Chapter 18: Kiss me, Handsome
It is just midnight when Dwayne gets out of the shower. He ties a towel around his waist and walks out on the balcony. Fifty years old. He hadn’t thought about getting older even two weeks ago, but now all seems changed. He talked a little heavy with the guys tonight. His mood is a little dark. Fifty years old! This summer is the end of something and it is, also, the beginning. Dwayne thinks about the phrase “transitional period” as he ponders the future. Isn’t all of life transitional until death? Just feels at this age like the transitions might be getting fewer. Time to become what he is going to become as a man until he transitions into old age. What does he want the next ten to fifteen years to look like? He has free-will, doesn’t he? Can’t he decide his own fate? He can choose to pursue a career where young women expose their tits to him, media is always wanting to talk to him and he can, apparently, become as big of a star as anyone could be. He didn’t really understand this was an option until this summer. He knows he does not want that. He is sure. He could choose his quieter life of teaching college, but he would be settling. He cannot imagine now going back to the life he had just a couple of weeks ago. He wants to be a full time singer, musician, and composer. Singer? Yes, he wants to be the front man and the star of the show. He didn’t know that, either, until this summer. He needs to figure out how to have the dream, but still distance himself from the media hype and extras that comes with fame. If there is a way to be just famous enough or put the right protections around you, then maybe he could avoid some of the obsessive behaviors of the past. He is not concerned about drugs. He has that licked, but being an addict has taught him that he is capable of obsessive, destructive behaviors. There are many different ways to self-destruct. How to stay strong and healthy? His mind turns to a future love. He thinks about the blonde in his dreams. He yearns for someone.
Dwayne sees some fireworks in the distance. He hears some gun shots. People still celebrating the country’s independence. He suddenly has a craving for some homemade ice cream. He remembers an ice cream machine Dani and he had bought one summer and all the different recipes they tried. He remembers them each getting a bowl of different flavors and then switching bowls half way through. He is definitely lonely for a woman. Maybe because of his age or the girls tonight or the conversation with the guys, but he would like a woman here with him tonight. He remembers that journalist, Jackie. Her breasts compares to Carolyn’s. Hasn’t even been a week since he saw her, but for tonight –only for tonight, he wishes she was here. Long-term? Too young and too ambitious. He thinks again about the blonde in his dreams. He has freewill during this transition period. If there is one thing he could do now to change his future, what would it be? What is the most important thing he wants? To write a song! If I really had free will, I could figure out how to write a song. Fifty!
He hears sirens in the distance. He tries to figure out if they are ambulances, fire trucks, or police. He tries to put himself into someone else’s life tonight. Somewhere a person is dying. Somewhere a person is being arrested. A line from a John Donne poem comes to him “for whom the Bell Tolls.” He changes the words “asks not for whom the siren sounds, it sounds for thee.” It makes no sense really, he thinks, but it is the first creative play with words he has had in weeks. He so wants to write a song! The sirens are closer. He hurriedly puts on sweats, pulls the old Laker’s cap over his wet hair, grabs his wallet, room key, and puts on his tennis shoes without bothering with socks. He will just go see what is going on. He will follow the sound of the sirens. He laughs. It is not quite what Homer had in mind, but they are calling to him nonetheless. He picks up a little notepad and pen off the desk and puts them in his pocket. He remembers Tom telling him that when he got writer’s block, he would just try to describe something not related to the story he was writing: a garbage truck emptying the trash, a man walking his dog. Dwayne thinks he could simply write down and describe whatever scene he sees. Maybe that will help him to get the lyrics flowing again.
He takes the elevator down to the lobby, walks past the pictures of him and the band, and exits out of a side door to avoid the crowd in the bar. It isn’t hard to see where the action is. Paramedics, police officers, one ambulance with lights on pulling away, are just two straight blocks up.
