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The Most Memorable Man Meeting Day I Ever Had

The ones you don't forget

By Elia Esparza, Spicy Cilantro
Published on LatinoLA: June 26, 2012


The Most Memorable Man Meeting Day I Ever Had


Originally published on Spicy Cilantro

The year had to be 1978. I was six months single after my then-husband decided he'd rather keep company with a woman who had once been a friend. It was June, right around my birthday, maybe June 17th or thereabouts. It was a Thursday and my friends had issued a directive to be ready, because after work, I was being taken out to Flannigan's for a night of dancing and hanging out with cute guys.

So on this particular day, I forced myself to get all glammed up, make-up just right, hair blown dry like Farrah Fawcett, sexy red silk blouse with poufy sleeves. My broken heart had helped me lose 10 pounds so those skintight jeans slid right on. The finishing touch were my Candies heels. For the first time in months, I felt good. It's true a little dab of self-attention creates feel-good magic. Even had an upbeat attitude.

On this day, I would be patient with my elderly neighbors who owned the jewelry/watch shop and were always a little too nosy into my business.

I owned a clothing boutique at the old Farmer's Market in Downtown San Diego, on the upper floor.

The Beauty Bar Boutique was a tiny shop with the latest one of a kind fashion wear and accessories. My business partner and I shopped at the Los Angeles Downtown California Fashion Mart… usually buying for our loyal clientele. The first floor of the Farmer's Market is where the restaurants, produce, nuts and other food and agriculture booths held court.

Normally, I stayed at my booth all day, closing only to break for lunch or use the bathroom. But today, I felt like talking a stroll on the first floor and saying hello to my vendor friends. It was a particularly busy day on the ground floor, lots of people shopping and buying lunch… but I felt so good I had to walk and show off my new attitude, chin up and all that mumble jumble!

Walking down the steps, my heels pounded each wood step like a judge pounding his gavel demanding attention. I was strutting down like John Travolta on "Saturday Night Fever." Halfway down the staircase, I noticed a man at the foot of the staircase staring up at me. A fireman wearing his turnout pants with suspenders. I almost lost my step because have you ever met a fireman you didn't absolutely love or have steamy dreams about?

This fireman had to be the most gorgeous creature I had ever seen. Honey golden skin with emerald green eyes. And a body, oh my… never mind. He was one hot guy!

I slowed down, mesmerized and careful with each step until I got down to the first floor… the man stood next to a barrel of nuts, bag in his hand, eyes glued on to me and all I could manage to do is barely smile and keep on walking past him.

After a few minutes he caught up to me, and said, "Hi, I'm, Ryan" (not his real name). I tried to talk but nothing came out of my mouth. I think I responded with a whispered stutter, "Ni…Nice to meet you." And then I kept on walking. I was so nervous and intimidated I'm surprised I didn't just fall over… "Keep walking. Keep walking," I said under my breath.

I had just been dumped by a husband that I thought loved me. He claimed to be leaving me for a whole lot of other excuses than the actual truth. I was raw with insecurity. I didn't see myself as a woman desirable to any man. So, here was this Ryan paying attention and it just didn't make any sense. He was legends better looking than my ex and I thought maybe it was a joke that this man was paying me a compliment.

It took a couple of days, when Ryan returned, this time he went upstairs and found me behind the counter of the Beauty Bar Boutique where he convinced me to give him my phone number.

As it turned out, he did call. And, this chance meeting created a lasting friendship that has endured 34 years. Ours was not to be a crazy love affair because I was not ready for anything other than friendship. I was so damaged by my divorce that I wouldn't allow myself to fall head over heals for this beautiful, worthy man. Timing is not always on the right side at the perfect moment. But there is still that charming "When Harry Met Sally" element to our tale, except for the ending nuptials…. Just friends, the best of friends, and sometimes it's the best gift a man can give a woman.

Ryan's friendship was one that made me feel beautiful and helped me become the independent, self-made woman I was to become. And, you know what? Even today, each time we talk on the phone or I receive one of his texts, he always makes me feel special. Just one "hello" makes my heart skip a beat just the same way it did on that very first day we met.

A chance meeting of a man who made a difference in my life.

I'd like to hear about your incredible man-meeting stories. Let them pour, especially if they've touched your life in the way Ryan did mine. And, with your permission, I'd love to publish some at Spicy Cilantro!

–Elia

All Rights Reserved, © 2012, Spicy Cilantro

Edited by: Casandra Moreno Lombera

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