I was beginning to feel a little woozy, and there was a sensation of dry emptiness in my throat. The kind of feelings you experience when you are hungry and tired. I parked my van in an Applebee’s parking lot, grabbed my lunchbox from the floor, and began my meal. I cannot recall what it was that I had for lunch that day, but I know that I didn’t pay much attention to the food or how it tasted. I plowed through my lunch and guzzled down a bottle of water. All the while, my thoughts were elsewhere. My mind kept circling around the next day, and the day following that.
It was a Friday afternoon, and I was taking my lunch break. The next day, Saturday, I was going to visit my friend and his wife for a sleepover and some quality time together. We haven’t had an opportunity to spend time together for a while, and I was excited to see them. The day after that, I was going to leave their apartment to drive two hours north. I was going to go on a date.
It didn’t take long before I asked Nadia out on a date. We began texting back and forth the day after we met. And then the day after that, and the day after that. We had some engaging conversations, and I was able to see a glimpse of what she was like – her character and personality; and, I liked what I was seeing. I didn’t see a point to just texting for long or “being friends first.” After all, we lived two and a half hours away from each other. So on the fourth day I asked her out on a date. After asking for her parents’ permission (which made me like her even more), she agreed. And so on Sunday, a week after we met, we were going to have our first date.
My plan was to take her out to a sushi place in downtown Bellingham (the city where she lived with her parents) and then go for a walk. My mind was racing with thoughts about Nadia and about the monumental day to come. I was nervous about whether she’d like me, and worried about whether I’d like her. I thought about all our past conversations over text, and about what kind of person she was. I thought about how to act and speak, and what not to do. And, despite my attempts to not do so, I daydreamed of where this could take us both.
As I finished my lunch, I wiped off my hands and mouth, and ignited the engine. Switching the gear to “drive,” I kept thinking about Nadia. She was such a mystery to me. I lifted my foot off of the brake pedal. I remembered the way she smiled at me on the day we met. I began turning the steering wheel to turn out of my parking spot onto the road. I wondered whether she felt something inside her, the way I did. There was a loud bumping and scraping noise outside. I thought that I shouldn’t let my emotions take hold, and that I needed to keep my head cool when deciding how to proceed with Nadia. I couldn’t let this girl go to my head and make me lose my focus. Someone honked their car horn behind me.
Hearing the horn pulled me back into the moment, and I realized that something must have happened outside. “Did someone bump into someone else back there?” I thought. I stopped the van and stepped out, my curiosity getting the best of me. Walking back past the rear of the van I saw that someone did, in fact, cause an incident. The bumper of a Mercedes convertible that was parked next to where my van had been was taken clean off. No other car was to be seen, except for a truck parked a couple spots away, with a man sitting in it and looking at me. That’s when I realized what had happened. I walked up closer to the man in his truck.
“Was that me?”
“Yes,” he replied.
I realized that while I was distracted I didn’t notice that there was a car parked next to me, and began turning out of my spot too early. I clipped its bumper with the side of my van and took it right off without even noticing. After a quick prayer, I walked inside the restaurant to look for the damaged vehicle’s owner.
Long story short, I walked out of the incident without any issues. My employer’s insurance would cover the loss for the lady who owned the Mercedes. After everything was settled, I was sent back to the dispatch center to turn in my van and was dismissed for the day with a warning.
On my way back home, my mind continued racing. I realized that I was falling for this girl, and we hadn’t even known each other for a week. I was worried and excited. My heart was filled with relief about the day’s incident, and hope for the days to come…