Nearing midnight, I was still awake. As I tossed and turned in my bed, I thought of different ways to approach her without being too obvious that I was overly attracted. I knew she could read my actions if I came on too strong.
It was not the first time I courted a girl. I was not as amateur as I looked at age 26 although my calm disposition often painted a picture of an insecure man, unsure of his worth when facing the opposite sex. In some way, the image worked in the past because some women found it a sign of being down to earth.
I decided to perform a well-disguised serenade, something totally unorthodox that she would not even suspect I was starting to influence her feelings toward me.
Months earlier, I bought a portable DVD player, the successor of the Walkman cassette player. One of the first compact discs I acquired was Chicago’s Greatest Hits collection. I was quite aware that the lead vocalist sang in high notes, which my voice range could not match, even with constant practice. I endangered my honor by trying hard to sing like the original.
While I washed the dishes, she was nearby checking the ingredients of her planned menu for the next day. The DVD played one of my favorite songs and naturally I belted out a sing along while headphones covered my ears.
“Are you alright?” she asked first in Swedish, then in English.
I removed the earphones immediately, elated that she noticed me right away. I was nervous though I tried not to show it.
“Is everything okay?” she rephrased the question.
“Ja!” I replied, using the very first word that popped out of my head. “Javisst!”
She displayed her killer smile: I nearly knelt down to mimic a religious fanatic adoring an idol. If I was an ice cream, I could have melted in seconds.
“I can speak English,” she revealed, her accent clearly close to British.
I tried to impress her by expressing my rehearsed lines in her native tongue, everyday phrases used in casual conversation that I learned watching the early morning children’s show.
She giggled politely, not sounding harsh upon hearing my crooked and laughable pronunciation.
“I thought you are crying. You probably missed your wife.”
“I am still single,” I replied, showing her my left hand without a ring. “Still available.”
She turned he gaze away, embarrassed when I did not remove mine on her face.
“Why did you think I was crying? Was my voice that bad?”
She laughed all of a sudden, confirming my suspicion. I was not angry. On the contrary, I was glad I already made some kind of a headway, removing the uneasiness between us.
“I did not say it,” she smiled again. “You did.”