I had been sitting in the café for more than three hours, absorbed in my book, when I noticed a tall figure across the room facing me. I glanced up an inch over the top of Immanuel Kant’s ‘Critique of Judgment’ and sure enough the man was looking over at me with a curious look. I quickly went back to my page but the words were no longer sinking in. He turned back to get his coffee and chatted with the pretty barista. By this time I was completely distracted and found myself staring after him, at his lean built and his long, dark curly hair. He turned back around so quickly that I didn’t have time to look away before he caught my eyes on him. I went back to the same page I was on and tried to look uninterested. From my peripheral vision I saw his figure walking over to me. He stopped right in front of my table and said nothing. I finally looked up and saw him smiling, eyes on the book I was holding.
“You know, out of all the philosophies on art, his is my favorite.” He said, eyes now on mine. I had so many things to say about aesthetics and approaches to art, but at that moment all I could do was smile and nod, so he continued to ask “May I take a seat?” Again, all I could do was nod. He sat down and we introduced each other, and soon I discovered language again as we engaged in a conversation.
We sat there for hours, talking, theorizing, and laughing. We breezed by topics like art, politics, literature, history, and music. All I had listened to was classical music, and outside of that I only had one album of the Beatles, barely even played.
“Do you have something against popular music?” He chuckled.
“Not really, I was just never exposed to it. Back home it’s pretty conservative. My being interested in philosophy and the arts is already pretty deviant behavior” We both laughed and it felt like we had been good friends for a long time.
“So how long are you here for anyway?” he asked
“Just a week. I wanted to travel Europe but all I could manage was here, which is already pretty incredible. This may be my last chance to travel on my own.” I said, looking down.
“A week!? Why that’s barely enough to see these lands. There’s a whole lot more to see up in Scotland too. Why don’t you stay for another week? I’ll be your tour guide” His smile was the brightest I had ever seen, and for a second I contemplated extending my stay, tempted to take the offer of this handsome stranger I had just met.
“That’s really nice of you, but I can’t. I have to be back in time for…the wedding.” With that his face seemed to dropped ever so slightly, and for some reason it broke my heart. “Your wedding?” he asked, and again all I could do was nod, looking out the window.
“Oh,” he said, looking out the window before looking at his mug and saying, “well congratulations, your fiancé is lucky to have such a bright young woman like you” he sounded sincere but not too happy, or was I just imagining it?
“Yeah, he’s great. Good man, my family adores him, sometimes I think they’re more in love with him than I am” I chuckled.
“Well, he must be a real catch then” he spoke into his coffee mug before taking a sip.
“Well hey, I have another week. If you’re not too busy maybe you can still take me places?” I don’t even remember thinking about saying this. I surprised myself with this proposition, it had come from some other part of me.
Still looking down at his cup, with a grin he said, “Yeah…I could take you places” and took another sip. There was a hint of naughtiness in this statement, and although I should not, I wanted to find out what this entailed.
After some moments of silence, his mood was cheerful again as he asked “What are you up to tonight then?” It was nearly eight in the evening, I had been sitting there for almost six hours.
“Well I’m planning to go down to Cadbury Castle early tomorrow, so I was thinking of just staying in tonight.” As if I had any plans on checking out the nightlife. I was 21 years old and never had a drop of alcohol or a drag of any kind of cigarette.
“Oh that’s too bad. I’m doing a show tonight at the Marquee with this new band I’ve got.” He said.
“Oh, you guys any good?” I asked with a grin
“Well we’re no Bach, but I’ve got a funny good feeling about us. Are you sure you wouldn’t want to judge for yourself?” He asked me with beckoning eyes, and a smile that probably does not adhere to rejection. No doubt I was attracted to this man, he had something about him…An aura, a projection of something grand. And his eyes, a pair of deep big holes of mesmerizing mystery. I couldn’t find it in myself to part ways with him just yet.