I had worked for him for awhile in a part time job but no longer did. We’d known one another before I was in his employ, and on whole, working for him had well, worked out. He was old enough to be my father but we’d long had what I considered an affectionate, special rapport. He’d once said with a smile, “If I was 25 years younger…” to which I jokingly answered, “If you weren’t married and had grandkids…”
On this day, I met him outside in a commercial area to get a letter of recommendation he’d written for me. (I don’t remember why we hadn’t met at the work site.) He had to go into the bank and I went inside with him. As we waited for the teller, he pulled out a little canister of breath spray and sprayed it into his mouth. It was an odd gesture, one I’d never seen him do before and by this point, I’d known him for years. He was by no means a vain or self-conscious man.
Back outside, standing in the parking lot, he handed me the letter of recommendation and we talked a moment. Then. Then. Then. Then he went in for a kiss. I phrase it that way because that was how the maneuver felt. “Went in for a kiss” is from a different time, as was this man. This man, old enough to be my father, who had a wife, children, grandchildren. As he leaned in, I turned my head just in time so he got a piece of cheek rather than the lips he was going for. The breath spray’s purpose was now all too clear. I was horrified. Appalled that he attempted this and attempted it the way he did (spraying breath spray first in front of me??), assuming it would be okay to kiss me – why? why?? – and really that he cheapened our long relationship with this one move. This one poorly timed, inappropriate, peculiar move.
Nothing was said about it. Not then and not ever.