Dear Mr. Anonymous,
You will probably never read this, but I want you to know that I had a magical time with you last week.
It was a Wednesday evening. It was raining. Another Valentine’s Day had come to pass, and my heart ached for love. I, Herbert A. Reynolds, was standing alone on Cross Campus, eating lukewarm leftover casserole out of a Tupperware, when you arrived.
At first, I watched you from afar. I noticed how the moon danced off your wire frame glasses, how the breeze tousled your silvery hair, how your confident strides more than made up for your significantly below average height. You were the most beautiful creature I had laid eyes on in my 42 years. I knew I had to approach you if it was the last thing I did.
I walked over and asked if you cared to join me for a drink. My heart skipped a beat when you said yes. Hands shaking, I ordered us an Uber (it was Wednesday, so my mom had taken the car for Bingo Night).
Our Uber driver asked if smooth jazz was okay. You said you much preferred bluegrass, which you had started listening to as a freshman at Stanford University. You then turned to me and whispered that in 1990, you created a band called “Professors of Bluegrass” with former Silliman Head of College, Kelly Brownell, in which you played the bass. You smiled that devilish smile and explained that the band had a rotating membership of Yale students, professors and New Haven residents, and that you released your first album, “Pick or Perish,” in June 2013. You really wouldn’t shut up about bluegrass, but I was too lost in your Yale Blue™ eyes to care.
I suddenly realized I had forgotten your name, but at this point it was way too late to ask. At one point during our drive to the bar, you took a phone call from a colleague, who (if I heard correctly through the phone) referred to you as “Resident Shallow Bay.” I knew you got your bachelor’s degree at Stanford, but Resident Shallow Bay still seemed like a pretty strange nickname, even for someone from the San Francisco Bay Area.
We finally arrived at the bar and walked inside. Sitting at the half-lit counter, I got a good look at you for the first time. You were even handsomer than I remembered — very foxy, and not at all hedgehog-y. Something about your face seemed a bit misplaced, though, as if you had recently shaved off a bushy mustache that defied all known laws of nature by remaining a luscious shade of brown long after the rest of your hair greyed.
You ordered a dirty martini. I ordered a tall glass of 2 percent milk, on the rocks. After sitting down, you asked me what I did for a living. I explained that I had applied to be an IKEA sales associate, but that it hadn’t really worked out, so if you knew of any open positions around New Haven to please, please let me know, I mean, living with my mother is wonderful, but jeez, I’m almost forty-two and a half.
I asked you what you did for a living. You told me that in your free time between presiding over a small liberal arts college in Southern Connecticut and doing cutting edge psychological research on emotional intelligence, you also rose through the ranks of the bluegrass community, starting out as a lowly banjo player and currently serving as a trustee of the International Bluegrass Music Museum.
After a few drinks, you decided it had gotten late and abruptly decided to return home to 43 Hillhouse Ave. You ordered an Uber, and with a foxlike flash of silver hair you were gone. I was left alone at the bar, sipping my milk and wishing desperately that I had gotten your name or number.
Mr. Resident Shallow Bay, if you are even reading this, I will be waiting at Cross Campus every Wednesday evening, rain or shine, eating my Tupperware casserole until I find you again. I may not do cutting edge research in “emotional intelligence,” but I know for a fact that it would make me “very happy” to “take you out for dinner some time.”
Thinking of you,
Herbert A. Reynolds
Caleb Cohen | firstname.lastname@example.org .