He approaches the scene and sees that, whatever has happened, has been resolved. There is a man in a cowboy hat sitting in back of a police cruiser, the two young women who had previously exposed their breasts to him are being helped into a taxi by one police officer, a paramedic is treating a young man who just seems to have a bloody nose, another paramedic is shining a light in another man’s eyes and asking him to follow his fingers, a police officer has three men isolated across the street and seems to be giving each of them a sobriety test. They are in front of a bar, Duke’s. Okay, he thinks, what is the story? A bar brawl got a little out of hand; probably involved those women who left in the cab. Dwayne is thinking this seems to have all the inspirational elements he should need to write a country song. He now notices, closer to the bar door, a police officer talking to a woman. He seems to be taking her statement. Is she a witness, a bar employee? Her back is towards him. She is tall, slender, legs for days leading to a beautiful ass, strawberry blonde hair in a bun. He imagines himself helping her take down that bun. He somehow knows that her hair is long like the woman in his dreams. He has a sudden urge to walk up behind her and simply put his arms around her. She might lean back and surrender her body to his strength. He would whisper in her ear, “Darlin’, I’m sorry you are having such a hard night.” Without thinking of his actions, he has walked up next to the door. He is standing on the other side of the open bar door as he hears the police officer ask her if there was anyone who would make sure she got home safely. The police officer seems to know the woman. Through the conversation, Dwayne realizes the police officer covers this area and the woman is the manager at the bar. She is dismissive of his concern for her safety. She says lives a couple of blocks away. She would clean up and then walk home. The police officer says to call him when she is ready. He is working this area through the morning. It is not a problem to escort her home after an incident like this. Lots of people left on the streets tonight, the police officer says. Again, she is dismissive; she can take care of herself. Dwayne steps through the open door into the bar.
The bar smells of different types of alcohol mixed together. Tables and chairs, some broken, are over-turned. Glasses, some broken, are here and there on the floor. The alcohol that had been in the glasses had formed puddles on the floor and the puddles had dried quickly in the dry Albuquerque air; leaving sticky residue which would be hard to clean.
Sandy walks into the bar and comes face to face with Dwayne. He thinks to himself that she has a beautiful face and is considerably older than he had thought looking at her from the back; closer to his age. Sandy is cognizant of the fact that he is the most strikingly handsome man she has ever seen. She is, also, annoyed to find anyone in the bar. “If you are here for a drink, we’re closed”.
Dwayne’s eyes turns to look at the bar and Sandy’s eyes follow. What a mess! Two very drunk younger women wandered into the bar and she refused to serve them. When she found a table of men were coming up to the bar to buy drinks and then giving them to the women, she informed them that, if they continued, they would be cut off, also. Once the women were no longer getting drinks from that table of men, they started flirting with other men and suddenly it was a full bar brawl. Now it is 1:30 am. Her bartender had left in an ambulance. The wait staff fled. Sandy is left with the task of cleaning before she goes home. Sandy turns to Dwayne and gestures at the open door.
Sandy: As you can see, we’re not open for business and I need to lock up.
Dwayne: I turned fifty about an hour ago. Have one drink with me and I will help you to clean up. You can’t do it all by yourself, can you?
Sandy: There’s another bar up the street.
Dwayne: Is there a damsel in distress and need of help, because that’s really my thing, wandering around trying to help women who seem like they had a bad night.
Sandy: Oh, you think of yourself as a knight, do you?
Dwayne: A knight, a prince, or just a man who wants to help.
Sandy: You’re not a cowboy are you because I have had enough of cowboys to last me a lifetime.
Sandy is surprised that he is fifty. He looks younger. The thought of someone to help her is appealing and it doesn’t hurt that he is nice to look at. She closes and locks the front door and moves behind the bar. She pulls a bottle off the shelf- Agavero, a tequila liquor. It is a special bottle, but she feels she’s earned it and he just turned fifty. As she pours the drinks, she looks sideways at him to check him out. Dwayne thinks he should probably confess to the whole cowboy thing. She is joking, right? Still, he thinks it might be better not to tell her. There is something about her. He wants to know this woman better. He decides a lie of omission isn’t really a lie.
Dwayne: I teach college and write poetry. (He didn’t know why he added that last piece.)
Dwayne: No. I’m from California.
