Simon was no saint. It will become abundantly clear that he had a nasty brutish side. And we must never forget, of course, that he was first and above-all human. I say this to introduce the idea that he found himself approaching his twenty-fourth year of virginity with a tiresome weariness. It had been years since he attended a church service and despite plowing through books on religion, the memory of the why of it all was fading.
The fall after he turned twenty-four Simon learned that his friend Kurt was getting married. Kurt asked him to be his best man and Simon figured he may as well learn how to dance for the occasion. He first heard Kerri’s name as the dance studio’s receptionist told him who his instructor would be.
“We do private lessons on Wednesdays, so Wednesday night at 8pm you’ll be with,” the woman paused as she checked the instructor availabilities, “you’ll be with Kerri.”
“Kerri. Got it. Great. See you then,” Simon said. “I hope she’s hot,” he thought, after hanging up the phone.
He had scheduled lessons with high hopes of impressing the bride’s single friends. Simon happily admitted to anyone who would listen that the many ballroom scenes within the recently finished epic War and Peace had a hand as well.
For some men a woman’s smile is the most visible memory of first seeing her. Others can’t forget her eyes. Many find themselves drawn to a woman’s unadulterated laugh. Simon never forgot Kerri’s posture. Arriving a few minutes early for the lesson, he saw a woman who he hoped would be Kerri. She was walking from left to right when their eyes first met. She was expecting him, but didn’t expect him. The way Simon recounted it, she froze solid upon sight of him—her slender neck almost breaking in the violence—though Kerri would coyly never admit to being overly impressed with her future husband that day. He confided to me that he knew in that moment that she was the one. When I pressed him to explain how he knew, he admitted it was very primal. He said that he could just tell that she would give herself to him. Kerri was like that. Her body housed her spirit but was never very good at concealing it.
Too soon, Kurt’s wedding had come and gone and the dance lessons lost their relevance to Simon’s ambitions. Over the duration, however, Simon and Kerri had become quite close. As is often the case with new love, neither of them wanted to stop being around the other. Simon simply couldn’t believe he had found a female that he’d like to have as a friend.
Simon had an uncanny ability to focus on a goal. Since signing that blue oversized “True Love Waits” index card, he viewed all available women as potential wives. Despite viewing marriage as an undesirable institution, he saw no value in befriending a woman who would someday choose another man. If he was going to spend time with a woman, he concluded, it had to be one he wanted to marry. And here she was, slightly tipsy, leaning against his car outside of the restaurant that he had taken her to after his last lesson. Not having any experience to aid his assessment of the unfolding drama, he returned to his safe place—honesty.
“Well, unless we’re going to go somewhere else, I think this is it, Kerri,” he struggled to say.
“Nope, I have no place to be,” she said.
“Oh. It just seems like you’re,” he paused, searching for the most accurate word, “waiting for something.”
“I guess-,” she began.
“Plus, aren’t you cold just standing out here?” he interrupted.
“-I was going to say we could go make out in your car,” she said, laughing at his genuinely surprised reaction to her suggestion, “if that’s okay with you.”
“Hmm,” said Simon as fear swept over him. Simon had never really made out before. But it sounded fun.
“Okay. Give me a second to open your door though. It doesn’t work from the outside,” he said, consciously moving as slow as humanly possible so as to not give away his excitement. Any restaurant staff still cleaning up inside who by happenchance had been peeking out at the scene would have thought Kerri had put a time limit on the offer Simon moved so fast.
Once inside the car, it didn’t take Kerri long to conclude Simon was in uncharted territory, and she laughed as she told him as much. He, in turn, loved both parts of that. She was perceptive and unafraid. Only later did he remember she was also a little drunk. By the end, Simon had told me a hundred times if he told me one time that he always wondered how the relationship would’ve played out if it wasn’t so late, if they weren’t far from both their homes, and if it hadn’t have been that time of the month.
As amazing as the evening had been, Simon was too much a boy scout to not regain control and come up for air.
“Call me when you get to your place. Drive safe,” he said.
Playfully pulling him towards her car, she managed to convince him that just a few more shivering kisses wouldn’t hurt.
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