In March of 1995 I was sitting at the bar of Jimmy's Oriental Gardens reading James Crumley's The Last Good Kiss when in walked Jack. I had just broken up with a guy and was telling myself I wanted to be alone for at least two years before I even thought about dating again.
Michael Jordan had just had a 55-point game against the Knicks, and there were two commercials I liked at the time: one had Louis Armstrong singing "A Kiss to Build a Dream On," and the other was a Jaguar spot that used Etta James singing "At Last."
"I like that song," I said one day a few weeks later, sitting on my couch watching a Lakers game with Jack. The next night he came into the bookstore where I worked and handed me a CD.
"See ya 'round campus," he said, and walked off.
The bookstore had a café attached, and in the afternoons Jack would come there with his friend Dave after they got off work. They were building a house on Bath Street and would sit at a table on the sidewalk, their t-shirts and shorts and boots covered in sawdust, drinking Heineken.
My manager, Leslee, and I peeked out the front window at him. "Nice legs," she said.
A few weeks later Jack and I slow danced to "A Sunday Kind of Love" at Jimmy's while Willy closed up the bar and Dave sat slumped in a booth watching us. "I need a girlfriend," he sighed.
Dave has a wife and three kids now.
Happy the Day After Valentine's Day, when all hidden meanings are revealed.