He was tall, wiry and Bronx-to-riches chic. From the neck up: Danish frames, meticulous bedhead and a carefully cultivated three-day growth. From the neck down: body-skimming black, crisp and lean.
"You have beautiful hair," he murmured, fingering one copper ringlet so it coiled around his pinky just so. Bold, considering we had only just met.
Then he grabbed a fistful of my locks, in that gentle-aggressive way men learn watching Guiding Light on the home-sick days of their youth, and leaned in close to inhale.
"I don't recognize the scent, but I like it. Very... feminine."
His smile was practiced, almost predatory (to a trained eye, at least). No doubt it earned him an enviable rate of return. I knew of his reputation -- he was good, really good. But not my style.
"Come see me Saturday," he said. "I've got a busy weekend but I promise, if you come I'll be all yours." Any other woman would have leapt at this offer; I knew it and clearly so did he.
"Thanks," I shrugged, "but I'm already with someone." I must admit I felt empowered.
It was my eyebrow that got me out of this one, as it often does, cocking slightly to signal 'enough.' His grin held, but his eyes narrowed. This man was neither attuned nor accustomed to "No."
"Here's my number, in case you change your mind." His card was slick and overstated; no surprises there. I accepted it graciously, careful not to dismiss -- you never know when you might need someone, after all -- and we went our separate ways.
That Saturday I arrived to warmth and smiles from my faithful J. We took some time to get reacquainted before I peeled off my sweater and gently unwound my braids. And finally, as I yielded to those trusted, knowing hands, came the question I'd been waiting months to hear:
"Cut and color, same as always?"
Happy five-year anniversary to Jessica, my one and only.