Monday, August 22, 2005


He remembers my blonde ponytail.

I remember his skinny legs.

He says I was intimidating.

I tell him he was way too shy—why didn’t he send me “Polo” cologne-scented letters like the rest of the camp boys?

“Am I really sitting across the table from the Belle?” Southern Boy asks me over dinner at “Bottega,” a Birmingham hot spot.

I feel vaguely uncomfortable with the question. The men in New York always tell me how important they are; they say that I’m lucky to have 3 hours of their non-cell phone, non-Blackberry time.

Not so with Southern Boy.

When we’re together his smile is big, broad and genuine—the eyes, wide and incredulous.

“Come on,” he continues, “why are you here? What have I done to deserve the blessing of you in my life?”

Blessing—there’s a word that never crosses a Manhattan man’s lips.

“I walked into your restaurant—that’s how. Fate, karma—all that stuff you never fully believe in until it happens to you—that’s how we’re together.” I take a sip of my Sancerre and think that maybe once I’ve been dealt a winning hand. Just in case, I knock on the underside of the table.

He reaches over the table, touches my cheek, lowers his head.

The kiss.

So this is a man...

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