I met J on Saturday night at Astoria Beer Garden. Despite getting introduced the moment I arrive, we don’t actually speak until four beers, two hours and a venue switch. We’re at a dive in Astoria where M knows the bartender and he lets Cat get behind the bar to pull pints and mix Jack and Cokes. I watch J play darts. I tell him I want to be on his team next but someone else has already claimed their place in the coming round and we’re banished to the bar where I drink too many Blue Moons.
He’s an architect and he shows me the little notebook he carries around in his pocket. I hold this thin stack of sheets, tattered and precious, with two hands the way I would a jewelry box. “I don’t know many other people who carry around notebooks.” I haven’t brought mine today. My purse is too small.
“You have architect handwriting,” I observe, turning the delicate pages etched with dotted lines, diagrams, notes written in perfectly symmetrical stick figure characters. I know this because C has the same handwriting, a gift from his architect father. He laughs and I notice the dimple in his right cheek, how narrow his forehead is, his small eyes, the way he purses his lips and I announce, “You are absolutely adorable,” like I’ve just remembered something that I was supposed to do yesterday.
How does it come up? I don’t remember but he tells me we should go to San Francisco together and I tell him to book a flight. We can walk up giant hills and eat good food, stand on The Gayest Corner in the World, which is what it’s really called.
He tells me he wants to kiss me but I decline even though my judgment is layered under too much beer—I’ve lost count by now. But in the empty back room before Cat tells me we’re leaving, I ask him for a little peck. He presses his lips lightly against mine a little longer than I expect him to and I feel a twitch in my gut. I close my eyes and let out an exaggerated sigh before I chuckle and turn for the door.