Of A Party
by Dana Poinell
February 10, 2019
It was a Friday night and I was out at a party in hopes of meeting someone new. The music was loud and I was grateful for its distraction. I had not wanted to come, but my friend Ellen had been insistent. I had given up on parties months before and had become pretty content with late night phone chats with girlfriends of similar status…spending our weekends alone.
I was currently not involved and hadn’t been involved for awhile. I’d had my share of one night stands, lustful stares with no follow-up and promises of phone calls that never came. I’d been satiated with hopes of ordinary encounters turning into extraordinary evenings. And now I was tired and void of dreams for the ultimate encounter.
However, as I looked around the party from a secluded perch in a dimly lit corner, I felt encouraged. It was my kind of party. The men were dark suited in splashy ties with sparkling smiles, while the women were dressed corporate smart with expensive hairstyles. But no soul spoke to me for an hour, or came near my corner. And just as I decided to call it an evening, a tall, good looking stranger asked me to dance. I hadn’t danced in so long that I felt disoriented when I first stepped onto the dance floor. He seemed to sense my inexperience and pulled me gently with strong arms that seemed accustomed to handling a woman.
For the first two songs, he didn’t say a word and I decided right then and there that he was not my type. I’m always leery of men who don’t talk easily.
After I had completely dismissed any possibility of dancing with him again, he suddenly looked down at me from under lush eyelashes and told me I had beautiful hair.
I blushed without realizing it. I t was the first compliment I’d heard in months. Of course, I danced again, and this time the music was soft and slow and I was able to get close enough to smell his cologne. I almost recoiled at the scent. He smelled more like gardenias than I did.
When the record ended, I dashed quickly off the dance floor in hopes of finding a new dance partner. He disappeared into the crowd without glancing back at me and I returned to my chair of comfort in the corner. Suddenly, the room was ablaze in light as the guests began singing Happy Birthday to someone whose face I couldn’t see over the crowd.
Mr. No-name appeared again at my side, with beautiful teeth that had not been visible before in the darkened room. I smiled at him and decided to ask his name. “My name is Herbie” he said with a crooked grin. “What’s your name?” I was so taken aback by a grown man calling himself Herbie, that I almost didn’t hear the question. I answered mechanically as I looked down to see if he could pass the ultimate test. And I found no solace there. His suit was neat, but his shoes were dusty with no trace of a recent shine. In addition, old scuff marks distracted terribly from the original color of what looked like very inexpensive loafers.
I rolled my eyes toward the ceiling. He was smiling at me as if waiting for a response. I stared at him blankly. “Did you hear me?” he asked, in a deep voice that I imagined would sound good on a late night call. “No, I’m sorry I didn’t, “I said, blinking back into the present. I was beginning to vacillate between dismissal and demure. After remembering how lonely I’d been the previous weekend, I decided on demure.
In my softest tone, I asked, “what did you say?” He spoke in a low voice. “I said you need to get out more, so that when a man talks to you, it won’t be so obvious that you’re examining him like a grocery store purchase. I hope you enjoy the rest of the evening.”
He walked away and I have yet to be seen again in public.