Saturday, May 16, 2009

DEVIL WOULDN'T RECOGNIZE YOU

I've been meaning to write about something strange and unexpected that happened on the night of my birthday, but the first week of my 40s has been so busy that I simply haven't had the time (and still kind of don't).

For the past year and a half, I've sometimes talked to my friends about the one who got away, the one guy I've met since moving to Buenos Aires who kind of got under my skin and stayed there. Yes, he really exists. We only dated for a few weeks, but I fell fast and hard. I'm still not sure what it was about him. The blue eyes? The charm? The killer kisses? Or that text message he sent me the day after we met: "Me matás!" ("You kill me!")? But it quickly became clear to me that he was just not that into me, so, reluctantly, I let him go.

Although the dull heartache eventually subsided, and my sleeping patterns returned to normal (thank you, Mariem, for spending hours on end talking me off the ledge), he remained in the corner my mind. In fact, at dinner on the night of my birthday, I was talking about him to Nicholle, my best friend from high school and college who turned 40 two days before me and who came to BA with her husband, Garrett, to celebrate our birthdays together. (That's me, above, caught in the act. I know, I know, how O magazine of me!) For the umpteenth time during their visit, I was regaling Nicholle and Garrett with tales of my romantic escapades in BA, but this time the focus was on the one who got away. I took another sip of wine to wash down the lump in my throat.

Eventually, we moved on, to a new topic and to a new venue, a bar, popular with expatriates, called Sugar. When we got there, I went to the bar to order a whiscola, and when I turned around, my friend Cara was talking to two guys, boyfriends, whom she had met during another Sugar visit the previous weekend. She introduced us, and I put on my polite introduction face, not really paying close attention to whom I was meeting.

But one of them was paying attention to me. He looked at me and said (in Spanish) that we already know each other. I had no idea who he was, and tipsy on wine and the first sip of my whiscola, I made that clear. (How rude of me!) He persisted in a most indelicate fashion, and suddenly, something jogged my memory. The voice! I knew the voice from somewhere! I asked him his name, and oh my goddess, the lord works in mysterious ways: It was the one who got away!

I'm not sure why I didn't recognize him. Maybe it was the extra weight (his, not mine), the facial hair, or perhaps, just perhaps, he hadn't affected me as much as I'd thought he did. Maybe it was just the vision of love or something like it that I'd spent the past year and a half mourning. Whatever. It didn't matter anymore. He didn't matter anymore. The best part: I was 40, fabulous, trim, and thankfully, I had at least taken the time to shave before leaving home that night.
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