The Wrong Move


“Hi! I’m not sure we’ve spoken before, but I’ve seen you several times at our university. My name’s Jay.”

Her hair had been shorter then, just past her chin; the same mix of silken gold and black. She’d been wearing a satin dress, beige and black that showed off her slim, almost boyish figure and nearly flat heeled golden sandals. Arriving late at the outdoor wedding dinner that summer evening, he’d found most of his friends at the dance floor. He’d smiled and shook hands, spoken a few words with the couple and made a beeline for the bar.

Jay had recently moved jobs and was still single after the break-up with his ex-girlfriend 7 months ago. He’d always been fast with starting things, but slow to pick up the pieces. He’d had to push himself a bit to attend the wedding this evening and he was determined to make the most of it, given that the new job was taking up a lot of his time.

She’d been sitting at a high table, looking somewhat bored. He’d spotted her while ordering drinks at the bar. She looked cute and while Jay was not normally a forward person, he decided to make a try for her.

He took a sip to compose himself and set himself at ease, trying to reach for an inner calmness and center. He’d found over time that he needed to manage his own expectations of the outcomes of his actions. He figured she’d either recognize him, or she wouldn’t.

Since her back was to him, he approached her table calmly from the side and introduced himself in measured tones. She’d looked a bit startled and taken aback, at first, but then smiled hesitantly.

Jay smiled back and politely asked, "May I join you?” She seemed a bit flustered, “Sure! Please! Yeah, you do seem familiar.” She smiled and introduced herself. He glanced towards the dance floor at the bride and smiled, “So, whose side are you on? I’m with the bride.”

She was soon at her ease and told Jay that she was on the bride’s side too, but knew the groom well. She’d seen Jay around at university and had been curious about him, but then their paths had never crossed. They talked about their mutual acquaintances and noted some friends they had in common, about their studies, and their jobs. He expressed his delight at getting to know her, saying, “I’m glad we talked. I didn’t realize I’d have such a great time at this wedding.”

An hour later, the conversation was still lively and strong and they were both warming towards each other. Jay felt great and felt that she was enjoying his company too. He desperately wanted to get her number, but was unsure how she’d react to that. In a pause during the last story they swapped, he asked if she’d like to dance. She smiled and stood up in response and they made their way to the dance floor. She spotted her friends and excused herself saying, “I’ll be back in a minute.”

He waited. And waited some more. Shrugging he stepped towards some of his friends and had a merry time, dancing and singing along. He tried putting her out of his mind. He wished he’d asked her for her number. He decided he’d let her ask for his instead. His mood darkened despite the merriment and soon he drifted away from the floor to stand just a few steps away from the dancing mass.

Her hair flashed gold as she walked his way. She seemed hesitant as he stood there unmoving. “Jay. Hey, I’m sorry I got caught up with my friends. I’ve got to get going now. But it was great meeting you.” Jay’s response was cool. He smiled and wished her a wonderful evening. He noticed that she stood waiting for a few moments, hesitating. He wanted her to ask him for his number and stopped himself from asking for hers. She stood a bit longer, then smiled hesitantly; disappointed.

Jay watched her walk away.

That evening and the next he’d called  up everyone he knew at the wedding, discreetly asking about her. He couldn’t reach the bride, of course and she’d be away for a few weeks. The only other person who knew her said she’d ask her first and get back to him. He spent a few weeks trying to find people he knew at her work, or even where the offices were. All to no avail. He’d missed his chance and as the weeks passed, he felt more and more foolish at the prospect of finding her number and ringing her up.

She’d come back to him hoping he’d ask to see her again and he’d been stubborn and stupid. He’d seen her several times after, but their paths never seemed to cross and he never worked up his nerve to walk up to her again.

2 responses to “The Wrong Move

  1. nice piece. i like.

  2. i just saw the title, i wouldn’t say ‘wrong move,’ maybe something like the promised dance…

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