I continued to work swing shift after Edward left, was accepted as one of the "girls", enjoyed their company but remained aloof. Although I tried, I was not like them. My years of parochial school had left their indelible mark.
I yearned for the part of me lost when Edward left. Each day, I dressed, put on makeup, combed my hair, dabbed on perfume for his absent approval. He too left an indelible mark. I remained his Asian doll.
His absentia assumed approval wasn’t enough to fill the void. I pined for his smile, voice, caress, and sophistication. That’s what I told myself. In truth, I missed the affair’s forbidden attention of being someone special. Friday nights slipped by uneventful. No longer was I as Dr. Evan’s arm candy, the object of a maître d’s or sommelier’s attentiveness.
During swing shift at work, I began meowing unfaithfully, like the Siamese cats in the Disney movie, Lady and the Tramp, for Edward’s Scamp.
I am horny if you please
I am horny if you don't please
There is no finer than me
I like, you pet me quite a while
Meow, meow, I, want it now, now.
In the spring of 1978, a year after Edward walked on the plane and out of my life, an engineer walked in at Nortec while I aligned wafers. I didn't flirt for his attention, didn't even notice him. He boldly approached and introduced himself unnoticed.
I was bent over aligning. He interrupted me and asked.
“Hi good looking. How, about lunch together at break?”
Looking up from my microscope, I refocused and scanned him. His alignment pleased me.
“I don’t eat cafeteria food. I bring my lunch. Cafeteria food’s bad.”
“I know but I didn’t bring lunch. You can sit with me while you eat yours. I’m just asking for us to sit together.”
“You’re pushy. I’m aligning now. Pick a seat. When I go to lunch, I’ll decide if I’ll sit with you.”
I bent back down to align. He strode off, de-boldened.
When I carried my lunch bag to the cafeteria, he was sitting alone at a far corner table. I sat across from him, opened my plastic lunch container, nibbled on the chicken I brought but didn’t look at him.
He finally asked.
“Cat got your tongue? It’s okay. I’m glad you decided to sit with me. What’s your name?”
I looked up.
“Cobra, are you venomous?”
My tongue darted out in warning.
“How about you and me, we go on a date? Let me see if I can charm you out of your basket."
"So am I".
"Í don't see a ring".
"Don't wear one but I'm married."
He was ten years older, good looking but bald on top and a bit on the short side, say five feet nine inches. I figured Italian. He had a nice voice and smelled good. He was sure of himself in demeanor, an Alpha male.
I looked directly at him.
"Are you good enough to date me?"
He didn’t flinch or look away but smiled, self-assured.
"I'm good, very good, no I’m great! If you go on a date with me then you’ll know how great I am."
I knew the best response was to mock him. Engineers assumed alignment girls were attracted to them with them by their superiority in earnings. I was never, ever, going to be his F and F. I wanted a prince Edward, an Omega.
"Who are you and what do you do here?"
"I'm self-employed. I’m an electrical engineer working on contract. Nortec contracted me to fix equipment that broke down. I don’t actually fix it. I tell them what’s wrong and how to fix it. You can call me Enrico."
I looked directly at him, again darted out my tongue for his attention.
“You may be good, even great, but I've never dated a Mexican electrician. My husband’s an engineer."
Insulted, he replied.
"I'm an electrical engineer, not an electrician and I am Italian, not Mexican."
Knowing Italians tended to look down on Mexicans and Portuguese, I retorted.
"Well, you look Mexican or maybe Portuguese."
He smiled instead of protesting. He realized I was teasing.
“So, Cobra, you are venomous. I’d still would like to charm you.”
"Where would you take me on your date?"
"Wherever you like."
"I like shopping, my husband never takes me."
"Ha, I’ll take you shopping!"
"You need to be a real engineer with a great credit card to afford me. I like nice things."
Laughing at my brashness, he replied.
"I can afford you if you treat me nice."
"Get me perfume so I can smell good for you."
"That's for you to decide. I need to know if you ‘re Cheap Charlie cologne or Sugar Daddy perfume."
