DANIEL – Part 1
Well I suppose if you are going to listen to my story, you had better hear about me first.
Let me see now. I am twenty-eight and Jewish. The latter part is very important as the story will unfold but as I am typing this suddenly I can’t think of anything else to say.
Well, I live in London, born in Israel, live in Hendon. This sounds so, so boring but then I am boring at the moment. Have a boring job. Work with my mum. My mum started up a cleaning agency years ago. She organises for cleaners and au pairs to obviously clean for people. I do it too but nowadays it is more computerized. I set up the whole system and nearly run the business. Unfortunately there are times when we cannot get a cleaner to come as an emergency and then I have to don my special cleaner’s outfit and I go and clean the house. They always want me back. HAAA some hope.
Well much to my parents’ alarm, I am still single. I was engaged once but that is another story. From time to time I do actually go on dates. Either from J-Date or people I meet but to be honest with you, I want what I know I probably shouldn’t want. My perfect man would be someone tall, blond and definitely NOT JEWISH. I just want someone uncomplicated, uncumbered with Jewish guilt, loves sex and a good bacon sandwich. Actually, the last bit is a lie. I only eat Kosher meat. I’ve never even put a slice of bacon in my mouth, never eaten a ham sandwich or even a McDonalds and I don’t intent to either. SO THERE.
Anyway, tonight I am going for a blind date arranged by my mother. Apparently this one, Daniel Reynolds, is the nephew of someone my mother plays bridge with. “You’ve met her” my mother said “Beate Bronstein. You know the one who always brings a coffee cake”. I looked at her clueless. Number one, I haven’t lived at home for five years and when I don’t concentrate on her bridge friends they all blur into a generic mass of short, slightly plump women with accents.
“What is so special about this one?” I asked my mother. “Well for one thing” she said thrusting a photo into my hand, “his father is not Jewish and he is blond, tall and is a solicitor I believe”. My eye brows raised as I looked at the photo. He was good looking I will grant her that, with honey blondish hair curling around his forehead. “How tall is he?” I asked. This question was always very important to me being 5 foot 9. I hated towering above people. “Well he is over six foot, that I know. She said he is tall but of course anyone is tall in comparison to Beate. So how tall I cannot guarantee”.
I stared at myself in the mirror. My looks generally weren’t a problem unless someone wasn’t into tall women. I am dark, a product of my father and definitely pretty. Usually I am told I am exotic but then again, Jewish men don’t think I am in the least bit exotic because I am just like them.
I am meeting Daniel in a bar of a hotel. He said that they make very nice cocktails and we could always go on somewhere later so I agreed. To be honest with you, I don’t suppose he will take me anywhere later. I am not under any illusions. His aunt for whatever reason has told him to take me out. May be that photo was old, may be he stutters or a terrible thought occurred to me. May be he had Tourrettes and would launch into swearing at me. I sighed. Well, if it was anything like that, I was well within my rights to leave.
I decided not to take my car. If I had to leave quickly, I would just jump in a taxi. I was not in the mood to spend ages finding a parking space. The hotel as it happens was a half an hour walk. As I was early and wasn’t really taking the situation seriously I decided to walk. It was one of those late May evenings where the sun was still trying to shine through the clouds. As I walked along the streets I could smell the faint smell of barbeques and the damp smell of earth where people were watering their gardens.
I reached the hotel and paused for a moment. Usually I would go into the bathroom and refresh my makeup but tonight I didn’t bother.
“Where is the bar?” I asked at the reception. She nodded her head to a huge neon sign saying “BAR”. I blushed slightly and walked through.
I looked around the room and saw random people sitting, drinking, talking etc but I couldn’t see anyone answering to Daniel’s description. I walked towards the bar. I turned around and out of the corner of my eye I saw someone blond, yes, that does look like him I thought but, I stopped. “For goodness sake. As I turned around, it was definitely true, he was in a wheelchair!
I paused for a second and thought “what the hell”. I walked over to him. “Excuse me?” I asked, “but your name isn’t Daniel by any chance is it?” As he smiled at me, I recognised the smile from the photo. “It is” he said shaking my hand. “Sit down. Would you like to see the cocktail menu?”
I looked at his face. He certainly was handsome but ...”They didn’t tell you did they?” he suddenly said.
“No they didn’t” I answered. “I just DO NOT understand why they didn’t tell me. I could have walked away, I could have said something ....”
“embarrassing” he continued. “Don’t worry. My aunt said that your mother might not tell you because she didn’t think you would care that much, is that true?”.
I looked at him. There was something really nice about him that was for sure. He was very tall, I could even tell that when he was sitting down and broad. I could tell even through his suit that he was broad and muscular – just what I liked and his voice. His voice was like a dream. His voice if I closed my eyes was a cross between David Cameron and I don’t know – Stephen Fry.
“Does it matter? I repeated “I don’t know. I haven’t really had the chance to think about it. It shouldn’t matter really should it, if I like you. They obviously don’t think I am a shallow person. I don’t know. Do you think I’m weird that I can’t answer that question?”
“No” he said smiling “you seem very honest and open, just like they said you are. Now what do you want to drink?”
I chose my drink. “Daniel?” “please call me Dan” he said, “my friends do.”
“Ok then Dan” I said. I paused for a moment. “I was in a car accident when I was at university. I took a year out for rehabilitation etc and then i just had to get on with my life.”
“Oh” I said smiling. “I wanted to ask but it seems strange asking you medical details on our first meeting. Like you asking me what operations I have had or how many fillings do I have”.
“Well personally I would prefer you to ask whatever you want to so that you wouldn’t feel uncomfortable. People feel uncomfortable because they don’t know what to say or they think they will insult me. But on the upside, when they get to know me people treat me normally. I don’t know”.
“When was your last girlfriend?” I asked. He smiled “about two years ago. I’m not on the rebound don’t worry. What about you?”
“Well the last serious one was about two years ago and I have been out on one or two dates but nothing really.” I looked at him. “Can you walk at all?” I asked looking down. “No” he replied. I broke my back so I have a spinal cord injury. I keep fit, go to the gym every day, swim so that if there is ever a cure, I hope I will be fit. Do you work out or anything? You have a nice figure?”
“Thank you” I said blushing. “Well I walk a lot. I walked here incidentally. I just walk and walk. It is good exercise and gives you time out on your own to think.” I paused for a second. “That doesn’t embarrass or upset you right? To talk about walking”.
“No” he laughed “does it embarrass you for me to talk about “wheeling””. I shrugged and shook my head.
The evening was going well As the time went on I felt that I wanted him to sit close to me, put his arm around me even but I wasn’t even sure what he could and couldn’t do. Then he suddenly said “would you like to go and get something to eat?”
“Yes please” I replied “where do you want to go”.
“My aunt said you are kosher. Would you like to go for a shwarma or are you okay to eat here?”
“I can eat here” I said “I can have fish or vegetarian?”
He called the waiter over and we went into the restaurant through the door.
The restaurant consisted of semi-circular leather booths. Dan transferred from his chair and sat next to me leaving his wheelchair next to him. As he got comfortable next to me I could feel the magnetism between our two bodies. He looked at me and I stared into his icy aquamarine eyes. His lips touched mine and we kissed. I placed my arms around his shoulder and pulled my lips away from his momentarily to inhale his cool aftershave and his soul.
He looked at me and we kissed me again. We stared at each other and he put his arm around my waist and cuddled me. “May be your mother and aunt were right after all”.
TO BE CONTINUED.