The Road Taken: Hello, Gorgeous!

He is beautiful.  Not handsome. Handsome is too plain a word for him. Beautiful. Adonis beautiful. Jan Michael Vincent beautiful–though I never could figure out what kind of name for a guy was Jan.  He is sitting across from me, and it is impossible not to gaze at him, not to want to kiss him or touch him, if only for a moment. We are like two star-crossed lovers in the night. Only I don’t know his name, nor he mine. We are students. We are writers. And fate has brought us together in this creative writing class.

The real Jan Michael Vincent.

Fate? Some would say the luck of the Irish. Yes, he has Irish eyes, green with long lashes—and they are smiling at me.  Only he isn’t really looking my way. In fact, I don’t even think he noticed when I entered the classroom and scrambled into the last seat available, just across from him, as providence would have it.

He is stunning and I know I am not worthy. But a girl can dream, can’t she?

So I turn to the matter at hand.  First of all, I am late. Not late late. Just a few minutes late. Enough to have missed roll call. Enough to have taken the only empty seat left at the conference room-size table, only to find that I’m right across from this Jan Michael Vincent lookalike.  All I have to do is look up from my notebook and there he is.  Right in the bull’s-eye of my line of vision. How breathtaking!

This is the first night of creative writing class.  I had signed up weeks earlier, having decided to return, once again to my on again/off again love affair with writing.  The course is part of the university’s adult education program, which means no college credit, just nine weeks of creative writing assignments, designed to spark a story and get us on the path to authoring a book, or in my case, maybe writing a short story or two.  After all, anyone who knows can see I have no patience for writing an entire book. Might as well ask me to sew a dress from scratch, using a pattern, of all things.  That is not me.  I prefer the immediacy of life. Seize the moment and patience be damned—

Wait! Barely ten minutes into the two-hour class and the teacher is already giving us a writing assignment—and we have to do it in class. On the spot! I look around. There are about 20 of us crammed around the table. Next to Adonis is an elderly woman in a green sweater and pointy glasses, and all I can think is, how lucky is she to have arrived early enough to score a seat next to Him! Meanwhile, beside her is a guy who appears to be—

Oh, who cares what that guy looks like? Suffice it to say, he is no Adonis. And speaking of, I have never been this close to true beauty. Oh my goodness, he, who must be revered, just looked up! He even blinked in my direction, no less. Is it possible? Did he see me? Sadly, no.

I must get back to the assignment and concentrate. Karen, our teacher has given us 15 minutes to write anything we want, at which time she’s going to make us read our writings aloud. Focus. Write something meaningful.  Be pithy. Stream of consciousness.   I’ve done this before. I can do it again. If I only could put blinders on. That’s it! I need blinders! After all, I didn’t plunk down $65 just to look at some creature of beauty.  No, I’m here to write.  So write, dammit, write!

Oh, I’m on fire! Did anyone else see the way he holds his pen? Look at those long, tapered fingers. And, those nails! Ah, perfection!

Write. Time is almost up. Focus. If I can get through this and write something sparkling, then I’ll reward myself by walking up to him after class, and saying something clever like, “Of all the gin joints in all the world, you walk into mine.”  We’ll have a good laugh, maybe even introduce ourselves and that would be—

Oh, what am I thinking? This is crazy. This is ridiculous!  I shouldn’t even be thinking about this. Besides, he’s too good for me, remember?

Finally. I write something. Not quite 500 words, but close enough.  Oh, here goes. It’s my turn to read what I wrote. Fingers crossed. Nerves on edge and I swear my heart is just going to pound right out of my body. I’ve never been this nervous and my throat is so dry. I wonder if there’s a water fountain in the hallway.

I stand up and start to speak and immediately hear my voice croak, but somehow I muddle through. I finish and look up, trying hard not to look at Jan Michael Vincent, but he’s leaning back in his chair so far that he looks like he’s going to tip over. Surely, someone should warn him. Maybe I could run around the table and catch him before he slams on the floor?

What’s this? If I wasn’t so crazy for this guy, I’d swear he did look at me that time and smile. His eyes look so merry,don’t they? Like Santa Claus in July. Obviously, I’m mistaken. He can’t be smiling at me. I’m no Cheryl Tiegs, not this Latina. I’m no Lauren Hutton either, though I did once have this weird space between my teeth before the braces. Oh my God, he’s still looking this way, and I don’t know what to do. I must be dreaming.

The class is over and I start to gather my things. My keys fall out of my purse and I crawl under the table to get it, bumping my head as I re-emerge.  From my kneeling position, I notice only the legs at first, and the slightly frayed, bell-bottom jeans. Then I see a hand with slender fingers, and nails that have never been chewed, outstretched to me, taking hold of my arm and helping me up.

“Hey,” says my Adonis. “I really liked what you wrote. You’ve got a nice style.” His smile is framed by his even, white teeth.

I stare, forcing myself to overcome the state of shock I’m in and the incredulity of the moment. He can’t be talking to me, can he? I turn around to see if there’s someone behind me that he’s addressing. Nope. Most of the class has already left.  I stumble over my words, wanting to thank him.

Instead, I just say, “Really?”

“Yeah, very nice. My name’s Rick, by the way.” He looks at me expectantly. “And you are–?”

I gulp. “Married.”

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