Sandy: Well, I work at a bar and write poetry. (This is the first time Sandy has self-described as a poet).
Dwayne: You do? I will recite mine, if you recite yours.
Sandy hands him a drink, wishes him a happy birthday, and informs him that she is much too tired for that. Dwayne takes the drink, downs it quickly and asks for an apron. Sandy smiles. Charming, kind, handsome, a poet, the soul mate thought crosses her mind, but she mentally pushes it away. He is not a cowboy! He is handsome, though. Damn! She hands Dwayne a broom and dust pan.
They get down to the work. Dwayne begins by piling all the broken chairs and tables against the wall. He tells Sandy she can be the detail crew. He will take care of the larger items. He jokingly flexes his muscles when he says that. Good biceps, thinks Sandy. She begins by picking up the broken glass. Dwayne notices Sandy keeps pushing an errant strand of hair back into her bun and eventually leaves it fallen. It reminds him of a poem he had written about Dani shortly after their divorce. He jokes with Sandy as she brings out a tray on which to pile the unbroken glasses. As she carries it to the back sink, he picks the perfect moment to yell at her not to drop it. He reaches out to steady the tray as she almost drops it and they laugh together. Dwayne is repeatedly struck, every time her back is turned, by how much she looks like the woman in his dreams. Sandy turns to say something to him as he is on his hands and knees trying to scrub up the alcohol. Nice ass! As they work, Dwayne asks Sandy how long she had worked there and is she originally from Albuquerque. She tells him about the fight at the bar and he interjects with witticisms as appropriate. He finds out she really does dislike cowboys for some strange reason. It is 3:30 am when Sandy says “enough is enough. We are done”. She thanks him for how much he has helped. Dwayne notices Sandy looking at his hands as he squeezes out the mop.
Dwayne: You can ask outright. No wedding ring- not for twenty years now and no current attachments.
Sandy: Not quite the way you would want to spend your birthday.
Dwayne: Well, there’s a lot more of it left.
Sandy hands him a bottled water and he follows her to the back office. She collapses into the comfortable office chair and he sits on the floor beside her. Sandy asks him how he spent the fourth. He sighs and tells her traveling. He had just gotten into the hotel at 10 p.m. It had been a long day.
Dwayne: And you?
Sandy: It started this morning –I guess yesterday morning now- with me taking my teenage daughter and her friend to a carnival.
Dwayne: And her father?
Sandy: Not in the picture. No serious attachments at this time.
Dwayne: I love getting the relationship status talk out of the way.
Sandy: You are just traveling through? How long will you stay?
Dwayne: I roll out on Thursday.
Dwayne had avoided answering questions which would reveal his “cowboy” affiliation. He realizes Sandy’s next question was bound to be why he was in town. Searching for some way to change the subject and still distracted by the strand of hair which has escaped Sandy’s bun, he tells her his ex-wife was in food service and always wore her hair in a bun. Her hair was dark and she always had that one strand of hair which wouldn’t stay in place. After their divorce, he had felt bad about how hard she had worked to support him through school and it was hard not to think of her in her uniform with her hair in a bun and that one hair strand. He wrote a poem about it, then, and had been thinking about it all night while looking at Sandy’s hair.
Errant Strand of Hair
It strays from your hair clip
Seeking to caress your cheek.
You push it away a time or two
Before letting it rest, curled,
Not because you want it there,
But because you have given up
On putting it back in its place.
I could be content to be that
Errant strand of hair.
He is a poet, she thinks, who has been in love and he is so handsome. Soulmate? No, not a cowboy. She is relieved. She is too tired to deal with meeting her soulmate this morning. She touches the strand of hair which has fallen out of her bun. What does it matter if or when she will ever meet a soulmate? He is in town for a couple of nights only and is clearly looking for some fun. He is so handsome. She unclips her bun. She lets her hair flow down and lowers her head. The bottom of her long hair is hanging in front of Dwayne. He notices it is redder than blonde underneath. She runs her finger through it massaging her scalp and then flips it back straightening it down with her hands. Dwayne notices her hair has many different colors; strands of red and some grey mingling, highlighting the blonde. She has to know, he thinks, how sexy that was; especially after my poem. She is flirting or teasing me.
