My hand felt sticky. I had spilled some juice over it when I opened the can. I took a sip and quickly swallowed it. It was hard to drink throughout the conversation. Partly because I was nervous, but mostly because I needed my mouth to speak. There were many distractions. My hands were numb from the cold and, as I mentioned, one of them was also sticky from the orange juice. My stomach was churning and it was difficult to stand still. But the biggest distraction was Nadia. She was on the swings thirty feet or so away from us. She wore a grey coat and a colorful scarf. Her hair billowed in the wind as she swayed to and fro. She was absolutely beautiful, and I felt warmer just by looking at her. I couldn’t stay enamored for too long, however, as I needed to be present in the conversation. I was talking to Nadia’s father.
Up until this point, the date had not gone according to plan at all. When I arrived at Nadia’s house, I saw that I had gotten a flat tire. My spare was not reliable for the long drive back home, so I had to scramble to get a new tire. The new plan was for Nadia and I to quickly stop by a Fred Meyer Tire Center and get a replacement. After that, we could just go back to our original plan.
When we arrived at the tire center, they told me they were all booked up for the day. We probably spent more than half an hour sitting in their parking lot while I called various tire shops in the city. It was the second half of the day and nobody had any availability. Every place that I called was booked up for the day and could only schedule something for the following morning. I was starting to worry.
Finally, after I slowed down and prayed, I called Discount Tire. A person named Mike answered with a cheerful voice and said that they were wide open. I punched in the address, and we were finally on our way to get me a new tire.
The next part was pretty straight forward. We came, I spoke to Mike, and he told me to wait for a little while. After we waited for close to an hour, I was finally called over to the counter. Mike told me that they had a new tire ready for me out front. I thanked him and asked how much it was going to be as I pulled out my wallet. To my surprise, Mike told me that it was “taken care of,” and that I was good to take it free of charge. To this day, I am not sure why this happened. Sure, I was courteous and made some small talk with Mike throughout the process. But, surely, it was nothing that warranted such a gesture. In any case, I thanked Mike and gave praise to God in prayer as I walked back to the car with my new tire.
With my problem taken care of, we went to the school where Nadia’s father worked. He met us outside and took us around the building to the playground. Nadia’s mother and little sister were also there so Nadia went on the swings with them, while her father and I stayed behind to talk. He offered me a can of orange juice, part of which I went on to spill over my hand as I opened it. My hands were shaking. Though I was already much more comfortable around him, I was still nervous about the conversation we were going to have…