“Are you gonna be my girl, or what?”

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We had started the conversation two weeks prior, and there we were, sitting across a secluded table toward the back of The Freeman, continuing it.

A full, lusty voice poured through the air from the bandstand at the front of the shotgun restaurant. It had to be yoouuuu…

A bead of condensation ran down my martini glass.

I could barely make eye contact. My eyes would betray me. Or I’d start smiling too big. That had been happening a bunch. It was weird to feel so familiar and so excited, like, how could this be old and new at the same time? It was like a reunion from a previous life.

The smell of jambalaya wafted over from a neighboring table. Conversations were low, personal. Silverware and glass clinked. The whole place was humming. The singer, an older white lady, swayed at the front – I watched her silhouette move in the window, backlit by the patio lights.

…I wandered around, and finally found…

It was dreamy, relaxed… but I couldn’t resist a giggle – that song ALWAYS makes me think of Marla Hooch in ‘A League of Their Own’… whatta hitter!

We had been listening to the band, giddily smiling, talking about everything under the sun while sipping our beverages for around a half-hour. Time stood still when we were together, yet I could never seem to get enough of it. I had found my person, and it was a feeling I had never felt before.

…wonderful you, it had to be yoouuu!

We had been watching the song wrap up – the band was old-school heads, the types who you could tell felt it in their bones, rrrreeal jazz cats… the bass player was crushing it, the drummer was everything, the singer was captivating, like a soulful southern Tyne Daly. They were the perfect soundtrack for the tornado of good feelz at our table.

The guitar player started talking, moreso to the crowd of regulars gathered at the frontmost tables. It was a perfect lull to chat a bit for us, too.

I started to say something as Jelaine turned back into our table, but stopped at the touch of her hand on mine. I felt my eyes crinkle at the corners as I turned my palms up to meet hers. I’ve never been much of a shy gal, or easily silenced, but I became the whole human embodiment of googly-eyed.

And that’s when I heard the words:

“Are you gonna be my girl, or what?”

She looked nervous, but hopeful. I probably made a silly face – typical – but then smiled and got all tickled. Like, duh. I would. I did. I am.

I have been since that day, this day, four years ago.