Tuesday, June 21, 2005

30 Second Relationship (okay...maybe 60 seconds)

"EXCUSE ME!", she shouted angrily as I walked past her.

I'd been lost in thought and automatically assumed that I'd accidently brushed against her or walked in front of her, cutting her off without realizing I'd done so.

"Sorry." I mumbled with what I hoped was a winning smile and a look of genuine remorse.

"WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?" she bellowed as if I hadn't said a word.

I looked around, hoping to find that I was not the target of her fury but merely an unfortunate soul who'd stepped in between her and the intended recipient. Unfortunately, the person closest to us stood a good five feet away. Like everyone else in the area, she was watching us with the peculiar mix of sympathy and fascination unique to this type of public spectacle.

"I'm sorry." I repeated. "To be honest, I'm not even sure what I did, but if you'd just calm down, I'm sure that we can work this out."


She had me there. I had to admit that she was pretty perceptive. It usually takes a little whie for people to figure that out about me, but she'd pegged me right off the bat.

I gazed at her with a newfound respect. Somehow this woman - this stranger - knew me better than I know myself. I looked at the fire burning in her dark brown eyes and found myself transfixed. I drank in her words focusing not on the things she said, but on the passion with which she said them. No doubt about it, I was falling in love.

"Look, if you'll just tell me what I did, I'm sure I can find a way to make it up to you." I said, hoping that I'd be able to convince her to let me apologize by taking her out to dinner.

At minimum, I thought there was a slim chance she'd agree to a have a drink with me as kind of a peace offering (although if she were this out of control sober, I shuddered to think what she'd be like after a few drinks).


That seemed to be the end of it. I stood still for a moment as the realization hit me that our thirty second conversation neatly summarized every relationship I'd ever been in. The undying love, the abuse, my confusion over what I'd done wrong, the angry good-bye, the broken heart. Yep, it had everything.

"Okay." I said softly.

The crowd that had gathered around us to watch sensed that the show was over and began to disperse. I sighed and turned to walk away, nursing a badly bruised ego and preparing to pick up the shattered remnants of my manhood as I made my way down the street.

I felt a hand on my shoulder and I turned and braced myself for another tirade. Instead, she stood before me smiling.

"Did you say something?" she asked as she reached up to remove her wireless earpiece. "I was having an argument with my ex-husband on my cell phone and I noticed you trying to get my attention. Sorry about the language. He's the one person in the world that makes me lose it like that."

"Oh, I...erm...thought you were talking to me and I was apologizing for...well...for whatever I'd done that made you so angry."

"Really? That's too adorable. I'm sorry if I embarrassed you."

"No, no. I wasn't embarrassed at all. Until a minute ago, that is, when I realized that I'd been talking to myself."

She laughed prettily, and my heartbeat quickened at the sound. I decided to throw caution to the wind.

"Would you care to join me for a drink?" I ventured.

"Are you kidding?" She replied. "I'm divorced - not desperate. Nice meeting you, though."