Friday, May 28, 2010

The Bear's Daughter

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"I wonder if Leonard Cohen has this much trouble tuning his guitar?" I asked wryly, to the delight of my date and the couple sitting next to her. We were attending a concert by Judy Collins in Denver and she was having the hardest time getting her guitar in tune while introducing a song by Leonard Cohen, the title of which I forgot long ago. My date, however, I've never forgotten.

She was an older woman -- a high school senior, I was a junior -- and the daughter of one of my instructors. They were Pakistani and she had the most beautiful black hair and dark eyes. I thought a gentleman refrained from kissing the girl on a first date back then -- she did, we didn't, nor did she ever go out with me again. Oops.

It's not that I wasn't interested, because I was, but I think I was a little ahead of my time. See, I wanted to generate curiosity and imagined her leaning back against the door as I drove away, wondering what it would have been like, the magic moment our lips met and the stars all sighed in unison. If a guy follows the advice of the various love advisers on the web and in print, we're supposed to keep women guessing. Uh-huh.

The shy "Would you like to come in?" followed by a tantalizing "My father goes to bed early" as she dimmed the lights, a few years later would have had her in my arms at light speed. Back then, however, I stood my ground. A man has to have his convictions, by golly, even he does live to regret it.

I consoled myself after receiving her curt, "No thanks, not on your life," response to my request for a second date a week or so later, by reminding myself it probably wouldn't have worked out. I liked her father, he was a good teacher -- he was also big. Very big. Much bigger than I was. Besides, even if a bear hibernates, he has to wake up sometime and with my luck, just as I was reaching for his daughter, he'd have decided it was spring.

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