How We Met
How we met P.1
I first met Milky at an expensive, but still chic Italian restaurant off 54 and broadway called Bravado Italiano. Asuka, my good friend, and his girlfriend at the time, convinced me to join them on a double date there. I wasn’t dating then, so she set me up with a guy she knew from work.
My very first impression of him, as we met at the table, wasn’t much. Aside from his black hair, nothing really stood out. He seemed like her type—mysterious, stand out, brooding—and, because we’ve known each other for years, I’m well aware Asuka has a habit of picking up less than well adjusted men. And, unlike my date, whose name I really cannot recall, as it turned out, despite his appearance, Milky is the only boyfriend Asuka has ever had who can talk not just as much as her, but as loud. He was a bit funny too, just a bit.
After the dinner, we all exited the restaurant. Whoever my date was left without saying much. Asuka, about to say goodbye, realizes she not only forgot something inside—typical—but also has to use the restroom—especially typical. It was just me an Milky.
He leaned up against his car, a beat up 2004 Honda Civic, and lit a cigarette.
“Please don’t smoke,” I tell him.
“Why not?” He says.
“The smell of the smoke will get into my hair. It takes long enough to wash already.”
He takes a drag on his cigarette, and says, “Cut your hair then.”
“Oh, mind your own business.”
“And you mind your’s.”
Asuka returned, we said good buy and they left. My Uber would be there shortly.
Nearly half a year later, Asuka calls me and invites me to her company’s Christmas party. She can be insistent if I say no so I tell her I’ll be there and she reminds me to dress up and that Christmas parties are a “big deal,” and when “magical,” things can happen. In hindsight not exactly the most subtle omen, but I’ll get to that later.
After selecting a beautiful blue and velvet gown my tailor fitted for me just right, I took an Uber to the location of the party. Asuka and Milky had already arrived and were sitting at a table with some of her co-workers near the bar, opposite the dance floor.
Unlike the double date, Milky wasn’t very talkative. He seemed to be in a daze, or lost in thought, and this went on until he suddenly stood up and left the table. Asuka said not to worry about it and that he, “gets like that sometimes,” but I couldn’t help but wonder why he’s leaving to the terrace all on his own. What drew me to him? God, certainly, but it’s nothing I could ever explain.
I tell Asuka I have to use the restroom and she doesn’t hear me over her own laughter and the laughter of her co-workers. So I get up from the table and follow after him.
On the terrace, there was no one else around. It was just him, against the railing, watching the glowing light of the cityscape ahead.
“Hey,” I say behind him.
He looks over at me, takes the cigarette from his mouth and taps ash over the railing.
“Oh, Mike, right?” Is what he actually told me.
For a second I’m speechless.
“No,” I say. “That is not my name. You better be joking.”
He laughs. “Yeah, I’m joking. What’s going on, Miku?”
He remembered my name. That really stuck with me.
“Oh, just getting some air,” I say, walking beside him. “It’s beautiful.”
“The view,” I say.
Then we’re both quiet for a long time. He eventually finishes his cigarette, puts it out under his boot and and turns toward me.
“Kiss me,” he says.
“Come on, kiss me.”
“No, I’m not,” he says. “Kiss me.”
This is when what drew me to the terrace in the first place strikes.
“Why?” I ask him.
He doesn’t say anything. He takes my chin, pulls my face close and he kisses me. Our lips part. Aside from that smell of cigarettes, a smell I’m so used to today, there’s no doubt, I could feel my heart racing.
“But why?” I say.
He scratches his head. I hit his chest.
“Well, say something. You’re dating Asuka and you kiss me? Just like that?”
“You let me do it,” he says and I slap him.
I turn away from him to leave and, walking away from the door, beyond its glass, is Asuka. I could only guess then, but what happens later makes it clear, she saw everything. I look back over at him. He’s facing the cityscape again smoking. If he knew what was going to happen, would he have still kissed me? Today, he claims he would, but I’m not so sure. He likes to put up a tough front. He was the one hurt the most, after all.