The Red Woman

Lady in Red

“Can you walk me through the encounter, Mr. Patrick?” the therapist asked.

“Can I? Pfft! That day burdens my mind indefatigably with acute clarity… Man, how much I wish it didn’t.

“I’d gone to Lucy’s Cafe that morning, like every morning. Newly incensed because I’d whacked my two hundred dollar watch against the cab door and broke it—fucking stupid—I was in much need of a caffeinated beverage to calm my nerves. Lucy’s Cafe is just on the corner of Washington Street and 4th, just before City Hall. Work was right across the street from there so you can imagine how often Lucy saw my business.

“Anyway, the barista that morning was Cynthia. We were conversing about her looming graduation day. God, she was so ambitious. Such a fucking waste of talent if you ask me. I mean, she majored in marine biology. Fucking marine biology… I mean…who in the hell is even successful as a marine biologist?

“As we were talking, I caught a glimpse of her, just to the left of Cynthia’s ear. I was instantly enamored. What I can recall most of all about her is her hair. It was bold, red, curling down her back and over her shoulder…the kind of hair you see in those shampoo commercial ads. I assumed it’d been her beautiful hair that had triggered my attention—her bright red hair within a sea of duller hues. But no, it was her smile within a crowd of smiles…like magnetism, my soul was drawn to her. I melted into my shoes.

“My palms were sweaty, my breath staggered, my heart pattered. No woman has ever made me feel that way. Not from initial sight.

“My feet had a mind all their own and awkwardly they walked me over to where she was. When her eyes, like sapphires, met mine, I felt…coldness, a numbness, a feeling of emptiness, like she’d sucked my soul right out of my body and it was my job to do everything in my power to get it back.

“Nervously I spoke, pathetically and ineptly. She smiled and greeted me back. I told her that I couldn’t help but notice her from across the room. She modestly replied she gets that a lot. I told her I could see why.

“I asked her if I could sit and she told me yeah but when I sat there, I couldn’t speak. My fucking tongue was numb, doc. Paralyzed. I was a lawyer, a damn amazing one at that and I was left speechless. That never happens. She innocently, with a slight smile, asked “What?” And, honestly, I answered, “Nothing…you are just so beautiful that I can’t find anything to say.”

“Remembering the time, I looked down to my broken watch, getting pissed all over again at the sight of it. I told her I had to run. I gave her my number and told her that she would make me the luckiest man in the world if she’d give me a chance to go out with her tonight. When she nodded, my heart nearly fell out of my chest and onto the floor.

“I pathetically stumbled out of the door with my cappuccino, elated beyond my own understanding. I was unqualified at work that day, floating in a space where nothing seemed important enough to matter. How does that happen? How does one have such a formidable effect on a person?

“To my stunning surprise, she called me around six that evening. We talked on the phone for about fifteen minutes—about the day, about Lucy’s. It was such a great small, brief conversation. I asked her if she would join me at the Italian restaurant downtown, La Amore. I agreed to pick her up at seven and that was then end of that conversation.

“When I got off the phone, I was reduced to a child, jumping and galloping around my bachelor’s pad as if my mom had just told my seven year old self that we were going to Disney Land or something.

“I put on my best suit—a silver Armani with an electric blue tie. Chanel cologne. Man, I looked so damn good that night.

“I arrived ten minutes early.

“When she stepped out of the house, her haired pinned up and flipped over her right shoulder and wearing a fitted red dress, my jaw dropped. A soft paint of red perfected the shape of her lips. The curves of her body were impeccably distinguished in that dressed. I had to put my hands in front of my crotch because, damn, did the sight of her give me an erection. Adorned around her neck was a diamond necklace which matched her hanging diamond earrings. At that moment, I became overwhelmed by her presence, beleaguered by doubtful thoughts. Was she out of my league, I remember thinking. Am I in over my head?

“I was gentleman-like, of course—complemented her, opened the door for her and closed it behind her. When I got in the car, it smelled like roses and cream. Absolutely stunning… I can almost smell it now.

“We made it to La Amore at exactly 7:30. Everything was perfect—the dim lighting, the ambient hushed chatter, the Italian music, the food, our conversation. I was in total bliss. We talked about the future, kids, our ideas of marriage, politics, religion, everything that people would consider off limit for a first date…and it was perfect. All of our ideologies were in sync.

“I saw her home and she invited me in. I’d gotten to know her mind and beauty throughout most of the day. Now, she was inviting me to get to know her body. And I did…I loved every bit of her. The curvature of her waist and bosom, the electricity of her touch, her airy moans… All of her was intoxicating…I became addicted like some meth head or something. I fell…that night. I fell into the oblivion that is love.

“When I woke the next day, in her house, in her bed…almost everything was gone. Only the bed and the sheets we’d made love in and my memories of our night were all that was left in the house.

“I looked like a crazy man running down the street naked looking for her. But I was a determined, man. I was going to find her.

“Every day after, I’d go to Lucy’s to see if she’d be there in that spot, with that hair, with that smile. But she never was. Mentally, emotionally, I broke. I fucked that store up… I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. I didn’t mean to kill that man.

“But…she just disappeared on me. She made me fall in love with her in a day. She took my heart and my soul and disappeared… What a bitch, right?”



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