Dwayne: Is your hair its natural color?
Sandy: Never dyed or highlighted. It was red when I was a child, but has turned blonde with age.
Dwayne thinks of the teenager in his dream with the red hair.
Dwayne: Have you always worked in food service?
Sandy: I was a professional dancer when younger-modern dance- don’t go thinking I was on the pole or anything.
Dwayne raises his eyebrows suddenly struck by an image of her pole dancing, but his mind quickly goes to the images in his dreams. Can it possibly be? Sandy wonders if he will ever make a move.
Sandy: Your poem was beautiful. You must have loved your wife.
Dwayne: I did at one time. Then, I didn’t and I hurt her. Now the love and hurt and regret all seems to be one emotion.
Sandy: I have never been in love.
Dwayne: Not your daughter’s father?
Sandy: No. I don’t think I believe really in love.
They sit in silence for a few minutes. Each is exhausted from the activities of the fourth. Here it is four a.m. on the fifth and neither has slept. Each wants to find comfort in the other, but are unsure how to begin.
Dwayne: It’s your turn. I think I’ve earned a little piece of your poetry.
Sandy: My poems are all written in a male’s voice.
Sandy finds herself repeating the first verse of “An Uncommonly Handsome Man”. It is the first time she has recited this poem to anyone else, but she has repeated it many times in her head. As she says the first few sentences, Dwayne realizes it is a poem about flirtation. She is giving him an undeniable sign. He rises to his knees and swivels her chair towards him. They are looking eye to eye when she says the line, “Though your eyes say.” She stops unable to go on. She is staring in his eyes which seem a little darker than before. He stares back at her. He is aware that this is a moment of passion, but he is struck by the unusual nature of this poem. He wants to hear more. He prompts her, “Though your eyes say”. She whispers “kiss me, handsome”. She swallows hard after saying it. Dwayne whispers “then what?” Sandy says, “Well, babe, you are only human. You will take me tonight as I am.” Dwayne leans in for a kiss. Sandy closes her eyes and lifts her mouth eagerly. As his lips are about to touch hers, Dwayne thinks that she could be the woman from his dream and he is about to kiss her. Then, the thought comes, he has met her and told her a lie. He sighs and pushes himself up off the floor. He wants to be honest with her before he kisses her. He thinks to himself that surely she was joking about the cowboy thing. He doesn’t know why, but suddenly he wants to tell her all about himself. He wants her to know every detail of who he is and what his heart yearns for before he kisses her. He cannot be satisfied with casual sex with her. This relationship is not going to be casual. If she is the woman in his dreams, it cannot be casual. Sandy opens her eyes in surprise when he didn’t kiss her. Sandy feels as if sharing her poem with him exposed herself to him as vulnerable. Vulnerability is something she does not usually share so easily with a man. She feels rejected. What would have been a better opportunity to kiss her?
Dwayne: I haven’t been completely honest.
Sandy: You are married or attached.
Dwayne: No- I haven’t lied to you, exactly. I just haven’t told you everything.
Sandy: You’re gay.
Dwayne: I most certainly am not. It’s funny really. I’m kind of a cowboy. I write country songs. I’m a musician songwriter. I’m also a college professor. So now you know my secret.
Sandy thinks to herself that he is the one coming to her when she sleeps. He is tall, rugged, uncommonly handsome, a poet and a country songwriter. Soul-mate! Except her soulmate just rejected her. He also started out lying to her. She also thinks that he should have been wearing a cowboy hat instead of a Laker’s cap so she would have known right off who he was. Irrationally she feels betrayed because he had not disclosed up front that he was her soulmate and was planning to sweep her off her feet. God damn him!
