moment of public art and magic when you caught my eye.
You were relaxing peacefully on the slanted retaining wall that hedged Berkley’s Cesar Chavez Park. You had on blue jeans and a white t-shirt and a hint of a dark beard, which has always gotten me in trouble. You were resting on your backpack, that I can only
assume hope was filled with Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated and a book about a president (hopefully not the current one.)
I was wearing a whisp of mascara and a dab of Aquaphor and an acid-washed jean dress with neon, tribal stitching (a far cry from my typical all-black uniform, but felt necessary and appropriate to match my fresh “post-Memorial Day bronze”.)
For a moment, I sat on the wall across from you, although the shady space to your left looked much more appealing – for the shade, but also for the proximity to you and your energy. Aesthetically pleasing, sure. But what really caught my eye was your easy calmness as you lounged in the park that Sunday, listening to an assembly of AARP-ers picking their stringed instrument of choice in harmony. There is something uniquely special about a person who can seamlessly divert from the day’s “plan” to enjoy the unexpected world around us. Who can enjoy and appreciate the quirks that makes Denver, Denver. Who understands that “doing nothing” is rarely “nothing.” You were/are that kind of person and your subtly muscled arms – molded by yard work, building things and other man stuff, I assume – didn’t hurt either.
I had always hoped I would meet my dream man like this. Or while reading in a coffee shop. Or grabbing the same book off the shelf at the book store. Or perhaps, oogling the same piece of art, trying to make sense of the arbitrary flourish of paint on a canvas. A real-life meet cute. I know that digital dating has worked for many and I have acquired endless hilarious stories at the behest of the ever popular dating apps, but I’d much rather tell THIS story (or a similar one) rather than “We both swiped right.”
I settled against a tree and my mind raced as I tried to come up with the right words (I am much better after the fact than I am in the moment.) You looked over just as I was trying to find a ladylike way to sit on the ground (there isn’t one) and you almost certainly got a bit of a show. So honestly, the least you can do now it take me out for a drink or a cup of coffee.
We both smiled adoringly (and maybe a little jealously) at the cute, older couple who were grooving along to the banjo. We both giggled at the little girl who danced so hard she toppled over. We both shared this fleeting and lovely moment that only happens when you are in the right place at the right time (or in a rom-com) without exchanging names or more importantly, numbers.
You checked your phone and before I could gather the courage, you were on your way (but not before you snapped a picture of the Bluegrass and Old-Times Jams poster.) Surely, you have someone special or maybe you are just passing through, but just in case neither of those are true and you are curious about the girl who also stops for a little bluegrass in the park, I’ll be there next time and this time I’ll be wearing pants.
And digital dating gods and goddesses, if you are listening, please work your magic.