They hardly knew each other. It was a blind date. Some common friend had arranged for them to meet. So there they were, sitting at a table in one of the city’s most expensive restaurants. He was looking at the menu while she was looking around.
- Have you tried the fish here? It’s delicious. Or would you prefer the steak?
- Either would be fine. I’m not fussy.
He was a tall, dark and handsome man in his forties. She was pretty, with red hair and green eyes, in her mid thirties. He was a lawyer for a big company, whereas she was a secretary for another. They both were single, people who had no time for dates, romance and flirts. People who had decided it was time to start a family, because it was the only thing they hadn’t done so far. All their friends were married, had kids and seemed happy. It was just about time they did the same, follow the crowd, jump on the bandwagon.
Although they were used to having conversations about professional matters, they found it hard to start a conversation between them. Two different worlds sitting at a small table in a crowded restaurant wasn’t the ideal circumstances for a chat. However, they were willing to try and see where this would take them.
- It’s getting colder and colder, don’t you think?
- Yes, it’s the beginning of winter.
- Do you have any plans for Christmas Holidays?
- I will be working from home. You?
- I will be doing the same.
The waiter brought them the fish, the steak and red wine. They decided to try both, since they both were unsure of which dish to choose. The glasses were filled and sips of red wine were drank. Little by little the ice broke.
They started to chat about more general matters, like life, their friends, their hopes for a family.
- How did you decide to take the big step?
- Well, everyone has to, sometime in their life. What about you?
- Although parenthood has never been in my plans, I think it would be a mistake to neglect it.
- That’s right. What are you looking for in a person?
- Companionship. All the rest stem from it. Love is ephemeral, and sex is a chemical reaction to stimuli. But companionship is a sacred bond between two people, not easily broken.
- I couldn’t agree more.
Little by little they started to laugh, and find each other smart, witty, and a little sexy. In the meantime, outside it was raining heavily. None of them had brought an umbrella, so the view from the window was a little scary. Roads had flooded and people were hurriedly running to find shelter from the torrential rain.
- Do you think it will stop?
- Yeah, pretty soon. It’s just a downpour.
- I love the rain. It has a purifying power. It’s cleansing everything in it’s wake.
- Plus, there is a rainbow always after the rain. You can’t have a rainbow without any rain they say.
- How poetic!
- And how true!
It was obvious he had started to like her and she had started to like him. Or was it the wine talking? They weren’t sure, but they wanted to enjoy those moments. It was a different situation, away from the rat race. So many human, innocent feelings prevailed in the atmosphere. Somehow, it was just him and her in the room, and the rain outside the window.
Then came the time to leave. He insisted on paying the bill, she insisted on splitting it. When the waiter came, with two pieces of cake in his hands, they found out the meal was a treat from their common friends. They both laughed wholeheartedly. It was a childlike laughter, a memory from their childhood.
Then they stood up, took their coats from the foyer and went out of the restaurant. The rain kept falling mercilessly. Suddenly, they came face to face with the real world. He remembered he had unfinished tasks at home. And she remembered she had to wake up early the next morning. That was their life, and a change was unlikely, at least not that given moment.
- Do you live far?
- Yeah, I’d better take a taxi home. I won’t make it with this rain.
- I agree.
- Do you live far?
- Not really, just round the corner. I’ll walk.
He hailed a taxi and she got in. They didn’t exchange phone numbers, as they knew full well that it was pointless. They both were career people, and that was difficult to change. Not in the foreseeable future at least. Maybe later, maybe some other time. But definitely not now.
She lowered the window and thanked him for the wonderful evening. He smiled back and thanked her too. Then she waved good bye and he waved back. Finally, she ordered the taxi driver to go. The taxi engine started and little by little the yellow taxi disappeared in the distance.
He was motionless. For the first time in his life he wasn’t sure he had done the right thing by letting her go. It was obvious they had a good time together, that they would make a good couple. Could he find her again? Yes, that was possible. They still had their common friends. No, she wasn’t lost for ever. Either she would ask about him, or he would ask about her. Not everything was lost.
He was just wondering whether she made the same thoughts. Time will tell, he thought. No, he wouldn’t forget her so easily. He would try to claim her, to make her his own. He was convinced now that they were made for each other. Maybe he had found the companion he was looking for. Maybe. Maybe he was the companion she was looking for. He would definitely give it another chance.
Lost in thoughts, he felt chills down his spine. He started to shake. He looked around him, then up in the sky. It was still raining heavily and he was standing in the middle of the street, literally in the rain.