There can have been no worse time for fate, if that is what it is, to have brought him to her. She is exhausted. Her last nerve is frayed. She wonders what she must look like. Is that why he hadn’t kissed her? She wonders how much he might know about her being his soulmate. Has he been hearing her thoughts in his sleep? What was the point in their souls coming together? Just so he could lie to her? Just her luck that the soul mate she had loved over life times would be a fucking asshole. Sandy finds herself getting scared and going into a defensive fight mode. What does actually meeting him mean? She is afraid of giving up her independence. Maybe after living lifetimes with this asshole, she is supposed to live alone and now he is here to screw that up. She remembers the obsession she had felt for Isadora’s father. Damn, Dwayne, to be her soulmate and to be so ridiculously handsome. Would she fall into a similar obsession? She was furious at Dwayne and at fate because Dwayne was so handsome. It does not make sense for a man to be that handsome at his age. Yes, she likes handsome well enough, but this guy is like movie star handsome. How could she exercise free will and stay independent if he is her soul mate and so good-looking? She becomes more and more infuriated. She hadn’t asked for any of it: not a soul mate, not poems or songs, not having to go to regression hypnosis or seeing a fortune teller. It is a violation, she thinks, him entering my brain without my permission.
Dwayne has been standing for a while expecting her response. He wonders what she could be thinking about so long in her pretty head. He sees her face seems to be getting flushed. “Darlin’?” Sandy recognizes the voice when he says the word. It sends her over the edge.
Sandy: You’re the asshole playing the dulcimer and wearing the cowboy hat and eagle shirt, aren’t you?
Dwayne: (surprised by her strong reaction) Well, I’m not an asshole.
Sandy: Oh my god, you’re the reason the fight happened tonight.
Dwayne (at a loss for why she is so angry): How did I cause the fight?
Sandy: Because all these damn cowboys are in town for you and you got them all inflamed, on the Fourth of July no less, with patriotism and testosterone and the myth, the myth of the Western motif. You know, it’s all a myth and you are manipulating and exploiting the myth. You are smart, kind, charming, funny and handsome and so all the men want to be like you, but you’re not real. You don’t exist in the real world.
Dwayne (feeling like he should defend himself): Wait I, I, I don’t even know how to respond because I don’t know what I’m being accused of. I’m a singer/songwriter. Yes, I play the dulcimer and wear a cowboy hat. I do exist. I’m real. I can tell you for a fact I exist.
Sandy: But you know what you are doing. Those poor young girls tonight that are so taken with you. I heard them talking to the men tonight about you. They are so infatuated.
Dwayne: I know they showed their tits to me (why did I say that?)
Sandy: Well, like it’s their fault you are so fucking handsome.
Dwayne: Well… thank you. (Strangest argument ever)
Sandy: Get the hell out of here. (She unlocks and holds the back door open)
Dwayne: (Can she be serious?) I need to understand. I thought we had something going here. I thought you were into me.
Sandy: Into you? Why would I be into you? You are the least desirable man I have ever met. There’s no way I would ever fuck you. (Why did she go there?)
Dwayne: Let’s just say I wanted to fuck you, what is the reason you wouldn’t?
Sandy: (Sandy lets the door slam.) Because you’re so handsome. It’s like a cliché, and all that charm and being kind. Then, you’re a college professor and you write poetry on top of that-so you’re smart! (I am making no sense. He is so handsome, I can’t think.)
Dwayne: You wouldn’t have sex with me because I’m smart, kind, funny, charming and handsome. Those traits, in your mind, make me unfuckable.
Sandy: It’s because you know you are all of those things. It’s pretty arrogant for you to think that every woman you meet wants to have sex with you. You can just snap your fingers and we are supposed to fall into your arms. Guys like you…
Dwayne: (Guys like me!) Come on, babe, you are only human.
Sandy: (How dare he throw those words back at me?) You might come across as perfect, but there must be something else seriously wrong with you. (She tries to think of an insult). Cowboy!
Dwayne: Why don’t you like cowboys? I don’t actually work on a ranch with cows, you know.
Sandy: That’s why it’s a myth. You wear the cowboy hat and the eagle shirt and because we are programmed to believe cowboys are handsome and noble, we think you are attractive. But you are not really a cowboy and so by manipulating the image you are actually ugly and repulsive. You just try to get us to think you’re a cowboy, so we will have sex with you.
