Monday, May 27, 2013

10. I love cowboys...


...I said to my cute little cowgirl friend, Kayla, while letting out a dreamy sigh and looking off into the imaginary distance to my right. She wasn't twenty-one yet, but the Wild Horse let eighteen and up in. We were all beginning to slow down as our evening was coming to an end. We'd started at Falconburgh's where we had officially gotten Amy's bachelorette-night-out off to a wild start.

Falconburgh's is a popular college hangout, restaurant and bar in Durango. It has an Irish pub and dungeon feel since it sits at basement level, and has over one-hundred beers on the menu. The walls are made of red brick and the bar is the center piece of the fairly small restaurant. On Friday nights, it's an island in a sea of standing, laughing, and drinking bodies.

We reserved a large rectangular table just left of the bar and past the juke box for the bachelorette party. It was easy to spot after coming down the flight of stairs of Falconburgh's Main Street entrance. Had you joined us, you would have seen the penis shaped cake from there as you stood on the landing and looked over the short stone wall, it was three more steps down and to the right. As you turned back to your left and made your way to the party, you might have noticed any number of things... the penis cake decorated intricately by Anna, complete with whipped cream, looking as though it were, exiting the tip; Amy, goddess for the night, wearing a white t-shirt with individually wrapped Life-Savers pinned all over it; cards with naked men being passed around the table of eleven whooping women, and studied; pitchers of beer acting as center pieces; baskets of steak fries, chicken wings, salads and sandwiches sitting half touched; tiny penis candies hoping to be consumed for dessert, though they didn't stand much of a chance against the cake.

Amy and Jeff would be getting married in about four weeks, on September 22, 2007. My husband, Patrick, and I were partly responsible. I worked with Amy at Four Corners Eye Clinic and Patrick worked with her fiancé, Jeff, at Southwestern Beverage Company, the Miller distributor in Durango.

The first time Amy and Jeff met was on a camping trip, in Moab, with us. Amy had come with her then boyfriend Derek. They seemed to be fairly regularly off and on. But, I certainly didn't notice that Amy had noticed Jeff on that trip. I also couldn't tell that Jeff was into Amy... they are both extremely friendly people by nature, and laugh and smile a lot.

Patrick must have been a bit more in-tune than I was regarding the attraction between our two friends. Or, maybe Jeff had been inquiring about her after that trip while they were at work. Whatever the case, when I came home one evening a few weeks later to report to Patrick that Derek, also a friend of Patrick's, and Amy had broken up, he caught me off guard with his response.

"Jeff needs a girlfriend." he responded, quite matter of factly and with a straight face.

"Really?" I said. I had been clueless. Jeff was a good decade or so older than Amy, and while I adored him and didn't think of him as an older guy at all, I hadn't ever considered them as a couple.

I said, "What about Derek?"

Patrick shrugged.

Amy and Jeff were a natural fit. With his active lifestyle and appreciation for art, he fell for the cute little runner and art major, and she him. He is lean, with a cleanly kept goatee, brown curly and slightly shaggy hair, and big blue eyes. He has carved yet narrow facial features that brings to mind the word suave... he reminds me a lot of Patrick Dempsey actually, but while being very Durangoesque. Amy has awesome posture, brown curly hair that is cut similarly to Halle Barry's signature, and hot, short-do, huge hazel eyes and the most fantastic legs you've ever seen. The rest is history.

It just made sense that I'd be the first to volunteer to plan her bachelorette night out. Patrick and I were proud and excited to celebrate the union of our friends and, for a carefree and fun girl like Amy, a night on the town seemed the obvious way to celebrate.

Man after man had been more than willing to pay a buck for one of the Life Savers pinned to Amy's white shirt... he got to remove it with his teeth. We may have even charged five dollars for the Life Savers that were resting on, or near, prime real estate. Some of the guys took their ever sweet time practically nuzzled against Amy's stomach or bosom; getting every bit their money's worth. Most were respectful though, and it was all in great fun.

As Amy stood on a chair, I stood nearby like a body guard who also took pictures. Most of her customers towered above her 5'2", so we perched her up near the bar where they could easily reach the fifty or so sweet spots attached to her mid section. Once Amy darn near sold out, we girls that were all-nighters hit the Wild Horse, Durango's country western bar. We'd developed a small fan club from Falconburgh's that also followed us over.

Music met College Avenue as we pulled open the large wooden doors to the bar. It lingered there for a moment as they held open while we made our way in. Once inside, our giggling and chatter echoed in the stairwell. Our feet thumped up stairs that match the doors, wide and wood, as we piled up them two to three girls across. The sound of the band, though it was already loud, became more distinct as we rounded the corner at the top the stairs. The door woman checked our I.D.s, and we payed the cover and checked our bags.

I scanned the dance floor to my right and the little round tables on the carpet behind it. There were a great mix of people... some nights it might be mostly crummy men with no girlfriends, a younger crowd that the DJ would be inclined to play dance mixes for instead of country, or all couples, which for whatever reason, made it seem boring to me.

Tonight it was a nice and balanced group. A couple who'd obviously been dancing together for thirty plus years, smiled with their eyes locked in one another's as they moved counter-clockwise around the light oak dance floor.

