Ariana couldn’t believe this was happening, her eyes were fixed on him and the more she saw him smiling, the more she melted like hot butter. She could feel her body becoming soft dough and then she was almost like dripping oil. The ‘weak in the knees’ thing was also as strong as she tried to grasp what was happening. It was that nervousness of falling in love for the first time. Yet she was 35, how could this happen? ‘Something is wrong’ she told herself as she placed her mobile, a piece of paper and a pen back in her bag.
She stood up finally. ‘I have to leave now’, she told him. Jay was almost taken aback by her abruptness but being a man of refinement, he did not express his displeasure. ‘Well, I hope to see you again.’ Jay asked with his usual smile. Ariana looked into his sharp brown eyes a bit tenderly. ‘I will be here tomorrow.’ She smiled as she walked away quite briskly and out of the library building.
It was a cold and windy evening in New York as she quickly drove past midtown Manhattan and reached her 14th floor apartment. Ronnie was already waiting too long as Ariana detected the typical smell of smoke as soon as she entered the apartment. ‘You’re smoking too hard again, hey I thought you’re trying to quit’, Ariana flung her bag, took off her jeans and sat down in her white shirt, her thighs exposed at Ronnie.
‘Baby, I was trying to quit, yesterday. Today is another day. Try one’, Ronnie pulled out a cigarette and offered to her girlfriend. Ariana ignored the offer, took a deep breath and looked up at the ceiling. ‘Ron, give me a kiss, I need one’, she said almost in a depressive tone. Ronnie smiled, then bent over and obliged. ‘What’s wrong with you today, Ari?’ she asked, as if she detected a change in Ariana’s behavior.
‘I met a guy’, Ariana sounded guilty.
‘A guy?’ Ok, so…? Ronnie was watching Ariana’s eyes and lips as her face turned sideways, then up and straight again.
‘Well, I met him at the library. I had to do some research for my project. He is a foreign policy guy, associate professor at New York University and well he is very smart and we really clicked’.
‘Ah….so you actually hit it off! That’s what you’re trying to say?’ Ronnie’s voice was filling up with deep sarcasm
‘Yes that’s what I am trying to say. It’s a bit different. It’s not a normal interaction, you understand what I mean? I mean, his smile is captivating…you understand, right?
Ronnie stood up suddenly as if very impatient. ‘What are you trying to tell me? Of course, I don’t understand what you mean, pull that shit out of your head. I don’t understand what you mean.’
‘ I just like him’, Ariana tried to explain impatiently. ‘ Can’t I tell you what I feel for a guy?’ Ariana stood up and walked up and down the room. ‘I like him, for heaven’s sake’.
‘ Ah, so now you wanna fuck that guy? Is that what you want? Go fuck him’….Ronnie almost screamed as she moved towards the kitchen, cigarette in hand.
‘ Does he know, you’re a lesbian?’ Ronnie was again screaming. ‘ Or maybe you just discovered that you are a bi’.
‘Listen, Ron I’m not going for him, but I wanted to tell you that this sort of thing has happened to me and I couldn’t control. I want to be honest. I think something is wrong with me that I feel attracted to this guy. It never happened before.’
Ronnie barged in again with two cups of coffee. ‘Come on Ari, have this and get that shit feeling out of your head’.
But Ariana couldn’t get him out of her head. She was thinking of Jay’s smile when she went to bed and his face didn’t leave her until she fell asleep.
The morning was cold yet again and Ariana made her way to the library, quite eager to see Jay again. Jay saw her from across the street and waved. ‘It’s so nice to see you again, yesterday was a great day that I met you’. His sudden expression surprised Ariana as she thought he was a controlled guy. They spent some time together again and finally when their work was done at the library, they made way to a cozy café.
‘ So tell me something about yourself’, Jay was staring at Ariana’s lovely hazel eyes as she blushed and turned away her face. ‘ What else do you want to know?’ she asked. ‘ I already told you that I work as a research officer and I am here to locate references for my project on 19th century French literature’.
‘Well, I am not talking about the professional ‘something’. I’m talking about your personal life. Like your tastes and your daily life and….’ Jay somehow lost his words, tried to adjust the sleeve of his shirt and started observing Ariana yet again.
For some reason, Ariana was again uncomfortable. ‘ I shouldn’t have come here’, she was thinking, ‘ I shouldn’t have met him again, what will Ron do, what will she think if she saw me with him’.
‘You’re lost in thought, cappuccino?’ Jay was reading the menu.
The week went really quick and Ariana met Jay every day and she could sense that she was getting closer to him, a feeling that was equally exhilarating and devastating to her at the same time. She came home late and Ronnie was suspicious. ‘ Ari, are you meeting up that professor guy?’
Ariana hesitated to reply. ‘ Ron, don’t worry, it’s just friendship, nothing sexual’.
‘Well I hope so’, Ronnie puffed away as Ariana was lost in thought again.
Ariana could sense Ronnie’s distance in the last few days, and it was almost like they were losing a connection.
Over the weekend Ariana did not meet Jay and decided to tell him the truth. She met him again on Monday and they spent the day talking about the weather, their travels, New York and the people, the university, research and their work. ‘Well I still like the Beatles for some reason’. Jay was saying. ‘Oh really, that’s strange, I like Beatles too and I also enjoy Pink Floyd after all these years’, she was getting comfortable with him.
They almost did no work that day and by evening Jay pulled her away yet again to the café. ‘ I want you to come with me to my apartment’, Jay suddenly blurted while the coffee was still hot. ‘ Tonight. Is that possible?’
‘ O..ah..I’m not..s..’ Jay snatched her words, ‘ Don’t tell me you’re not sure, I want to spend some time with you. Please Ari, We will just talk’. He kissed her on her cheeks and then lightly on her lips and she was almost incapable of refusing him.
They made love in his apartment and it happened sooner than she expected, just after one glass of chardonnay that he offered. The sex was long, liquid and passionate and Ariana couldn’t believe that she actually did it. And, with a guy.
She woke up with a heavy head in the morning and suddenly realized Ronnie has left four voice messages on her mobile. Ariana quickly dressed up and sat at Jay’s table, almost ready to leave.
Jay woke up after a while and smiled at her with great affection, like a man smiles at his new bride. Then he walked over to her in a dreamy way to kiss her on her lips. Then casually while wrapping a towel he said, ‘ You know what, I live with a guy but he’s traveling now, so we’re lucky. You won’t believe but you’re the first woman I feel attracted to. Otherwise, I didn’t tell you something…..I am gay’. Jay stared at Ariana with a strange expression and something equally strange passed between them, as if it was completely indefinable and immeasurable.
Ariana looked at Jay’s face, and suddenly lost all expression. As if her own little world was being created and destroyed simultaneously. As if she felt great joy and great sorrow at the same time, as if she wanted to cry and laugh at the same time. She sat on the chair, unable to move and completely silent.