Yeah, So What If Heâ€™s Gorgeous ?
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Burn.
From over my shoulder, my co-worker is reading my computer Â screen as I check email. â€œMy God!â€ she exclaims. â€œThatâ€™s the most gorgeous man Iâ€™ve ever seen in my life!â€
Er, no. Itâ€™s an email from a man I havenâ€™t seen in years. We worked together back in the late 90â€™s. Heâ€™s about 35 now.
â€œBut he sent you pictures,â€ she says. â€œAnd heâ€™s gorgeous.â€
Uh, huh. Yeah, pics of him with his car, with his dog,
with his kids, getting promoted, with friends. Nice. Very.
â€œBut he sent you pictures,â€ she says again. â€œItâ€™s like an advertisement.â€
â€œFor him! Is he single?â€ Yes. Recently divorced.
â€œWhoa. So heâ€™s looking you up?â€
I donâ€™t think so. We were just friends, co-workers. â€œBut heâ€™s gorgeous.â€
Was then, too. About eight or nine years my junior, he was in his late 20â€™s and more muscles than a man has a right to. In fact, his arms were so well-honed that he had trouble finding a short sleeve wide enough that it didnâ€™t cut the flow of blood to his Â elbows. Â We Â were Â both Â happily Â marriedâ€”or Â apparently thought we wereâ€”and completely platonic, but we made a good team and I genuinely cared about him as a friend and colleague. We did some really good work together and broke a few re- cords. Shared some heartaches, too. We lost touch after he and his family moved to another job within the Air Force.
I do have some fun memories of him. Like the tight-butt shimmy he did at the Christmas luncheon one year. Or the six meals a day he ate Â at the office to sustain his musclesâ€”meals the rest of us had to smell and drool over all day long. Or the time he showed me the weights in the gym and helped me with my own exercise program.
One of my favorite memories of him was the time we did a Christmas charity event at a local nursing home. The elderly women there were smitten with him. They paid no attention at all to the rest of us. But Â he took the hand of one of the women who was still able to stay on her feet and while Christmas music played in the background, he led her onto the dance floor for a slow dance. He was elegant and respectful, and she smiled at him like sheâ€™d completely forgotten he was young enough to be her great-grandson. Or maybe because he was just that young. True, the other women were glaring daggers at her, but I enjoyed the moment. He could have refused, but he was a more than a good sport. It wasâ€¦sweet.
I explain that I havenâ€™t heard from him in a long time and that his email came out of the blue.
â€œNo way,â€ my co-worker says. â€œHeâ€™s looking you up. Why else would he send you pics?â€
Uh, he was a friend, his looks didnâ€™t intimidate me, his well-connectedÂ family didnâ€™t intimidate me, andâ€¦how about that he just wanted me to see how kind/unkind the years have been to him?
â€œNo. Itâ€™s got to be a sign. Youâ€™re divorced. Heâ€™s divorced. Heâ€™s gorgeous. Canâ€™t you see?â€
â€œYou said you knew romance was coming into your life. That it was time. Like in August or September. Definitely by the end of the Summer. You better get cracking!â€
I know. Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™ve been told. But my instincts donâ€™t say this is it.
â€œAt least make arrangements to go meet this guy,â€ she tells me.
No. But if heâ€™s in town, Iâ€™d love to have lunch with him and catch up.
â€œBut heâ€™s gorgeous! Why donâ€™t you go after him?â€
I smile. Why donâ€™t I? Yes, heâ€™s attractive. Was then, is now. But Â I never sensed any chemistry and certainly no alchemy. There are less Â physically perfect men who could put a sparkle in my eye, ones who tug at my heart and at my memory, ones who appeal to me in untold ways no one else would ever guess.
But my co-worker assumes that every man-woman relationship has to be about romance or sex. It doesnâ€™t. Even with someone with such a strong physicality as this â€œgorgeousâ€ man. This is about friendship, and thatâ€™s all.
The truth is, Iâ€™d love to see him again and share news and experiences about the last five years. Iâ€™d love to have him back in my life as a friend but only as a friend. It doesnâ€™t have to be about anything else. Friendship is rare enough.