Us girls had spread out a little. Kayla had found some friends at the far end of the mahogany bar and I ordered some beers while Amy, Anna, Faith and Allison started to dance. I placed our beer on a ledge near the edge of the dance floor and joined them.

When the music stopped we congregated on the edge of the dance floor, enjoying our drinks while some of us progressed from tipsy to drunk. I had kept a steady buzz. Since I was bodyguard and cameraman for the night, I wanted to remain in control of my good time... light lagers had been it for me. I didn't partake in any shots or fancy mixed drinks, and as a result, I felt just right.

My platinum colored stepped bob was tied back at the nape of my neck in a tiny ponytail. It was parted on the right, and had been combed to smoothly follow the curve of my crown, and was fastened with a neutral hair tie. I was wearing a favorite fitted black tee. The brand was a cool cycling apparel company, called Harlot, and the text on the tee read: mi bicicleta o mi nuerte, in Old English font and gold lettering. The phrase was underneath an illustration of a classic Schwinn Stingray bike in gold to match. The text translates in English: my bicycle or my death. I paired the tee with my favorite jeans, Diesel Dazes, in a medium wash that had begun to fade to a soft and pale blue. On my feet, were my black Italian leather loafers made by Elle. I had been going for an understated and comfortable look and feel, and one that would be appropriate for anywhere in Durango that we might end up. As strange as it may seem, there actually isn't a place in Durango where jeans and tee shirts are inappropriate. Admittedly though, when we were in the Wild Horse, I longed to feel the leather souls of my cowboy boots on the dance floor.

We'd only been there about twenty minutes when a gentle tap on my left shoulder caught me by surprise. Even more surprisingly, I turned toward the bar to face a very attractive man wearing a beige cowboy hat. I had a bottle of Miller Light in my right hand and was standing between Amy and Anna at the edge of the dance floor. The band had been playing fantastic covers of some of country music's best songs from artists like Garth Brooks, George Strait, and Alabama. They started to play a fast one when the handsome stranger held out his right hand and asked, "Would you like to dance?"

I said, "sure" as I reached over and set my beer on the faux bar that was about five feet in front of the real one. I took his hand and glanced back at Amy with wide eyes and an oh-shit-whaddo-I-do expression. She wore a sly grin and raised her eye brows in approval and gave a little shrug. I was a fuzz nervous because I usually only danced with Patrick or friends, and was not usually asked by such eye candy. I was inclined to give out a sympathy dance here and there to the guys without partners. It was odd to me that this guy was without a partner, and that he was asking me to dance.

The dance was fluid and effortless. His right hand rested perfectly at the small  of my back, and my hand fit a little too comfortably into his. We two-stepped within the crowd of dancers and around the floor. I had to avoid looking at my friends for fear of developing a permagrin that I wouldn't be able to mask by the time the song came to an end. Instead, I put on my this-is-nothing look and smiled with my eyes when I caught someone at a table or on the dance floor looking at us.

Toward the end of the song he was holding me tight and relatively close. It felt incredible. He was strong and sure footed; I felt secure, but barely touched. I shyly inhaled his cologne, which smelled subtle and sweet. We floated along in a merry-go-round rhythm that beat the socks off of any ride I've ever been on in my life. I'd kept my face turned to one side or the other for the duration of the dance, so that I could see what was going on around us and to avoid close and uncomfortable eye contact.

The brim of his hat, had he or I leaned in, would have rested just above my eyebrows and canopied our faces, creating a make-believe world of our own. When the song at last came to an end, he looked at me with a sincere smile and said, "thank you." He released my hand and ushered me back to the couple girl friends that were standing on the carpet, with his hand ever so lightly at my back.

My night had officially been made. Not only did a dreamy cowboy ask me to dance, but the dance was absolutely amazing! I found my beer and was happy to stand and watch the next dance. At the end of the song I turned, and by mistake, caught the cowboy's gaze. I smiled from across the room, took another drink, and looked at him again. The eyes just below that beige hat asked me for another dance. To answer, I set my beer back on the bar and he began to make his way through the crowd to me.

It happened over and over again. At one point, we actually just stayed on the dance floor at the close of one song, and waited for the next. We began to small talk a little, where I of course disclosed that I was married and the reason for my being alone, and I learned why he was without a partner... he wasn't local. He was a truck driver from Grand Junction and was just passing through town. Lucky me.

Kayla sobered me up quickly when she, in true cheerleader fashion (not that she was one, she was just excited) responded to my dreamy sigh and expression of love with, "And now you get to go home and have sex with your husband!"

I snapped my head back to face her and stood at attention. My face fell as her eyes and lips sparkled. The reality of it was gripping.

When I got into bed that night, Patrick was already asleep. I didn't wake him. Normally I probably would have been in the mood to, after a night of drinking and dancing with the girls. Instead, I delicately laid down beside him on my back, and with my arms resting straight at my sides. I didn't want to move. I didn't want to disturb or replace the wonderful feeling that the cowboy had left on me. I knew that I'd have to deal with why I was feeling this way at some point, but for tonight it could wait. I closed my eyes while breathing deeply, and let my body remember.

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