"I'm Sugar Daddy Perfume, you'll see."
Finished with my chicken I replied.
"You better go fix the equipment or they’ll contract another to do it."
I got up and went to the girls' table. They’d been watching from afar and began their innuendos and teasing as I sat down.
The next lunch shift he was sitting at the same table with a wrapped little box. I sat down across from him, opened my lunch bag but ignored the box. He picked it up and in a grand swing of his arm presented it to me. I pulled out a wrapped sandwich, opened it and then set id down on the table. I flitted my eyes at the box suspended in his hand, took it, set it next to my sandwich on the table and nonchalantly opened it. It was Shalimar, a half-ounce.
Setting it on the table, picking up my sandwich, I glibly replied.
“A half ounce, you’re only good for half a date?"
He stared back stunned with no cocky smile. He took the package and wrapping, put them in his coat pocket and left without a word. It didn't matter if we went out or not. If we did it was going to be on my terms. That was what my mind said but Cobra hissed a half-ounce was fine.
The next lunch he had an ounce bottle, boxed but unwrapped as if to say he too was indifferent.
I opened the box, then the bottle and applied dabs behind my ears and on my wrists. After a few moments to merge with my scent, I placed one wrist under his nose.
It was our first contact. He lost his indifference. I lifted my hair on one side and let him put his face to the nape of my neck and sniff. I was wearing the dangling gold and pearl earrings of Edward yore. He attempted to kiss my neck, but I pulled back and told him.
“We're not on a date yet."
Tired of my banter he replied.
"Are we going out on a date or not?"
"I would if I had something to wear."
"What, a nightie"?
"I need a special dress and shoes to be nice on a date."
I wrote my sizes on a napkin to let him know I was serious. He was upset as if I was making him a fool. I got up, left to the girl’s table but turned around on leaving, smiled as a flirt and said.
"Make sure you don't get half a dress and one shoe."
"You better not be half a date."
"I don't do half dates."
The next shift, Thursday, he wasn’t there. I assumed his interest had waned. Friday, however, he showed up and explained he’d worked Thursday at another facility.
"I got your dress and shoes for our date. They’re in my car. You want to see them?"
"Get them and I will try them on in the ladies’ room. If they look good, I will let you see me wear them."
I wasn’t going to degrade myself rushing to his car as if I was a cheap F and F.
He came back with an Emporium bag and handed it to me. I didn’t look inside and went to the ladies’ room to examine what he’d bought. The quality was okay but the blue dress, with white embroidery, was too short and the shoes weren't what I’d pick to match the dress. Together, however, they made their statement. He wanted me to be a hot date.
I put them on. The dress hem was three inches above my knees. The three-inch heels pushed me forward. I put the dress and shoes I wore to work in the bag and in my work locker.
With my smock over my new dress, I strode back to his isolated table. Walking across the cafeteria I crossed my footsteps to provide emphasis from the high heels. Their clicking on the floor raised the heads of the girls at my regular table.
Standing before him, he stared down at my feet in the shoes he selected and smiled.
"How’d you like the dress."
I lifted my smock as if to show the dress but pinched it with the smock, so it rose too. He briefly saw my panties.
I dropped the smock, bent over, and crossed my arms, as if embarrassed.
"The dress looks great on you. You promised a date."
"Meet me Sunday morning, 10 AM at the Stanford Mall fountain."
"Not more shopping?"
"I said, I like shopping, but my husband never takes me."
I got up, took a few steps with heels clicking to go back to my regular table, stopped and turned to him. He obviously had been watching my posterior sway. I opened the front of the smock so he could see the dress then left him smiling at the table.
The girls quizzed me, but I told them I was just teasing and wasn’t interested.
“He’s a joke. If you girls want him, he’s yours. You can have the dress and shoes too.”
In truth, after a year of marital fidelity, I was swept off my feet, not by him, not by wantonness, but by ego stroking.
Author Notes: She tries to control and manipulate an engineer met a work by banter but is struggling with herself.