A friend of mine who lived out in Hayward, near the end of the Bart East Bay line, asked me to join her in a trip out to Mountain View, now better known for being Silicon Valley than it was then, some thirty years ago. It was summer. I was thirty, unencumbered, and ready for fun and adventure. I rode the train to her stop, and then she drove the rest of the way to Mountain View.
Our first adventure was at a winery, where we went to a wine tasting, something I had not done before. We sipped and ate the palate cleansing crackers between varieties of wine. Two things happened very quickly. First, I discovered I liked white wines, and the dryer the wine, the better I liked it. I liked the sparkling wines the best and have a deep and abiding love of champagne to this day. The second thing that happened was the room became full of tipsy people, me included.
A couple had been chatting and laughing with us, when the man turned to me and said, “You have the most luscious neck I have ever seen.” That was the wine talking. I was both flattered and embarrassed, so my response was giggles, and blushing. He bent and kissed my neck, and I pushed him away, laughing more. My friend and I left shortly after, both of us with a case of a variety of wines and champagnes, and headed to our second destination.
We went to an outdoor music festival, where tents had been set up with dance floors both inside of tents and outside. We listened to blue grass and blues until the sun was about to go down. It was wonderful. My friend and I sat down on a hill for the first part of the afternoon, surrounded by dozens of other people, watching people clogging and doing other traditional dances. I was mesmerized by one dancer in particular, a man in his late 40s or early 50s, who was an exceptionally fine dancer, full of energy, and who made his partner look good on the dance floor. Before long, the musicians needed a break, and so did the dancers.
I was still sitting there on the grass, when I realized someone had sat down next to me, so close I could feel them touching me. I turned and looked, and it was the dancer I had been watching and admiring. I was beyond surprised.
“Come dance with me,” he said.
“I don’t dance.” For the second time that day, I was full of nervous laughter.
He pleaded, and I kept telling him “no,” in the most polite way I could. The truth is, I really didn’t dance, and still don’t. I never learned, and I am perhaps one of the most clumsy people on the planet. I have NO sense of rhythm whatsoever. Eventually, he gave up. He looked sad though.
Sometime later, we changed our location to one of the tents and to a more bluesy music. I decided to venture out to one of the portable bathrooms, and worked my way through the crowd. I was almost out the tent opening, when that guy, that wonderful dancer, grabbed me, pulled me close, and kissed me as passionately as I have ever been kissed.
“I have wanted to do that all day,” he said. He looked into my eyes, deep and long, and then he was gone. I never saw him again as long as I lived.
I suppose today, that might be considered an assault. That was the farthest thing from my mind. That day, with the coming twilight, in a place full of music and laughter, and that kiss, made perhaps the most exciting moments of my life. I think of it as one of the most romantic events of my life, even though I never knew his name. Sometimes a change in a life hinges on a moment such as this, and our decisions can affect the direction of our lives. I have thought of this many times in my life, and wondered what might have been, had I said “yes,” instead of “no.” It was a kiss that lives forever in my heart.