The night started off slow.
Ice cream was in order.
They went to Baskin Robbins, and coincidentally ended up sitting in the very seats that she had sat in almost a year and a half ago, on a date with a guy that this one reminded her of.
Although he was from Hawaii, he knew Spanish. She always wished she could speak Spanish because she could understand a lot of it but not speak it adequately enough to carry on a conversation. She told him to tell her stories in Spanish while she tried to figure out what they were, laughing at her own inability while he patiently spoke and then would teach her what the words were in English.
At closing time, they tried to think of what else they could do in this town where movies seem to be the only option during the colder months. Both of them were the types to want to do something more exciting than let a night go to waste on that. He asked if the Christmas lights at an outdoor mall were still up, and because she works close to them, she knew they were.
He parked the car and they got out to walk around. Neither of them had been here but had wanted to go. Stepping onto the cobblestone walkway between the shops, she thought to herself that it felt like she was stepping into a movie. It felt like The Notebook when Noah and Allie walked along the sidewalk together and laid in the street. Later it would feel more like A Cinderella Story.
Lights were strung across the walkway overhead, which seemed to close the cold air into a cozy and romantic setting. They both commented how amazing it was as they looked into the sky, huddled closely to each other as they kept walking. Not a soul was in sight in this quaint little deserted town they had stepped into.
The Hawaiian discovered a tall fountain with running water, that doubled as a wishing well with coins in it. He said he wished he had some so they could make a wish and then excitedly remembered that he did have some leftover from the ice cream earlier. He got out two pennies and said that they had to turn around, make a wish, and throw them over their shoulders. She giggled at his charm, loving the fact that he was spontaneous and silly. With their backs to the fountain and at the count of three, they threw their coins and turned around after, probably wondering what the other had wished and if it was the same wish. They hugged and started kissing at the wishing well of their private street for the night.
Her nose was cold on his cheeks. She wondered if she was feeling butterflies kissing him or if it was just shivering from the cold. As she kissed him she felt her guard slipping into that newly familiar feeling that she could maybe like him. She realized she was kissing him differently than even two days previously, with slightly more feeling behind it this time. An outward manifestation of her subconscious losing its will.
They stood hugging in the cold and then he saw the darkened gazebo further down, in the center of the shops and walkway. He said they had to check it out and that they should dance in it or something. She joked that now he could show her his slow dancing skills that he had previously boasted about.
When they got up to the gazebo, he grabbed her hands and twirled her into their starting dance position. She laughed again, as she wasn’t used to guys doing stuff like this, yet had always wanted to. He said that since there was no music, he would just have to provide it. Then she suggested that she could bring a song up on her phone. He replied enthusiastically “Oh yeah! Ok play a country love song since you say those are the best kind.”
She quickly thought to herself which song she should pick… there were so many options but she didn’t want anything that would be too scary for her in this situation. She thought about the song “Then” by Brad Paisley because it’s adorable, but realized that one was too much about love and it was too soon. Then, she had it.
While she brought it up on her phone she told him the song and he said he didn’t think he knew it.
The music started and he pulled her in close to start dancing. The first lines of another Brad Paisley song sifted across the cold night air comfortably, and were perfectly clear under the echo of the gazebo.
“… The bar was empty… I was sweepin up the floor. That’s when she walked in, I said ‘I’m sorry but we’re closed’…”
He mentioned under his breath that he did in fact know this song and loved it. He sang the words in a quiet whisper and went in and out of singing and humming the words in her ear while they danced.
She closed her eyes while he hummed and they swayed to the steel guitar. For those 3 minutes and 39 seconds she tried to lose herself in this moment. Considering the idea that just maybe she could let herself like him or even date him. The panic of the situation could set in later, but for that small window of time, she let herself go.
I can’t explain what happened on that floor.
And we danced
Out there on that empty hardwood floor
The chairs up and the lights turned way down low
The music played, we held each other close
And we danced