Yeah, So What If He’s Gorgeous ?

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Burn.

From over my shoulder, my co-worker is reading my computer  screen as I check email. “My God!” she exclaims. “That’s the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen in my life!”

Flying By Night novelI shrug. Yeah, he is quite pretty. “So is this an Internet dating site?”

Er, no. It’s an email from a man I haven’t seen in years. We worked together back in the late 90’s. He’s about 35 now.

“But he sent you pictures,” she says. “And he’s gorgeous.”

Uh, huh. Yeah, pics of him with his car, with his dog,

with his kids, getting promoted, with friends. Nice. Very.

“But he sent you pictures,” she says again. “It’s like an advertisement.”

For what?

“For him! Is he single?” Yes. Recently divorced.

“Whoa. So he’s looking you up?”

I don’t think so. We were just friends, co-workers. “But he’s gorgeous.”

Was then, too. About eight or nine years my junior, he was in his late 20’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 didn’t cut the flow of blood to his  elbows.  We  were  both  happily  married—or  apparently thought we were—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  at the office to sustain his muscles—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  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 she’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 was…sweet.

I explain that I haven’t heard from him in a long time and that his email came out of the blue.

“No way,” my co-worker says. “He’s looking you up. Why else would he send you pics?”

Uh, he was a friend, his looks didn’t intimidate me, his well-connected  family didn’t intimidate me, and…how about that he just wanted me to see how kind/unkind the years have been to him?

“No. It’s got to be a sign. You’re divorced. He’s divorced. He’s gorgeous. Can’t you see?”

Uh, no.

“You 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!”

I know. That’s what I’ve been told. But my instincts don’t say this is it.

“At least make arrangements to go meet this guy,” she tells me.

No. But if he’s in town, I’d love to have lunch with him and catch up.

“But he’s gorgeous! Why don’t you go after him?”

I smile. Why don’t I? Yes, he’s attractive. Was then, is now. But  I never sensed any chemistry and certainly no alchemy. There are less  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 doesn’t. Even with someone with such a strong physicality as this “gorgeous” man. This is about friendship, and that’s all.

The truth is, I’d love to see him again and share news and experiences about the last five years. I’d love to have him back in my life as a friend but only as a friend. It doesn’t have to be about anything else. Friendship is rare enough.