Near Stanford University we parked, on a sycamore tree lined street. It was
in front of a new two story townhouse apartment complex. He opened my car door
and we followed a meandering concrete walk, past a pool and club house, in
silence, to the noise of swimmers splashing and laughing while smelling the
chlorine. It was a warm California evening with full moon.
Past the pool, the landscaped smell of hibiscus mingled with redwood and eucalyptus
trees greeted us. I kept thinking; one glass, then I’ll leave.
In front of his apartment my heart pounded as he unlocked the front door and
swung it open for my entry. Hesitantly peeking inside, I stepped forward and
crossed the threshold, my cheeks flushed.
I’m in his apartment. What difference does it make now?
Scanning the room I saw a large fish tank. Clutching my gold sequined purse
in front, my pretense shield; I went to the large lighted aquarium and watched
the fish dart about while he went to the kitchen and opened a bottle of red
wine giving me time to compose.
Turning from the fish tank I again scanned the room as he poured two glasses
and handed me one. Reaching to take the glass I let go of the purse with my
right hand, partially disarming myself. I took a long sip, then another, until
it was gone.
He smiled when I handed him the empty glass.
"It's pinot. Which fish do you like?"
"The little blue and red one fluttering its tail".
I timidly stared back at the tank, away from my hungry glance at his full lips.
"It's a male guppy. He flutters his tail to attract females.
Look, see the female notice
"Yes, yes. I see her now. Wow."
"Look at the far corner, up near the top. That’s me hiding there."
I saw a little frog hiding in the corner on a lily pad.
More relaxed with wine, he showed his apartment, excused the medical texts splayed on the coffee table and turned on his 8 track stereo tape recorder. The speakers released a subdued Midnight at the Oasis by Maria Muldaur as the kitchen and living room floated briefly before my gaze with refilled wine glass. I only noticed everything was clean and orderly including the nape of his neck where the barber had trimmed his hair line.
Only his medical texts lay skewed about
suggesting recent study. His bedroom was on the second level. I knew I shouldn’t
go up the stairs.
Instead he took my wrist of the hand clutching the
purse and led me up, relaxed and calm, as if it was just part of the apartment.
The ending lyrics Midnight at the Oasis
played as we ascended.
Midnight at the oasis
Send your camel to bed
Got shadows painting our faces
And traces of romance in our heads