I was dressed up in the black-on-black polka dot dress I bought at Forever 21, one drunk evening in Santa Monica. My hair was up in small Princess Leia buns with a white, cloth flower to the side, and I went over to a restaurant behind our residence called Amici’s.
There, I met Karisma and another woman working with us for dinner.
The evenings are bright in France, the daylight stretching to 10pm on most sunny days. I waltzed in and joined the two ladies at the table. When I sat down, our waiter approached with a menu.
He smiled and I felt all the blood in my head drop. He was gorgeous. Olive skin, tall, just exquisite. He was skinny and elegant, but still masculine. He carried himself lightly, with the grace of Cary Grant. When he looked me in the eye, I had that moment of feeling naked and admired. And, let’s face it, in that dress I practically was.
My ego was high, so I returned the glance.
White sheets, Mediterranean wind through the window,
touching his bare back . . .
. . . OH! The menu!
He held my eyes and turned away.
The bottles on the counter between our table and the kitchen were shoved aside, so the cook, another young man but much more fair, could see me. I waved.
The Host, a taller gentleman, a bit older than the other two, but also handsome whispered in the cook’s ear as they smiled to each other.
Karisma fanned herself. The other woman, middle aged with blond hair, laughed playfully.
Our table was in the center of the restaurant, and all the attention was circling around us like the show was just about to begin, now that all the players were there. It was almost comical.
There was an older woman in the kitchen, in her late forties, dark skinned, who looked at me sternly and then the boys serving us.
Karisma, “I think that is their mother.”
Sandals came in to meet us, with his baseball hat and goofy smile. He sat across from me, and our waiter came with his menu. He held my eyes. Were they blue eyes, light blue eyes on toasted brown skin? I remember feeling like he just pulled the zipper down my dress with one, long, hard stare and then a boyish smile.
Sandals looked around, confused, as the other two laughed.
Karisma, “Oh my God. We were just sitting here having a nice dinner, before [StarFire] got here. We admired the handsome waiter . . . he’s a handsome man. But she comes in, in her little dress, with her flower in her hair and the temperature rises in the whole restaurant. I mean . . . it’s warm in here.”
Sandals was less amused, “Do you want me to find out what’s vegan?”
I was flush with estrogen, “Sure.”
I had ordered a glass of red with my meal, being its a crime to eat pasta without wine. I sipped my glass, tasting the grapes, and the dew from their leaves and the bark of their stem. The warmth slid down the back of my throat. I had to take it easy, I only had enough money for one glass, but damn, it was good.
Sandals spoke to the waiter, seriously, mentioning no dairy and no eggs. Each time he referenced me and my diet, Sandals’ arm extended towards me across the table. The waiter traced his arm to my eyes, smiled and looked back down.
We both ordered the same pasta dish- penne with a spicy sauce.
He left. I turned to Karisma and smiled, “Are my teeth red?”
She laughed, “No.”
Karisma and the other woman finished eating, so Sandals and I waited for our dishes.
When he came back, and the dish was set in front of me, the smell of tomatoes and pepper filled my nose and mouth.
He smiled at me, “Enjoy.”
I said, “I WILL.”
The food was delicious, and it was around this time that the attention dimmed. The cook cooked. The host led more customers into the restaurant. And the waiter was more cordial and less sensual, somehow.
Karisma, “I think they got a talking to by their mother.”
I bit my lip, leaned back and looked into the kitchen. The older woman was staring at me. I smiled. She did not smile back.
I returned to the bowl of pasta, and did my usual, “MMMMMMMMMM!”
Sandals said, “I am going to go back to the [residence].”
I said, “Why?”
He said, “Cause I’m tired.”
Karisma, “Yeah, I am going to go back and take a nap, too.”
I blew out hot, Italian air.
“Well . . . what am I supposed to do?”
Everyone wanted to nap on the cusp of my sexual reawakening?
The waiter returned, “Would you like dessert?”
I didn’t want the most sexual dinner of my life to end.
Sandals said, “I’m fine.”
Blond, “Me too.”
Karisma, “I’m done.”
Me, “I would like dessert. Does it all have dairy?”
The waiter bowed slightly, “Um, we can put together a fruit dessert, if you like.”
I smiled, “I would.”
I perked up so my breasts would push against the edge of my dress.
Then everyone at the table laughed.
Shit, too much? I didn’t want to break the spell.
Then … he returned.
The dish was kiwi, strawberries, raspberries and melon sprinkled in confectioners’ sugar. It was a large dish, so when he brought it to me, I was surprised by the size at first.
He stood behind me and laid the plate down, then slowly, and I mean, ever so slowly, laid down the fork.
I could feel his breath on the back of my neck.
Then he laid down a spoon.
My cheeks burned.
Then he laid down a knife.
Each time, dipping closer to my hair.
He was taking my power away. I was in control face-to-face, as the customer, matching each, uncomfortably long glance. Now, with my back to him, I couldn’t see him. I could only smell the strawberries and kiwi.
Not only was it coy and incredibly sexy, it was intimate. We weren’t smiling at each other across the restaurant, he was pressed up behind me, quietly serving my final course.
Then he laid down my napkin.
When he stepped away, I felt a rush of cool air fill the void suddenly opened between him and me.
He stopped at the end of the table, so I could finally see him and said, with a smart grin, “Enjoy.”
Karisma, “That looks good!”
I took my fork, and put the first strawberry in my mouth. The flesh melted into red nectar on my tongue.
Each piece of fruit split open in my mouth to release reds, violets and greens in my mouth. The sugar bubbling in juice just before each swallow.
Sandals said, “I have to go.”
We let him go and the other two women waited as I scooped up every last bleeding drop of fruit and sugar.
Just then, a party of eight came in, three young men in a row, filed down the side of our table, looking at my polka dots like it could be on the menu. They were young, oh my, so young.
Karisma, “What is it about you?”
It was all bordering on absurdity, it was so over-the-top, but the men were putting me in heat. I didn’t know how many more days I could go celibate. The skin around my hips and breasts were swelling, and after that dessert, I knew, at some point, I needed more . . . just so I could think clearly again.