We made our way silently through the empty lot and across the busy street. Our bodies close, vibrating with warmth, anticipation. The air was cold and damp. I felt myself shivering in my sweater, I didn’t want her to know I was afraid.
I reached for her hand. Unthinking.
She drew away from me and made a sound an almost spoken “no,” but just a murmur. Her body enough language to know her protest.
I tightened my hand into a fist drawing my body closer collapsing in on myself the tension, the chill holding me together. Without speaking we strode quickly down the sidewalk crammed with tourists, business men and women and locals all scrambling for home, hotels, bars and restaurants.
It was the perfect place for our meeting. The worst and the best of Seattle all smashed together into one seething mass of humanity. The sun was setting over the Sound its golden light slanting into the port, the buildings, the crowd.
We pushed our way through until we reached a quieter corner away from the ferries and the restaurants. Nearing a parking garage, she reached for me; with relief I took her hand. She smiled a rare glimpse of what might have been happiness shining in her eyes, then she looked away scanning the area.
We were like that now. Paranoid.
I pulled her a little closer. For once her body didn’t protest. The parking attendant smiled at us as we walked by–a normal greeting for a normal couple. His smile gave us a little more confidence I felt her shoulders loosen as we passed.
We reached a small four door, just like any other in the lot. She stopped her foot scraping loudly across the cement.
“This is…” her breath seemed to catch for a moment. “This is me.” She pointed to the car. I nodded, released her hand and balled my fists in my jeans’ pockets.
“Thank you,” I answered.
She looked back at me. “Anytime,” this time her smile lit her face brilliantly in the gloom.
For a moment it felt like we knew each other forever. All the unknowns cleared between us and all I could see was her. The moment of clarity seemed to stretch into forever as we searched each other soul’s, all the uncertainty, fear all the not knowing could wait to be discovered. I suddenly knew everything about her even though I still knew nothing.
“Can I call you?” I asked, not meaning to, I wasn’t sure if I would.
Her smile faded, she peered at me as if to evaluate what worth I seemed to have earned in the past heady 24 hours. A chilling draft whispered by us carrying the distant voices of others on the street, in the parking garage, people on their way to and from the places we had already been.
She reached into her clutch for a moment, removing a card.
“Here,” she answered. “Next time you want a night out, you can call for an appointment. It’s nothing personal, but I don’t give clients my real number.”
I looked the card over.
“You can keep it,” I answered. “I already have one.”