I went to visit Stephanie, in Pittsburgh, this weekend. This was my 3rd visit. I expected an uneventful trip. She
picked me up from the airport and we went straight to a juice bar for breakfast. Stephanie is my healthiest sibling, she always
takes me to "hippy" places to eat. We didn't have big plans for the day so, I suggested we get pedicures.
drove to an upscale neighborhood and parked a few blocks away. We both needed a little caffeine but were too full to get something
at breakfast. We decided to stop for coffee and thought it was best to walk it off and poke around the shops. Our first shop
was having a jewelry trunk show. When we walked in, we were offered champagne. We put down the coffee and our plastic cups
were filled to the rim with bubbly. It was the start of a lovely day.
was really beautiful, exotic pieces with an edge. A lot of skulls, snakes, gold, and diamonds. I love rings. I tried on a
bunch. The jeweler was there looking at me intensely. When I saw the first price tag of one of the pieces I loved, I knew
I couldn't afford anything he was offering. The prices started at $995 and went up through the thousands to $55,000, actually.
The owner and the jeweler were really chatty, though, and kept me in the immediate vicinity. The jeweler kept suggesting pieces
to try on. He looked deep into my eyes, then boldly asked, "What happened? Why did you give up?" Of course, I was
taken aback. I knew exactly what he was asking me but I could hardly believe my ears.
had been reading me from the second I walked in the door. He pressed me again with the question, waiting for my answer. I
told him I didn't know what he was talking about. He explained, "I can see the melancholy in your eyes. You gave up on
love. Why? You're beautiful. Don't you know you're beautiful?" My armpits started to sweat, I started to move away but
I was drawn in to his orbit of gravity. It was intoxicating. (Or was it the champagne I was gulping?)
sister didn't help matters. She agreed with everything he was saying. Out loud! Meanwhile, she was texting the play-by-play
to our other sister and our mom. She described him to them as a good looking guy from Turkey, who owns a jewelry store in
Manhattan. He's covered in jewelry with his shirt opened to his navel and tufts of chest hair are poking out. Our sister's
response, "LOL!" Our mom's response, "Not Stacey's type. Keep an eye on her!"
had me trying on his diamond rings. They were exquisite. (And, huge!) He wanted a picture with me and asked my sister to take
it with his phone, he then asked me to text the picture to my phone so he would have my contact information. Of course, I
obliged. He asked me about the books I was reading because I had used the word "path" in reference to why I wasn't
married. He pointed out that most people would use the word "journey." (That's why I didn't use it. Way too overdone.)
Anyway, the only book I could come up with was Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow. I haven't been reading much these days, too
busy with work. "Ahhh," he said, "you're married to your work." I cringed. I may be.
conversation moved to dinner talk. He was having dinner with the owner of the store and her family. She was one of his first
clients when he moved to the country eight years ago. His English was perfect, it was his third language. It turned out that
the store owner lived down the street from my sister. He said he wanted mac and cheese for dinner with lots of wine. I asked
if we were invited. He lit up, looked at his friend, and declared, "YES!" I laughed and said we'd think about it.
Before we left, he said he reads coffee grinds and asked if I saw the movie Serendipity.
I own it. My sister asked if he was married or single. Our mom had told her to ask, although she's a good little sister, she
would have asked anyway without the prompt. It turns out, he is divorced with two young children ages 7 and 11. He is single
but, he smokes. I told him the coffee grind thing outweighs the smoking in my book. Our grandmother used to read them, too.
With that, we left and headed to the salon. I needed a pedicure and manicure stat because
I had a sneaky suspicion my feet and hands may be on display that night. In the pedicure chair, we reviewed the situation.
The first thing Stephanie asked was, "Why were you so nervous??? He was clearly obsessed with you!" Then, she flatly
stated I needed to get out more and practice flirting with men who are interested in me. We decided we were going to go to
the owner's house for dinner. She told our mom via text. Her immediate response was, "You need to take Brandt! We don't
know him!" Umm, he's from Turkey, not Greece, and lives in Manhattan. Of course, we don't know him!
we got home, I texted him to see what time we should be there and what kind of wine we should bring. He apologized and wrote
back, "By 'we', do you mean 'you'? No offense but I'd only like to see you for dinner." "Hmm," I thought,
then suggested we meet for drinks after dinner. I came to visit my sister, not go on a date with a stranger that WE don't
He was anxious, he was walking toward the house and got lost. I told him to
stay put and we'd pick him up. He got in the car with a cowboy hat, shirt opened to his belly button under a leather jacket,
Ralph Lauren blue velvet loafers, and dripping with jewelry. I'm not gonna lie, I liked it. No joke. It was WAY beyond my
type. Sort of. I've been more interested in the preppy golfer type as of late but, back in the day, this kind of thing tickled
me to the core. I was fascinated with him. He did not give a shit what anyone thought, he was all him. Bold.
we got out of the car, he took my hand as we walked to the bar. I liked that, too, and just went with it. We got to the bar
and, apparently, it was clear to him that we wouldn't have alone time to talk. He suggested we go back to the house or a hotel.
I knew we didn't have any wine at the house but he said he only wanted to drink water. Back to the house we went, to Stephanie's
dismay. She was starting to feel maternal and the words, "stranger danger" were seeping into her brain.
got back to their apartment and my brother-in-law mentioned their fire pit. My cowboy was all over that. They headed into
the basement to gather kindling wood. My fleeting thoughts were, "he may be a murderer…" It passed quickly.
Way too cold out to be thinking that kind of thing. They got the fire started, I lasted 5 minutes and went back inside. He
followed. So did my sister and her husband. There we were, all four of us sitting awkwardly in their small living room. The
chit chat started. Then, he turned to my sister and Brandt to ask if we could have some privacy. At this point, you'd think
I'd stop the foolishness and ask him to leave. Nope.
They left us alone on the couch.
He asked me again why I "gave up." I tried to explain that I hadn't but, the truth was, I had given up. He looked
me in the eyes and told me I was too content with being single, the only way I was going to find love is if I settle down
and find peace in my life. He lied his head in my lap and kicked his feet up on the couch. We continued the conversation.
He told me about his "journey", the divorce, why, his children, his affair, and his heartbreak. Mid-story, Brandt
walked into the room to check on me. By the look on his face, I could only imagine what he was thinking when he found his
wife's sister sitting on the couch with a stranger in her lap and her hand in his shirt! We just looked up at him and smiled.
He said, "Well, looks like you're all set here. Need anything?" (A condom?)
cowboy/jeweler got up and turned the light off when Brandt left the room. Then, he kissed me. Passionately. Can I just tell
you? I felt like I could turn on a lightbulb with the electricity surging through my body. It has been ages since I've been
kissed like that! Too long. He said I have three choices, I could show him my bed, he could "make love to me" in
his hotel room, or I could ask him to leave. I gave it a few seconds of thought while the kissing continued and said, "I'm
sorry. I'm going to have to say good night." Not what he was expecting. Not the words I expected to leave my mouth, either.
He said we could both die tonight and that I should live when I have the opportunity. I walked him to the door.
sister came in the room minutes after he left. I stood there with my hair all disheveled and cheeks flushed. She asked, "What
happened?" After I told her, she said, "Doesn't he know Greek people don't do that?" (She's so cute. Isn't
she? I can only hope she learned that from me.)
I went to bed but thought about him
all night. I may never see him again but his words were powerful. I felt like a flame was ignited in me. Over the weekend,
I took a lot of pictures. I haven't felt like doing that in years. Of course, I felt like writing again, too. We'll see where
this adventure takes me. #nevergiveup #truelove #serendipity #diamondsareforever