Daniel Adler Refuses to Regret

daniel adlerI saw the sweet-smelling Israeli girl again. I saw her a few days ago, when she and her friends were walking into Bhagsu to see the temple. And today I thought it was her, and I noticed the pink soles of her shoes, confirming that it was her. She said she’s moving here. She came with me to see my room and the significance of her being the first woman I’ve brought into my dwelling was not lost on me. I realized how much shorter she is than I. I also realized how large her breasts are, far larger than I originally thought. That light spray of freckles across her nose, her rich dark eyes, all so willing and young. And walking out of my house for dinner to the Thai restaurant, I saw her again. She moved into the room I originally sought, where the anarchists stayed, said she had just eaten and that we could eat together soon. I smiled and turned away, hoping it would come true sooner rather than later.

Sitting with my friend Sheera on the patio, I told him the story. After watching her go into her room and leave again, come halfway down the stairs and turn around, I wanted to chase after her. He said, “Go find her.” I did. But I couldn’t. So after coming back from the grocery store trying to find her, Sheera told me she had just walked into her house and that she would be coming out. I pretended I was talking to him until she walked down the stairs, where I feigned surprise and asked her out for a drink. She smiled and said I’ll wait here. I dropped off my groceries and we went to the Magic Coffee Tree.

During our date a couple of guys, then another guy, came into the coffee shop to say hello to her, without acknowledging me. Despite these very minor interruptions, we sat for two hours talking, laughing, about philosophy, language and places. The first time I complimented her subtly and she ignored or didn’t realize it, the second time she laughed and said thank you. Towards the end of our date, another Israeli saw her and interrupted our date. I made sure to make eye contact with this one. It was time to go anyway, and in front of her countryman she asked for the bill and assumed the traditional Israeli female role of commanding the situation. He insisted on seeing her friend or something to that effect, and walked with us to her hotel. I said goodbye and went to the bathroom. When I walked he was leaving.

Very strange, I thought, that she would be so friendly with so many different men, and yet she told me earlier that she didn’t really like hanging out with Israelis. She and I are of the same opinion that when you travel the point is to meet different people, not just hang out with the ones from your home country. In any case she does like me, or else she would not have wanted to stay talking so long after we finished our drinks. I half-expected her to knock on my door, since she had invited me to drink rice wine with her and her friends, although I knew that wouldn’t happen.

There was a moment when we kept staring at each other, when she invited me to keep staring, that I considered asking her back to my room to make out and cuddle, although part of me thought that it should happen more naturally, that she probably wouldn’t be quite that down, being Israeli, sober, and so sought after. These Israeli men, the gall of them. God, it’s bad enough they all come here to get high and have their own insular community, scared as they are to go anywhere without Jews. But we can’t all travel fearlessly. And as far as asking her back for a beer, it seems increasingly like the right thing to have done. Although it is more of a second date kind of thing, which you work up to after a nice dinner, maybe getting some beers and talking in my room until the wee hours. Or maybe that’s just what she would expect– maybe the real way to win an Israeli girl isn’t to wait for the right moment but to seize it before they have a chance to lead or guide the direction, maybe that’s what they want. And in that case, which isn’t necessarily the right case, but is the right case for you Daniel, then you should have done it when you had the chance. Because it may never come again.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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