Dwayne: Well I’m not playing the role of a cowboy tonight. I am in sweats and a cap and tennis shoes. I am just a guy who showed up at your door and saw you needed help. Yet, you still thought I was handsome. Your eyes still said you wanted to kiss me.
Sandy: You didn’t help me out to be a good guy. All that damsel in distress stuff. You just wanted to get me in the sack.
Dwayne: You think I need to spend two hours cleaning to bed a woman? I have women walking up to me and showing me their tits. (Why do I keep bringing that up?) I don’t need to play games to get people in bed.
Sandy: So you didn’t want to get me in the sack? Good, then no harm done.
Dwayne: (I absolutely want to go to bed with her. Why am I fighting with her instead?) I wanted to get to know you because I thought you were beautiful. That’s why I walked into the bar and then you needed my help. I am glad I helped because it was fun to be with you. Your poem, you’re so talented. I wanted to kiss you. I didn’t because I wanted to be sure I was completely honest with you before I kissed you.
Sandy: (If he had just kissed me, we wouldn’t be fighting). Why? Why was it so important to be honest? We don’t mean anything to each other. It would have just been as easy to take me right here on the floor as to stop and be honest with me. You could have just kissed me.
Dwayne (incredulous that she is angry because he was trying to be honest with her.) I wanted to be honest because I am actually a good guy and that myth of the cowboy as honest and true may be a myth, but I believe in honesty and truth. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings by not kissing you. I would love to kiss you now.
Sandy: Fuck you! Do you think I need you to kiss me? I have a man on the side I can call anytime and I have another man I’m going on a date with tonight to see your show.
Dwayne: Why are you coming to the show if you hate cowboys in general and apparently me in particular so much?
Sandy: To make fun of the people who come to see you because they believe in all that crap. I bet you have all kinds of love songs about true love and love at first sight and all that sentimental hogwash crap. (None of that soulmate stuff is true or we wouldn’t be in this argument.)
Dwayne: Yes, that’s the kind of asshole I am. I believe in love. I have a song about making love to a woman for the first time and thinking that, yes, we might have lived before. It’s actually quite famous: “It’s the First time.” Heard of it? (Everybody’s heard of it. It is that famous.)
Sandy: No, I don’t like songs with words. I am more of a classical music fan myself. It sounds really lame, though. Can’t wait to hear it tonight and laugh at it.
Dwayne: (Bitch) You are a mean spirited woman. What kind of person doesn’t like love songs? What kind of person goes to a concert just to make fun of people who likes the music?
Sandy: A woman who doesn’t need a knight or a prince or a cowboy.
Sandy opens the back door to the bar and Dwayne walks out. Sandy has won the fight. She bursts into tears. She is as sad as she has ever been. She successfully pushed her one chance at true love away. She shakes her head. This cannot be right. All of this soulmate stuff has been a load of crap. How could she have believed in any of it?
Dwayne finds himself in an alley. The smell from the trash is of a mixture of alcohol, cigarettes, composting coffee grinds, and other things he doesn’t want to imagine. He has a gag reaction which shakes him into reality. He shakes his head. That woman is just nuts! He thinks that for a woman who found him unfuckable, she certainly was upset that he didn’t kiss her. It didn’t make sense. Certainly, she is not the woman in his dreams. He can push that out of his mind forever. He realizes that by arguing about his looks they were role playing the poem. He thinks about how similar the poem had been to the discussion he had with the journalist following their first night together. Damn! He liked the poem. He wishes he had heard all of it. It is the darkest time of the day; the time right before dawn begins. He walks through the ally and sees a homeless man by the trash can. Damn! Dwayne remembers the policeman telling Sandy she shouldn’t walk home alone. She is so stubborn. He knows she is going to walk home alone unless he walks with her.
