In a cheap Italian restaurant — red and white checkered vinyl tablecloths, sawdust on the floor, Parmesan in a shaker — he watched as she twirled her hair, a habit of hers he found endearing, though later he’d find it infuriating. They were newly in love, which should explain everything.
“I don’t like the rain,” she announced, her head turned towards the window. “It’s… Tragic. Rain is tragic.”
“Really?,” he asked, through a forkful of spaghetti. “I think rain is romantic. Freeing. Remember Gene Kelly dancing? You’ve seen that movie?”
Twirl, twirl. She ignored his question. She hadn’t seen the movie. “I don’t like getting wet,” she sniffed. But she’d forgotten herself. He looked wounded, or was it that he seemed disappointed in her? She hedged. “I don’t mind it when it drizzles. A fine, misty rain is good for the skin.” Where had she heard that? On TV?
He brightened. “Exactly,” he agreed. “I wasn’t referring to a downpour. A fine, misty rain… That’s what I like, too.”
They exchanged satisfied smiles. So this is how it would go, then. It wasn’t terribly hard to meet in the middle. Simultaneously they reached for the forlorn heel of bread in the wicker basket the waiter had placed just so between them. “You take it,” he offered, feeling charitable, and mature. And she did; she was hungry. Munching contentedly, she managed to stop short of marveling at how companionable the evening had been.
We know how to compromise, he thought, and in his youth and inexperience he took this as a propitious sign.
written in April of 2011