Active listening is not only the correct interjector of the words ‘yes’ or ‘no’ at the appropriate time or nodding and shaking one’s head when in agreement or not, it’s also about how you observe a person when they are talking to you. Apparently there is an optimal triangle on a person’s face that should always be observed. It stretches between both eyes and extends to the tip of the nose – looking above the ‘triangle’ will give the appearance of being aggressive, below bored or uninterested.
Unfortunately knowing this had not prevented me from allowing my gaze to continually slip down to her lips, which were tonight glistening, with the reflection of Bar Rouge’s indirect red LED backwash lighting, from a subtle neutral coloured lip gloss.
Bar Rouge’s comfy sofa style French interior had slowly been emptying of people over the last hour until, apart from two young guys, who were sat at the bar holding hands, we were the only ones left.
20 minutes ago I had allowed my hand to gently stroke her right leg during conversation, but had not recognized any specific positive or negative reaction. I was fascinated at how the shape of her chin curved into her lower lip, and how her cheeks bunched when she smiled – how her hair dropped casually over her forehead and hooked in a curl behind her ear. She was beautiful. ‘WILL THERE BE ANYTHING ELSE TONIGHT SIR?’ James, the barman was stood right next to us, had I been day dreaming? I’d not even noticed him approach us. I glanced at her, she looked amused, or perhaps bemused – ‘Thank you James, we’re good’. ‘Very well sir’, said James, ‘we’ll be closing in about 10 mins’.
Outside it was about as quiet as the city gets, it was after all a weekday evening. As I zipped up my jacket a lone taxi drove by, a dog in the distance barked and the constant hum of the city was, as ever, present. I reached down and held her hand. She gently squeezed my hand and interlocked her fingers in mine, her hand was soft and warm. She looked up at me and smiled. My heart rate suddenly increased so that I needed to take a breath, my whole body was suddenly very sensitive, very warm, tingling. A mixture of excitement, expectation and fear swept over me. I took another deep breath before we set off down Viktoria Street towards the central park area, unobtrusively, I unzipped my jacket again.
It would normally take approximately 10minutes to walk the short distance to where she lives, but tonight we were both walking slowly, and, in any case, it was already late enough to result in a tired day at work tomorrow. As a perfect English gentleman I chose a neutral subject to talk about and commented that it was quite mild for the time of year, she went on to describe the influence of global warming on the environment and the agreements made from the various political factions during the treaty signed in Paris the other year! I made a mental note to choose a more intelligent subject the next time!
We stopped outside her apartment. She lives in a nice area of town, populated mostly by young professionals, the street is parked with a colourful mixture of Fiat 500 cabriolets, Porsches well-appointed Audi’s, BMW’s and Mercedes.
I moved around to stand in front of her as I mentioned that it had been a wonderful evening, placing my hands on her shoulders, she put her hands under my jacket and allowed them rest on my hips. It seemed that suddenly time progressed in slow motion. I looked deep into her eyes as she looked into mine, I moved my head towards hers, my left cheek touched hers, it was warm and smooth. I then slowly edged towards her right cheek, across her lips, allowing mine to touch hers for just an instant as they passed, her warm breath met mine and I recognized a hint of red wine and perfume. I kissed her other cheek and didn’t move. I felt her chest rising and falling as mine did. I kept my cheek close to hers and then slowly but deliberately found her lips. I closed my eyes and our lips touched, soft, gentle, wonderful – a tidal wave of emotion exchanged in an instant. Time stood still, fireworks exploded in my mind, a bouquet of senses expanding, evolving and consuming my total being and, at that very moment, right there and right then, absolutely nothing else in the whole wide world mattered to me.