I’ve had enough of trying to find the man of my dreams, a soul mate, a husband, anything with a penis for that matter! I wanted a break from make up, waiting for phone calls, giving or receiving. I just had enough. Perhaps those articles in women’s magazines were right, it was almost hopeless to get re-married, get pregnant and have a family once in your thirties. Damn, I thought, my ex husband in Romania, had it all, my hard-earned money, the apartment my mother bought me, the car I foolishly donated to him thinking he’d follow me in America and in stead he married his mistress and dumped me. Life was definitely not fair, but who said it was? Perhaps I should get a few more dogs and cats, to feel a purpose, I thought, but even that dream was not achievable in a rented apartment! I was screwed!
When I came back from Davenport, Jody, listened to my stories about how her brother and how our relationship ended and giggled, which frankly I didn’t appreciate, but on the other hand, she was right so I had to step out of my own picture and laugh too.
A few months after the younger man fiasco, Jody announced she had met a Jewish Romanian man who was opening a restaurant in Philadelphia and he wanted to meet me.
Was he good-looking? I asked. Average, she confessed, which turned into short, dark and overweight on additional probings, but I was in my thirties, what did I expect?
The night of the restaurant opening had arrived and the three of us, Jody, her boyfriend, Chuck and myself pushed the button of an elegant elevator which took us at the top of the building. The restaurant was at the very top and as we entered, the view was breath taking: Philadelphia at night, what a dream! We heard a piano playing classical music in the background. Such luxury!
We approached the Hostess, a tall, long-haired woman, who to my surprise, had two kids hanging on each of her hips.
Jody gave her our names and she flipped through the reservation book while one of the kids was pulling on her hair and the other was spitting on her shoulder.
“Sorry,” she said. “I am Mary, the owner’s wife, these are our twins. I couldn’t find a baby sitter, so… I hope you understand!”
She found us in the register and because it was so crowded she lead the way to the bar and we ordered drinks.
“She said she was the wife of the owner?” I asked Jody, who was already giggling, because that’s what she did when she was embarrassed. “How many owners are there?”
“Just one, sweetie, just one, but he told me he is really unhappy, they are like divorced!”
“Divorced? She is the Hostess to his restaurant, they have twins. I am being fixed with a married man who on top of it has twins?”
“Honey, nobody said you’re being fixed, just to know him for friendship. You’re both Romanian.”
I excused myself and went to the Ladies’ Room to recover. I emptied my bladder which instantly made me feel lighter and more focused. Should I leave and never speak with Jody or should I go back, have a drink and excuse myself later? The romance with the owner was definitely out. Even if he would have been desirable, the size and demeanor of Mary, the wife, and the twins already determined me to not even look at the guy, Romanian, Jewish or whatever, was not for me even if I was in my thirties!
Looking in the bathroom’s window, I re-applied make-up, and like the determined woman who I have always been, decided to go back and enjoy the evening and erased the owner from my booklet of potential partners. Frankly, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I didn’t even know the guy.
At the bar counter, Jody was engaged in a conversation with a man seated on the other side of her, where I sat before going to the Ladies’ Room.
“Excuse me,” I said, “Could you move over, this was my seat.”
He turned and stood up. He was tall, skinny, with shoulder-length hair but in a business suit, a rather strange combination, which I liked. His eyes sparkled from under thick glasses:
“Oh, sorry, I didn’t know the seat was taken…”
“I invited him!” Jody jumped into the conversation. “let me introduce you:”
“”This is my friend Rodica, and this is my friend…” she stopped and turned towards him: “What did you say your name is?”
“Kevin,” he answered and moved a seat over, and we all ordered drinks.
Soon, Mary with the twins still hanging on her, came over and hugged Kevin. He was rather stiff and didn’t respond, but she didn’t seem to care:
“Kevin is a doll, he is a regular at Nick’s where I work part-time,” She explained the intimacy. ” Doesn’t miss a night, right, honey?”
“I work hard and I party hard,” He confirmed.
That should have been my clue right there, but it wasn’t. I ignored it.
“You sure do!” affirmed Mary and pinched his pale cheek. “Are you guys having dinner?” she continued.
I wasn’t going to spend money for dinner, I had rent coming so I shrugged my shoulders.
Jody, Chuck and Kevin exchanged looks and in unison responded:
“Of course, we’ll have dinner! What’s the special?”
“Ion makes a delicious garlic soup…”
She continued on and on about the garlicy menu, as I was thinking it was not inducing for romance, but who cared, I did not have romance on my mind.
We were shown to a round table covered by an immaculate white table-cloth. Kevin held my chair, and I was impressed. Not many Americans I knew even knew of such fine manners. Not only that, but every time I went to the bathroom he stood up, another sign of a well bred man who respected women. We joked and laughed and when finally Ion, the “married potential partner” came at our table to say hello, I was already comfortable with Kevin and didn’t care any more about the wife, twins and potential divorce and all the other lies. It must have been fate, I thought, for this to happen, so I met this fine man with such good manners.
He told me he was an investor in real estate, has an MBA and oh, my dream about to come true, had never been married and had no children and was, like me in his early thirties. No three ex-wives to remind him of, no spoiled teen children to judge me because I kept a human size doll named John by my window… oh this was God’s hand at work.
“What kind of car do you drive,” I asked.
“A Chrysler,” he said, and smiled…”A latest model, annoying, tells you to buckle up until you do!”
Oh, I was delighted. He wasn’t driving a Volvo. All my previous unsuccessful love relationships drove Volvos and I had decided the Volvo “type” was not for me! Something about the safety of Volvo which made it non compatible with my temperament… or so I thought.
The dinner was delicious and yes, we all smelled of garlic. Ion came back to ask how was everything but I didn’t look in his direction, so he’ll get it I wasn’t one of those…willing to be the other woman!
The time had come for the closing.
“Are you coming with us, “Jody asked, and Kevin jumped in:
“Oh, no, I’ll take her home, no problem!”
I accepted and already thought of a second date…
We went in the parking lot and I stepped in a brand new black car.
No sooner he turned on the engine, a flat computer woman’s voice said:
“Buckle up. Your seat belts, please. Car will not move if you don’t buckle up, please!”
For our own safety we did and that’s how we both embarked in a roller coaster of life which turned out to be anything but safe!