I’m sitting at Starbucks when she asks, “What are you looking for?” My eyes peered over at the coin on the linoleum floor. It looked like a nickle, but I couldn’t tell from this angle. I cleared my throat and pulled out the first words I could think of.
“So you know how can tell a lot about a person by the way they stand and wait? The more you watch them, the more you get to know them. Do they hide in the back, quick to pull out their phone? Do they stand patently? Do they try to figure out how many people are watching them?
Are they pissed because there is only one person at the register?
Obviously, a lot of this is all moment to moment. I mean, we have our good days and our bad dates, and all the other But the fascinating thing to me, is the HOW they do this. I can’t help it, my brain just goes kid in a candy store with this type of shit.”
“Darby, what does this have to do–”
I put up my finger. “Gimme a second, I’m getting to that.” I took a quick breath and continued.
“So the how someone stands, or the way they get mad. These are all learned behaviors influenced from all types of different people within this person’s world, so to speak. Some of these behaviors we play around with, kind of like a new jacket, while others we seem to hold on for dear life. The second ones are weird traits. They’re the ones we like so much we tend to form a bit of an identity around them.”
I took a swig of my latte and placed it on the cold table.
“It would be like if you wore that Grey Jacket everyday of your life.”
She bashfully looked up and rubbed her jacket.
“Definitely a magical jacket.” I took another sip of my latte and she followed suit.
“But anyways, what were we talking about again?”
“You were avoiding telling me what you were looking for in a woman.”
“I was?” I let out a small smirk.
She rolled her eyes. “Oh my god!”
“Kidding. Back to this identity thing. Those traits are something I look for with anyone I meet, but it’s not like an active thing. See, we’ll just be talking about something mundane and it’ll hit me, like a motorcycle at a light pole. BAMM! Something just clicks in me and I realize, This is who this person is, or who they think they are. Just like with your Grey Jacket.”
“You really like this jacket.” She said smiling.
“It’s true. But see that “who they think they are” part is super crucial. Everyone is stronger than they think they are. We just tend to forget that from time to time.”
“We do.” she said, adjusting herself in the stool across from me.
I took the final drink of my latte.
“So I said all that to finally put an end to the simple question.”
“I know. I know. So what I’m looking for, is a girl that owns a specific crazy leopard pattern jacket that she bought drunk at a thrift store years ago. Maybe she was feeling excited about her new promotion, or always wanted one since she was a kid. I don’t know that part. But what I do know is for some reason she gets up every morning, sifts through the jackets in her closet, passing the leopard one because of some excuse about how it’s just not right for what she’s wearing today, and puts on the Grey Jacket.”
I began gripping the empty cup with both hands.
“And honestly, what I’m really looking for more than anything else. More than toe curling orgasms, or honest thoughts about my writing, or even putting up with my retarded bull shit. All those things are great, but the thing that might be the most insanely beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, is when I help that girl connect the dots in her brain. And she struts down Diversity street, flaunting her leopard pattern jacket on without a care in the world.”
“Wow” She said, analyzing my eyes.
“Yea. So that’s what I’m looking for.”