I carry a lighter, not because I smoke but because I find that women who do are very attractive, and on the off chance that one ever needs a light I want to be prepared. In my mind, I have a fantasy about a beautiful woman, dark lipstick, long brown hair, heavy eyeliner, looking hopelessly around the Cathedral steps for someone to light her cigarette. I see her patting down her pockets, shuffling through her purse, only to look up and see me offering exactly what she needs without her asking. In her reaction I’ll see her recognition, recognition of our fate and my deliberate manner. Somehow, she’ll know I was meant to be there to offer her that lighter on that day and she won’t have a choice but to accept my offer for a drink sometime in the near future. She’ll never know that I had carried it patiently, sometimes anxiously, waiting for her perfect figure to meet my perfect timing. Like the universe we know, her and I will begin by a spark, a flame, a Big Bang, a moment; we too will be infinite.
“Light?” I’ll ask her passively, as if I wasn’t sure what she needed.
“Oh? Thanks,” she’ll say, with a confused gratitude. “How’d you –“
“It was probably the pack of cigarettes in your hand,” I’ll tell her with a wink.
“Ah…yes…Is your name Sherlock?” she’ll ask, like a smart ass.
“Isaac,” I’d say seriously, with my hand out.
I won’t hear her name.
What I will hear is the click of the lighter, the sound of two rocks rubbing together. She’ll take her first drag deep, with an off smile, not sure whether I’m going to stay and talk or walk away. She’ll look up again, blowing the smoke out of the corner of her mouth, and I’ll be struck – quieted, muted, caught – by her eyes.
“This might seem insane,” I’ll start. She’ll lean back with a teasing smile, as if she were suddenly scared to be near me. “But, I promised myself the next time I saw you I’d ask you out for a drink.”
“How many times have you seen me?” She’ll ask, with some kind of insecurity in her voice, taking another drag.
“Twice, before today,” I’d lie, knowing I had never seen her before. “I’m not asking for a date, just a drink, on me.”
“How about right now?” She’d ask. “I’ll go if you come with me right now.”
I’ll forget about class. About homework. About the project or that ex-girlfriend or my plan not to drink this week. I’ll practically chase her to the bar. We’ll walk in and she’ll order some beer I’ve never heard of, and I’ll fall for her; for her style, her edginess, how bold she is, how different she seems. I’ll pledge in my head to kill for the kind of beauty she has. I’ll promise myself that I won’t fall for that look in her eyes that she’s seen more than me, that she isn’t impressed yet but she’s curious, that maybe she’d be willing to give us asshole guys one more shot.
It won’t take a long time for us to consummate our chemistry in the bar in the bedroom. I’ll say that to her after, and she’ll tell me she hates the word “consummate.” I’ll love her for caring about language. I’ll lay next to her in bed and worry about the fact we slept together on the first date, and as if she can hear my thoughts she’ll say off-handedly, “that’s the first time I’ve ever taken a guy home on the first date.” I’ll believe her. She’ll look through me in a way that doesn’t make me feel as if I’m not there, but rather that she can see the way I function, that her eyes act like emotional X-ray machines, that I am somehow predictable.
We won’t talk for a while; we’ll just stare at each other. Our feet will tangle like unkempt hair, our ankles and knees and toes prodding and wrapping and curling. Our shoulders will come out from the top of the sheets, it will be cold, but we won’t move. We’ll just stare. Every few minutes a smile will crawl onto one of our faces, and then we’ll laugh, and then we’ll kiss, and then we’ll go back to staring again. I’ll push her bangs out of her eyes because I’ve seen guys do that in the movies before, and she’ll blush and look down.
After a while, her blinks will get longer, her eyes will slowly shut. I’ll take the time to stare at her make up and I’ll adore something about her eyelashes and eyebrows that just seem so feminine. Suddenly I’ll hear her take a deep breath, one of those long ones where I know she’s falling asleep. I’ll adjust my arms and body and inch a little closer and I’ll tuck my nose to the side of hers and I’ll let our lips brush against each other and I’ll take a deep breath too and then I’ll spend my first night with that girl who I had saved the lighter for and like a spark, like the Big Bang, I’ll be in love.