A Thousand Reasons

“That’s weird…”

The high-pitched squeak of Riley’s chair signaled his coming arrival to the top of the grey wall that separated our cubicles. His words arrived a split-second before the top half of his face.

“What is?”

I looked up to see the hazel eyes of my curious co-worker looking down upon me. His short brown was neatly parted and brushed to one side. When I started working here, his habit of looking over our shared wall reminded me of the neighbor Wilson from Home Improvement, but after a few weeks of why Star Trek is more scientifically accurate than Star Wars instead of words of wisdom from obscure tribes in Africa the illusion faded.

“Some girl dialed my number by accident, but instead of hanging up she left a message.”

Riley’s voice rose a bit with excitement. “Oh yeah? Let me hear.”

I put my phone on speaker and played the message again.

“Oh… I dialed the wrong number. Sorry, but have a nice day anyway!”

Although I could not see it below the wall, Riley’s eyes gave away his smile.

“She sounds like Deanna Troi.”

“You think every girl sounds like a Star Wars character.”

“TREK.” he said with great enunciation before sitting back down, “It’s Star Trek.”

I knew it was Star Trek, but it was fun to watch him squirm when I mixed them up.

____

It’s never just one thing. So there must be a thousand reasons why I called her back that night. I’m sure the fact that there were no good games on tv was one. And cold weather always makes me feel lonely, that was probably another. But in all honesty not actually having been on a date in a few years probably had more to do with my loneliness than the cold front.

All day long I thought about that voice mail. Who takes the time to leave a message after they call the wrong number? And she sounded so… happy. I knew it was stupid, but I had a plan. If she answered I would just hang up. She didn’t answer. Her recorded voice greeted me. It was the first time I heard her name. Rachel.

“Hi. My name is Jordan and you called my phone by mistake today. You left a message and I just wanted to say thanks for wishing me a good day. It worked. I got free dessert at lunch and my boss let me go home early. Uh… Anyway, just wanted to say thanks and wish you a good day too.

____

She waited three days. I was in a movie when my phone buzzed inside my pocket. It wasn’t until I was walking to my car that I remembered the buzz and pulled my phone out to see who had called. I didn’t recognize the number and tapped the little red tape ready to delete a telemarketing message. When her voice came through a wide smile swept across my face.

“Hi Jordan. This is Rachel. I’m the girl that called you by accident a few days ago. I just wanted to say thanks for calling me back. At first I thought it was weird, even though it made me smile. And after I thought about it some more I decided it was weird, but also sweet. Anyway, hope you have plenty more good days.”

____

“Dude. That’s just strange.”

Riley was clearly not a romantic. Over the past three weeks Rachel and I had exchanged about twenty messages.

“I think it’s… unique. It’s our thing.”

“Your thing is to leave each other voice mail’s and never answer when the other one calls so that you can have an actual conversation? That’s not a thing. Unless your in prison.”

As much as I hated taking advice about girls from a guy who owned a Star Trek uniform, I knew he was right.

“I know. I just… Once you get in a pattern it’s hard to break. But you’re right. Next time she calls I’m gonna answer.”

Riley sunk back down into his chair before sharing his last thought.

“Good for you. If things work out, see if she has a sister.”

____

This time it was my turn to peek over our little Berlin wall.

“Riley!”

He jerked in his seat and let out a little squeal. As hard as I tried not to laugh, I could not hold it in. Anger and shame flashed across his face and I quickly contained my chuckle.

“Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you. But I thought you would like to know that I talked to Rachel last night.”

His glasses sat crooked on his nose from his jump and he adjusted them before looking up at me.

“That’s great. Does she have a sister?”

“Oh! I totally forgot to ask. We talked for almost an hour.”

He nodded a half-hearted congratulations and turned back to his computer. I smiled and waited for a few moments before continuing.

“I told her I liked the sound of her voice and she said that people tell her she sounds like Deanna Troi.”

Riley stopped typing, but did not turn. I went for the kill.

“Yeah. She said she only wished she could read minds like a Beetlezoid…”

Riley’s head whipped around.

“It’s Betazoid Jordan. You don’t even…”

I didn’t hear the rest through my laughing. When I finished he was just staring at me with a look of frustration.

“Apparently, she is a huge Star Trek fan. Sweet girl, but not my type.”

I sat back down and waited. Silence hung over our cubicles. Riley was not moving. I just sat there smiling. It must have been five minutes before I heard that familiar chair squeak.

“Uh… Jordan? I um… was thinking…”

I wanted so badly to make him ask, but he’s a nice guy and nice guy’s deserve some breaks.

“I told her to expect a call tonight and gave her your number so she would know it’s you.”

Riley stood there frozen with fear.

“Don’t make a liar out of me man. Just give her a call and see what happens.”

He sat down without saying a word.

____

The wedding was beautiful. I was a groomsman, which unfortunately means that I too am now a guy who owns a Star Trek uniform.

They had their reception outside so that they could look at the stars. Riley came and sat next to me while the rest of my table was on the dance floor.

“Hey man.”

“Hey. Congratulations.”

“Thanks. I never would have met her if it weren’t for you.”

I just smiled and shook my head. It’s funny how things turn out. Riley slid something across the table towards me.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“Funny thing. Turns out Rachel does have a sister. And it just so happens to be the girl you have been staring at all night.”

Busted. I couldn’t help it. The maid of honor was beautiful. Long brown hair and green eyes that you could get lost for days in. She was the definition of out of my league. I didn’t know what to do but laugh. That’s when he pulled his hand away and I the napkin beneath it. It had a phone number on it.

“I told her to expect a call tonight.”

He got up and gave me a pat on the shoulder before returning to his bride. I picked up the napkin and held it in my hand. This time I did not need a thousand reasons.

Copyright © 2012 Adam Drake

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27 comments

    1. Thank you. You don’t know how much that means to me. I struggle with the question of whether I have the talent to keep a reader. Am I good enough that they will want to come back? You help me believe that maybe I am.

  1. It’s a sweet little story – and don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with a sweet story that makes you smile and catch your breath at how things can really work out sometimes in this crazy old world that can depress the hell out of most people if they let it. I loved Riley’s line – that’s not a thing. Unless you’re in prison.

  2. I love short stories like these – they leave such closure and contented-ness (they need a word for that). Well done!

  3. I think what I liked most about this story was the reversal. Here is this budding love story between two quirky people, which another is kind of scoffing at, and in the end it’s his love story. Don’t make a liar out of me was my favorite line 🙂

  4. This was not here when I came looking last week, sir. Just sayin. This was adorable and well-tied. I liked the story detail of forgetting about the phone until you got out of the theater, and I laughed really hard at owning your own Star Trek uni. Your fun stories are a lot of fun, Adam. ♥

  5. Ok – I am such a dork – I got a little teary-eyed when I read the first sentence of the last part, “The wedding was beautiful.”

    A perfect story: romance and surprises and an ending left up to the imagination of the reader. I loved it.

    1. This is a great post and may be one that ought to be followed up to see how thgins goA good friend emailed this link the other day and I will be desperately waiting your next write. Keep on on the remarkable work.

  6. This is a great story. I met my husband on an online dating website. We talked by email and IM for almost 2 months before talking on the phone. Then, the day before Christmas I called him to wish him a Merry Christmas. He was with his brother at the mall, but I knew he appreciated my call. It was the first time I had heard his voice. A few weeks later we had our first date. Four months later we were engaged, and 7 months after that married. We will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary on December 14th.

  7. So sweet. I just discovered your page by accident today. I have read several of your story’s in the last little bit. I must say I have enjoyed all of them. When I read them I feel like I am reminiscing with an old friend….

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