A year later he calmed down and was over with the rampage, his midlife crisis as he now referred to it. Later he would reflect upon those months and the women he had emotionally clawed as harshly as he could, avenging the demolition to his ego after the end of his marriage.
When he thought about that era he chastised himself. And when he thought through the women he remembered every name and detail of the pile-up of brief encounters. All of them except that Aussie bartender with her tough demeanor and her boyish body. What was her name? He remembered that she didn’t say goodbye when he took her home. She was hot and chilly all at once. She was the last of his one-night-stands. Maybe her obvious disinterest snapped him from his chaotic spiral.
A year or so later and one day his eye caught a new sign planted firmly in the front garden of a Victorian cottage and on the shingle was painted Jasmine & Co. It was a shot to the head. Jasmine was the name of the bartender. A private chuckle for him.
Years later and with the advent of social media Jasmine sent him a message. This was startling. He remembered she clearly hadn’t been that ‘into him’. He took his time replying, kept things neutral. Next she updated him, not that he’d asked, she was married, had a newborn and coming up on their first Christmas as a family. Her forced cheer revealed her feelings. That she was writing to him said everything. He knew if he asked even one question he’d be in quicksand. He wanted nothing from her. Not now.
Time rolled on and intermittently she corresponded. Sometimes he replied though usually not. To him she was a memory of a mess long ago when he was weak and she was strong and along the way a switch got flipped.
What she will never understand is that he liked her, until she liked him.