Do you believe in love at first sight? I go back and forth about it. On one hand, it seems to me that the kind of love that gets you through not just the night but the bumps and bruises of life is built over time, in layers of trust, friendship, shared values and experiences.
But I also know that the first layer, the foundation on which it all rests is often the sizzle at first sight, when you lock eyes with someone and you both feel the connection, the attraction. It takes your breath away when it happens. If it’s “just sex,” sign me up for it. I’m not about to dismiss the chemical, hormonal or physical connection so cavalierly. It may not end in happily-ever-after but it sure can be a very happy-for-now.
One of those looks, one that happened decades ago, can still make me smile when I think about it.
He had blue eyes. Until then I didn’t know blue eyes could be so hot. I’d gone to a party with a woman friend who’d run into an old flame and wandered off with him, trying to rekindle the fire. I was alone. He was alone. With a languid ease and a half-smile, he walked across the room to where I was standing and introduced himself. In spite of the fact I had been voted runner up for “most talkative” by my high school classmates, I couldn’t think of a single thing to say to him. He didn’t seem to mind.
We dated for a while. I didn’t marry him. But I’ve never forgotten him (don’t tell my husband) although I hasten to say that I have no interest in tracking him down. Nothing would spoil the memory of that first look more than the reality of seeing him after all these years would.
It has, however, given me something to draw on in my writing. As in the scene where the hero and heroine of my new book, Trusting Again, meet. Here’s how it played out:
She was wire-wrapping a bead when the bell on the door rang, indicating someone had come into the gallery. Looking up, she was so distracted by the gorgeous man walking toward her that she poked herself with the silver wire she was using, drawing blood. That’s how she greeted him, sucking on her finger to make it stop bleeding.
He removed the sunglasses she couldn’t imagine he needed in March in Seattle, took command of her gaze with his espresso brown eyes, smiled and said, “I’m looking for Cynthia Blaine. That wouldn’t be you, by any chance, would it?”
The smile alone made her knees wobble. Add the brown eyes and handsome face and she wasn’t sure she could trust herself to speak. So she just nodded.
“I’m Marius Hernandez.” He put out his hand to her.
She took it after wiping her hand off on a wet rag to get rid of the blood and saliva and trying to alter what she was afraid was the expression of some teen-aged groupie who’d run into Justin Bieber. His big hand enveloped hers, making her wish the handshake could last for hours, maybe days.
“I’m looking for a specific piece of your work. For a gift.”
Please God. Make it a gift for his mother, his niece, a sister. Anyone but a wife.
“I have a friend who’s about to celebrate a significant birthday,” he continued, “and I want to give her the necklace she admired when she was in here recently.”
Damn it, a her. Nice going, God. Technically you gave me what I asked for—he isn’t buying it for his wife. Remind me to be more specific next time when I ask you for something.
Cynthia would certainly say she believes in love at first sight. How about you?