My friend James always says, “Life is not the movies and movies are certainly not life.” I tend to agree with him. Life, well at least the one I live, has always been dull. No car chases, or explosions, or super powers. But all that changed last Friday.
It started out as normal day and without a thought I settled into the routine of my life. I always stop to get coffee before work and that day was no different. Waiting for a hot cup of wake up, I heard a clicking sound that could only mean a girl in heels had come in behind me. (It is strange to realize the things that guys are attuned to without even thinking about it.) I tried to look casual as I began looking around so that I could catch a glimpse of what she looked like.
I don’t think most people would call her “movie star beautiful”, but for a moment I couldn’t breathe. Her brown hair hung straight past her shoulders. Light freckles splashed across her cheeks. It was the freckles that got me. I could have spent the rest of the day trying to number them. Her green eyes met mine for a split second before dancing away shyly. In just that split second, I knew she didn’t think of herself as beautiful.
I only knew one thing in that moment. I wanted to kiss her. Not a perverted kind of kiss. I just wanted to kiss her as the highest expression of appreciating her perfect beauty.
For the next few minutes time slowed down and flew at the same time. She dropped her business card in the jar to win free drinks for a week. When she said “Thank you” to the guy that took her order she meant it. Who was this angel? I was caught up in her every detail each time I looked in her direction. Immediately a war began inside of me.
“Talk to her. I don’t know how to talk to beautiful girls. What will it hurt to try? My pride! My stupid foolish pride. I assume that girls like that don’t want anything to do with guys like me and the last thing I want to do right now is prove it.”
And then, in the next instant, she was gone and I was left standing there like an idiot holding his coffee. I have been that idiot my whole life and I was sick of it. I don’t know what came over me (I’m not usually the kind of guy to take risks), but I decided that I had to find her and tell her what she had done to me. As stupid as it was, I had to ask her for that kiss.
I went out to my car, where there would not be any background noise and called my boss with my best sick voice. I’m a good employee so she just said, “I hope you feel better” even though there is no way she believed my horrible fake sick act.
I walked back into the coffee shop and did something I never would have imagined doing before that day.
“Uh… Excuse me. That girl that was in line after me… Do you know her name?”
The guy behind the counter looked at me like I was the Unibomber. Luckily, the other girl knew that I was a regular and through all of our 3-minute conversations had decided that I was not a freak.
“Her name is Josalyn.”
“Oh. Thank you.”
This is where my plan jumped over the line of “Hey. There’s a pretty girl. You should try to strike up a conversation with her next time you see her” territory and into “You are a creeper” territory.
I strolled, as casually as I could, over to the jar beside the pastry case and grabbed a few off the top.
“Hey man! What are you doing?”
I ran out to my car and took off. Her card had to be one the ones on top and it was the only way I could find her. My mind began to taunt me as I drove.
“I am a crazy man! I can’t believe I just did that! This is what stalkers do. Just stop now. Oh my God…”
In that moment I almost did stop. But then I thought of the second I saw her again and gave up any hope of coming out of this looking like a sane person.
I drove to the address on her card. I didn’t have a plan. I just had to see her and tell her what she did to me. Honestly, the only thing I thought I would do after that was run away in shame.
The office building was modern with a stone façade. I entered and found myself standing in a lobby with granite floors and dark wood furniture. I headed straight to the receptionist’s desk.
“I am here to meet with Josalyn.”
The receptionist looked up with a practiced smile and said, “Ok. Hold on one moment please.” After a moment on the phone her facial expression changed and my heart dropped.
“I’m sorry sir, but she is out on an appointment.”
Disbelief froze me, but an instant later desperation took over and turned me into a liar.
“Well I have some very important documents that she said she needed right away.”
“Oh… I’m sorry for the miscommunication. You can leave them here and I will make sure that as soon as she retu…”
“I must deliver them myself per my supervisor. I was told that she needed these immediately.”
“Hold on one minute sir.”
She picked up the phone and relayed what I had told her. After a short series of “Uh huh’s” and “Yes sir’s” she laid the phone back down.
“This is where she is meeting her client…” she began as she started writing on a small pad of paper. It took every ounce of self-control I could muster not to jump in the air and click my heels.
“…should have enough time to deliver the documents before the meeting begins.”
“Thank you so much!”
The receptionist looked at me like I was crazy to be so excited over delivering documents. It was the second time I had gotten that look in one day. For someone who tries to avoid seeing that look at all, it was a little worrisome.
My GPS told me that the address belonged to a restaurant in uptown. I did my best Dale Earnhardt impression the whole way there praying that God would forgive my driving sins and make the police blind to my car.
My adrenaline had been pumping all morning, but the second I parked outside the restaurant the rush died and fear sucked all the blood from my face. My mind began one last desperate attempt to stop this inevitable failure.
“I look like an idiot. Why did I decide to wear this to work today? Stupid! You are going to come off as a weirdo. Just wait. Maybe you will see her there again.”
For once in my life my heart was stronger than my mind.
Even before my eyes had adjusted to the dim lighting inside the restaurant, I was trying to find her. Another wave of fear came crashing over me when I didn’t see her at any of the tables. I took a few steps past the hostess and slowly scanned the room again.
She was sitting in a corner table to my left. And she was alone!
It was now or never. I was about to choose never when she looked up and saw me. She looked at me like she was trying to figure out where she knew me from. I walked up to her table cursing myself for not coming up with what I should say if I ever found her.
I could hear the tremble in my voice and hated it, but I was past the point of no return.
“You probably don’t remember me, but you were behind me in line for coffee this morning.”
Recognition and shock flashed across her face.
“I know that this is crazy and that you don’t know me and that I probably seem very strange, but I’m not. I am really a good guy. I just wanted to tell you that you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. The second I saw you I wanted to kiss you. So as crazy as it seems, I came here to ask if I could.”
Her eyes grew wide with surprise. My mouth just kept babbling on.
“I’m not asking you to kiss me back… I just wanted to give you a simple kiss. I know you will say ‘no’ but I just had to ask so don’t feel like I will get mad when you do. I’m sorry for even asking but…”
Everything stopped as she stood up. My heart was beating so hard that I thought it would explode out of my chest. My eyes locked onto hers. Then I realized that she was looking past me.
I turned and saw a man standing behind me.
“Hello.” He said, “Am I interrupting something?”
“Uh… No. Er, I mean… not at all. I was just leaving.”
I sidestepped him and looked at Josalyn with shame written all over my face. A half-smile was all I could muster before I turned and left.
Walking back outside I felt a strange mix of failure and joy. The sunlight seemed to warm my soul a bit. As much as I berated myself for trying something I know had no chance of succeeding, I was proud that for once in my life I had the courage to chase something I truly wanted.
That’s when I felt a hand on my shoulder.
I’m not sure if it was pity or kindness that brought her out to find me, but when I turned to face her she leaned in a gave me my kiss. It was quick and awkward.
We laughed about that moment at dinner that night. It was definitely not like the movies. To be honest it was nothing like I had imagined it might be. The second one, however, was perfect.
Copyright © 2011 Adam Drake