Dwayne walks to the front door of the bar and waits for Sandy to walk out. He breathes in and out trying to tell himself just to stay calm. Doesn’t matter what she thinks of him. Only thing that matters is he makes sure she gets home safe. I can’t control her; only how I respond to her. Sandy opens the door and looks at him. She walks out, locks the door and turns to look at him again. Dwayne can tell she has been crying. He thinks of the woman in his dreams. She looks like her, he remembers, even though he doesn’t believe it is her. Was she so upset that he hadn’t kissed her?
Dwayne: I’m going to walk you home to make sure you’re safe. If you tell me no, I will follow you until I know you’re safe. I know it is the thing a knight would do and you don’t need one, but, at least you know I’m not doing it to get you in the sack, because we both know that’s not going to happen.
Sandy: We agree on that.
They walk in silence for a few minutes. Sandy is embarrassed by how she acted. She wonders if it is possible to salvage any of her dignity tonight. With the release of her tears, her mood has changed from anger and frustration to regret and loneliness.
Sandy: Thank you for helping me tonight. It was nice of you.
Dwayne: Well, thank you for the birthday drink.
Sandy laughs: Yeah, well, happy birthday.
Dwayne: The rest of the day can only get better from here.
Sandy: (He doesn’t know I might be his soulmate.) What do you think you would do if you met her?
Sandy: The woman in your song; the one you have sex with for the first time and realize you had loved each other in another life time.
Dwayne: Unfortunately, I would likely break her heart. It would be like my ex-wife, I’m sure. I wouldn’t want to hurt her, but I would.
Sandy understands why he says this. From her dreams, she knows him and she knows how afraid he is to hurt another woman. She realizes that is the reason he had stopped before he kissed her to tell her the truth. He was trying to avoid hurting her. How horribly she had responded to him. Yet, he still wants to make sure she gets home safe. She thinks he might be a true knight and she is just a witch.
Sandy: I will look forward to hearing the song.
Dwayne laughs: Looking forward to making fun of it?
Sandy: Seriously. I’m sorry. I have no good explanation for tonight. I just don’t know how to act when people are nice to me. I’m used to taking care of myself.
They stop at the stairs which leads up to her condominium. Dwayne thinks how tired she looks. Her body language is similar to the time he had seen the woman in his dreams looking so defeated. He doesn’t want to leave her feeling sad. There is still that something about her. It is beyond beauty. He wishes he could have a do over and meet her again. He wants to prolong their time together. Dawn is just breaking.
Dwayne: I liked your poem. Is there more of it?
Sandy: Yes. It is a poem you might be able to appreciate based on what you just said about breaking someone’s heart.
Dwayne: Let me hear it.
Sandy recites the rest of the lines. At first Dwayne is smiling, but by the end of the poem, he is staring in her eyes; contemplating how she has written this poem which seems to speak from his soul.
Dwayne: I was thinking of this recently. How a woman looks at you as a knight for a while and then as a lowlife ever after. I was thinking of this very thing. It’s so uncanny. How would you know so well what a man experiences? It’s like you have been inside my brain.
Sandy: (You have been in mine). Do you really believe in love?
Dwayne: Yes. I have been in love. It is so wonderful to be in love, but I’ve never been able to make it work. Have you really never been in love?
Sandy: No…No. I have been thinking a lot about soul mates and destiny and why I haven’t been in love. Maybe I am mean spirited.
Dwayne: No. Maybe you are just afraid because there are so many assholes out there like me.
Sandy: No. You’re wonderful. I know you are. I am just an idiot.
Dwayne: No, actually, you are right. I have so often been an ass to women I love. I have been fortunate enough to have love, but I always screwed it up. The last thing a woman should ever do is fall in love with me.
There are tears in Sandy’s eyes. She knows that this is the man who “gave” her the poem he was so moved by hearing. She knows Gypsy was right. Here is my soul mate in front of me and in this life we only have tonight and may not see each other in future lives. She has never wanted to believe so much in love. Dwayne sees the tears. He doesn’t quite know what to do or say. She was so angry just a short while ago. What has she been through in her life? How can a woman this beautiful and passionate never fall in love? Why do I feel so drawn to her? What kind of chance or twist of fate has us standing here together tonight? He leans forward and kisses her good-bye.