(continued from Part 1)
The first thing I noticed was a tall, handsome man with the bluest eyes walking towards me. I almost turned around to make sure he was talking to me. He had a smooth southern drawl that made me smile.
He was in Key West by himself and wanted to have a picture of him taken with the palm tree background. I suppressed my normal inclination to get all photo-geeky and worry about the light and shadows and flash and setting up a good shot. Instead I asked to make sure I clicked on the right button to take a picture and took the shot.
I handed his camera back to him so he can make sure he liked the photo. I thought that would be it. But I was wrong.
"I was about to go get some ice cream. Would you like to join me?"
I was thinking, Um...YEAH!
But instead I countered his ice cream offer with dinner as that was what I was in search for when he ran into me. I knew of a balcony bar that overlooked Mallory Square that would be a prime place to watch the sunset. He agreed to join me and we walked and talked and made our way along the water to the bar.
The second thing I noticed about him is how friendly he was.
Charles is 38, from Raleigh, NC and was taking some 'chill-time' in Key West. He had originally planned on staying for the week, but got bored with it and was cutting his trip short. He was flying back home tomorrow.
He gushed about his daughters (it was very sweet), we shared stories about our work, our families, what was important to us. We were asking all the standard 'get to know you' questions, but we talked as if we knew each other for years. We people-watched and made fun of the same people: the drunk old man, the rich woman with the tiny dog in her purse, the teenagers who pretended too hard to be adults, the twenty-something who was getting hit on by the old men.
Little by little, the normally protective exterior I usually possess gave way and I began to just enjoy the moment I was having. I had someone take our picture so I could record it and prove to myself that I wasn't making it all up.
Like a true gentleman, he paid for dinner. The third thing I noticed about him was his kindness.
We watched the sunset, him in his 6'3"-ness towering over behind me.
However, when the sun went down, the temperature dropped and we walked through the street performers and crowds through the marina along the water together to get my jacket out of my car. It was chance that we had met and the night was too young for this encounter to be over.
So we made sure it wasn't.