I remember when I first saw him. He was working behind the counter at Swim Bike Run on one of the first days that I came in to train to be an instructor. I don’t believe in love at first sight but in hindsight I remember thinking there was something about his demeanor that I liked. He seemed very polite and easy going. I liked his laugh. And he just seemed like a nice person. He stood out in my mind over any of the other men that I had met since I had started working there. There are lots of amazing athletes that strut around that store, wearing all sorts of fabulous gear, riding their fabulous bikes, and showing off their fabulous bodies while running on the treadmill with their shirts off. I would find out later that he is actually one of these amazing athletes but he walked around like less of a peacock than the rest.
I remember his demeanor and then I remember when he stood up from the stool he was sitting on behind the counter.
He was tall.
My friend Vicki and I are both tall girls. At dances in high school we used to joke that we should dig holes in the floor to dance in so that we could be down at eye level with our dates. There is nothing more romantic than kissing a tall guy and I very rarely got to experience it. First because the number of people lining up to kiss me is similar to the line at the door of that house in your neighborhood that passes out water and celery stick instead of candy at Halloween, and second, because there just aren’t that many tall guys out there. At best they are my height and then when I put on 3 inch heels I have to look down at them. When you kiss an average height guy there’s just something missing. You lean towards one another. Tilt your head to the left, he goes right, your lips touch, and you pull back whenever you’re ready. It’s just so symmetrical. If you’re taller you have to bend at the knees and do the “sorority squat” to get down to the guy’s face. I remember once I did this to kiss an old boyfriend after a long run. There was no passion in it at all. All I could think about was that my quads were cramping.
No, to really kiss you need someone to put their hands on either side of your face, brush the hair back that’s fallen across your forehead, tilt your chin up, look into your eyes and kiss the life back into your existence. There’s just something more passionate and hopeful about being able to look up when this happens. I can’t explain why.
I looked at this guy and decided he would be the perfect height, black pumps or barefoot. This thought flitted through my brain and I quickly blushed and walked past him into the spin studio. I chided myself for even considering it. He was probably already taken, preferred brunettes, who knew how old he was, and I was just getting out of a serious relationship. Now was not the time to start fantasizing about some tall guy I had “met at the gym.” Ugh, such a cliché.
After I finished teaching a class I walked out and saw him sitting in a row of folding chairs in front of the lockers. To this day I have no idea what possessed me to do it but I sauntered over and sat in a chair right next to him to put my tennis shoes back on. I can’t remember what we talked about, the weather probably, if I was having a good day, but as I finished lacing up my worn out Nike’s I looked over at him and said “its Sean right? Great meeting you. Have a good night.” He replied, “Thank you… what was your name again?”
For some reason this was another one of those times in my life I just said, “screw it,” and decided not to be shy. I threw caution to the wind and tossed the next sentence over my shoulder the way I flick my hair behind me when I’m having a good hair day, “It’s Stephanie. ..Don’t forget it.” And I strutted out of the store. When I got in the car I burst out laughing. What had possessed me to say that? Don’t forget it. Who did I think I was, Quick Draw McGraw? Of all the lines I have ever used that is the one and only time I have ever said anything like that. Why on earth would I say such a thing?
As I pulled out of the parking lot that night I realized I had said it because it was true. I didn’t want him to forget me.