She had come in at the beginning of his set and peered around, perhaps searching for someone ("Please, don't be meeting a boyfriend," he had thought) or perhaps for an empty. She sprawled her belongings across a table near the front: a sketchbook, pens, a cell phone, a clutch. A waiter approached the table, and without even asking her what she wanted or even saying a word to her, set down a cocktail and walked away. She must be a regular.
But she did not speak to anyone, nor did anyone approach her. She did not bob her head to his music and she did not tap her foot to the beat.
He had been watching her from the stage all night. He'd steal glances in between songs, try and catch her eye while singing particularly romantic verses, peer at her over his guitar when he pretended to adjust the strap or tune a string... and still, nothing.
When he was finally finished, he packed up his guitar, received his modest payment from the manager. He asked for two of what the lady was having.
"Do you know her?" he asked the manager.
"Not well, obviously. Seems like a nice girl, all things considered, I guess."
Obviously? All things considered? You guess?
He took the drinks with him and stood to the side of her table.
"Hello," he said, without a plan. "Um, I hope you liked my music."
She did not look up from her drawing. She did not acknowledge his presence whatsoever, just as she had not acknowledged his music.
"You know what, forget it. Sorry if I bothered you," he said, sitting the drink down next to her empty glass.
She looked up, startled. When she saw him standing there, she gave him a quizzical look.
"Oh, so I guess I'm not invisible," he said with a laugh.
A slow smile grew on her face, but she still wore the confused look. She raised her hands very slowly, and for a moment he thought she was going reach out for him. Instead, her hands began a slow, careful dance, drawing pictures in the air that he did not understand. He must have looked as confused as she had. He realized she had stopped and he was still staring, agog, at her hands. She laughed as he apologized and began the motion again, slower. This time, she spoke slowly and carefully.
"I'm... sorry. I don't... read lips very well. Can... you speak a... little slower?"
He motioned to the chair opposite her.
"May I sit here?" he said slowly, over enunciating. She laughed again.
"I would... like that," she said, her fingers dancing out the words.
"My name is Sam," he said, slowly. The way her eyes watched his lips carefully as he spoke sent a electric current through his body.
"Hello... Sam," she smiled, her fingers spelling out his name. "I'm Lila."