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She was so irreversibly beautiful. Her stark blue eyes peered at me beneath choppy bangs and her smile was every sunset I ever missed. Her hands were lean and fingers long. Sometimes she’d snake her hands up around the nape of my neck and through my hair and there were days I wished she’d just leave her hands there. The way her long, sandy-colored eyelashes fluttered awake every morning next to me, in my bed, was the reason for life. She was everything. And her legs were-
“Uh yeah, what?”
“I’m still here…”
“Right, sorry. Um…”
“Kennedy,” she replied. “My name is Kennedy.”
My nails had been bitten down to nonexistence and Kennedy had been trying to get my attention for 10 minutes. I chewed on my lip and drummed my fingers on the plastic checkered tablecloth waiting empty for our food. My drumming made the silverware shake a little, and Kennedy sat across from me uncomfortably with her hands knotted in her lap. “Must’ve been some daydream,” Kennedy remarked coolly.
“I’m sorry Kelly-- Kennedy. I’m sorry Kennedy.”
This was my fourth blind date this week and most of them ended in the sentence: I’m really sorry, Jason. I should get going I have to [select one] feed my dog/finish a paper/prepare for a meeting/pack for a trip. My sorry assumption was that Kennedy would pick one of the above and bolt as quickly as possible.
Our food was taking forever. I looked around the restaurant. One man eating alone, one elderly couple looking happy as can be, one lesbian couple playing footsie under the table, and one woman weeping helplessly into her spaghetti. The chef behind the counter was arguing in Italian with a young waiter who couldn’t have been older than 16. Kennedy shifted uncomfortably in her seat.
“That lesbian couple is totally gonna tap tonight,” I said, nodding my head in their direction.
“My sister is a lesbian,” Kennedy retorted.
“So is mine,” I replied, lifting my eyebrows. Kennedy replied with a flat hm. I picked at a stain on the tablecloth with what was left of my right pointer fingernail.
We sat in silence for easily another 10 minutes. I didn’t even really look Kennedy in the face. All I noticed was the wild black ringlets growing from her head.
I turned abruptly to face the front door of the restaurant and in the process sent a tall glass of water flying toward Kennedy, causing it to create a Niagara Falls of sorts onto her royal blue dress. There was no Savannah, but there was a soaking Kennedy.
“Aw, s***. Kennedy I’m so sorry.”
The 16 year old waiter got to Kennedy first and was helping her dry the dripping water off her dress and the table. I was positive that this 16 year old rubbing water off her dress with a linen napkin was the most aroused Kennedy had been all night. I got up to help but Kennedy stood abruptly and rushed into the bathroom.
“You’re a wreck,” the kid observed.
“F*** off, man.”
I sat alone for five minutes before Kennedy returned to the table, obviously annoyed and a little shaken. Her dress was mostly dry but I could see the embarrassment in her eyes.
“So what’s your deal, Jason?” She asked. She propped her elbows up on the table and balanced her chin on her hand. I really looked at her this time. Kennedy had long, wiry black hair that fell to her elbows. It fell in giant ringlets and framed her olive-skinned face. She had dark eyes and wore big dangly earrings. “Who’s Savannah?” I straightened up at the sound of her name.
“This girl…” I began.
“This girl,” Kennedy mimicked, shaking her head. “It’s always this girl. Does she even know your name?”
“Know my name?” I ask. “S***, come on, I don’t come off as that hopeless do I?” Kennedy picks at her nails for a moment. “No, listen, Savannah is this girl I dated and she was so gorgeous. Her eyes, her hands, the way her legs wrapped around my waist… God, just everything about her is amazing.”
“Why are you on a date with me if you’re still in love with this Savannah girl?”
“Something got in the way of us. But I loved her, God, I loved her. I loved when she would sing me to sleep even though had a terrible singing voice. When she cried she let me hold her, and when I cried she would stroke my hair and watch my tears fall.”
“Jason, I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” Savannah said. We were laying next to each other in bed and her blue eyes were searching mine for an answer. I stared at her, like she was a stranger in my bed. But she wasn’t a stranger, she was my Savannah. My blue eyed Savannah with sandy hair. She reached her arm out and ran her fingers behind my neck and played with the hair on the back of my head. “I want us,” she said. “I want you and me. I want me in a white dress and you in a suit and I want babies with your round eyes and my blonde hair.” My eyes began to fill with tears.
“Are you proposing to me?” I asked her, a mischievous smile making its way to my lips. I watched her, a goddess in a sea of white sheets and pillows. A goddess in my bed. A goddess laying across from me.
“Yeah,” Savannah said as if it were obvious. “I’m proposing to you.” She turns away from me for a moment and reaches over to the nightstand and pulls a tissue from the box. She fastens it into a ring with a fluff of tissue on top. “Jason James Wiley, will you marry me?”
“Yes!” I shouted. “Yes! Yes! Yes, yes, yes.” And I wrapped my arms around me as if she’s my flotation device and I’m lost in the ocean.
Kennedy had tears in her eyes.
“S***, I’m sorry,” I looked at her and felt like I’d just ruined her day. I probably did. I suck.
“I was in love like that too,” Kennedy responded, wiping tears from her eyes. “We met in Greece and he was everything I wanted and more. And we wanted everything together. But something got between us.”
“What got between you?”
“Let’s go celebrate! We’re engaged! We’re engaged!” My Savannah jumped up on the bed in her underwear, dancing and shouting, “We’re engaged! We’re engaged! Hey world!” And all I could do was giggle at her and try to catch her feet in the air but they were jumping too fast. Her bangs were flopping around into her eyes but she was so happy. “Let’s get me a ring! Hell, let’s get you a ring! Let’s get waffles, let’s celebrate with waffles! Let’s go the Grand Place and eat waffles and yell to strangers that we’re engaged!”
“Okay, dream girl,” I said to her. “Let’s do that. Waffles first, then strangers, then a ring. Okay?
“Wow, you were engaged to this girl,” Kennedy looked baffled. “This wasn’t just a minute long love. This was a forever love. Well, forever until it wasn’t.”
“Yeeeee-up. Forever, or so I thought.”
I got our coats and helped Savannah put hers on first. She even tied her boots with a smile on her face. She ran outside before me.
“I’m going to tell strangers that we’re engaged! Meet you outside!”
“Okay, okay,” all I could do was laugh. “My finacée is crazy!”
“Weeeeee!” She yelled from the stairwell. I watched her from the window, running up the sidewalk and stopping timidly at every stranger, a smile on her face and a finger pointed to me, standing up in the window. “ENGAGED!” She yelled, and twirled on the sidewalk. “ENGAGED!” And into the street.
“She was the happiest person I’d ever met. She never got tired of being happy. She was all bubbles and sunshine.”
“What got between you, again?” Kennedy asked, her eyes fixated on me. She actually seemed to care. So I told her.