A street in Montreal, some time in the spring. The snow was gone, and I was happy, heading over to L's house for John Cusack Night. JCN always involves making Pillsbury chocolate chip cookies, filing our nails, and wistfully sighing over High Fidelity, Say Anything, and/or Grosse Pointe Blank. Anyways, I was listening to some music on headphones, and smiling, in my own little oblivious music bubble as I walked to L's apartment on Rue Sainte Famille. As I approached her building, I saw the. most. gorgeous. man. He was ambling up the sidewalk towards me.
Young (25 or so), black, absolutely stunningly beautiful. He was wearing a beautiful corduroy blazer with leather patches on the sleeves, that on anyone else would have looked contrived, but on him, looked just right. He had a well-loved leather courier bag slung over one shoulder, and was carrying the New York Times (I shit you not. The New York Times) under one arm. He looked like he'd just finished working as an extra on Dead Poet's Society. Ivy League, into poetry, handsome. In short, uh, my dream man. Although this didn't register with me, still firmly in my music bubble. As he walked past me, I smiled, actually at the music I was listening to, but he thought it was for him, and he stopped dead.
I have to say I don't think I'm all that, and I certainly didn't think so then, so I was a little astonished when he appeared a little dumbstruck, and so I didn't stop. I kept going, a few paces, and turned in to L's building and pressed her buzzer. As I waited for her answer, I noticed he was still standing in the sidewalk, staring at me and smiling this very dazed smile that said that he couldn't understand why he had stopped dead in the street either.
I smiled up the street at him a little nervously, shuffling my feet, trying to look ultra-casual as I waited for L to buzz me up. Before she could buzz, he was coming back down the street towards me. My stomach dropped. I took a deep breath, smiled, and turned around to face him. He stopped in front of me and took my right hand in his, staring into my eyes.
"I'm Winston," he said. "What's your name?"
Stammering, I told him. He replied that it was a beautiful name. I said thank you. I had nothing else to say. Neither did he. The buzzer on L's door was now buzzing behind me, and I took a half step back, said it was nice to meet him, and reached for the door handle.
"Wait," he said, putting a hand on my shoulder to stop me. I turned again to face him.
"Can I kiss you?" he asked.
I laughed nervously and said no.
"Why not?" he said.
"Because I don't know you," I said.
"So?" he said, smiling.
"Sooooo, I don't kiss boys I don't know," I said, for reasons still unbeknownst to me. I totally kiss boys I don't know. I did then and I still do now. For some reason I thought this would make him think less of me. He sized me up for a moment, both of us saying nothing, staring at each other.
"OK then," he said sadly. "It was nice to meet you." He turned and walked down the steps of L's building back to the sidewalk. Stunned, I scuttered up to L's apartment, breathlessly told her the whole story, and proceeded to spend the rest of the evening pounding my head against the wall and wailing, "Why didn't I just KISS him?" I actually paced for much of the evening.
Why didn't he ask for my number? Why didn't I give it to him of my own volition? Why didn't I kiss him? Why did he just walk away? Why did he have to be so cute? Why why why why why?
Well, it's 4 years later and I'm still mourning the loss of Winston. My friends and I placed one of those "I saw you" ads in the Montreal Hour with an email address, saying, "Winston: you asked to kiss me on the street. I owe you one, anywhere, anytime."
Nothing. I'm still waiting to repay the man. Sigh.
So, yeah, Winston, if you're out there, and you remember me, drop me a line: you're officially The One That Got Away.