Storytime: Chance Encounters, September 4th, 2013

9:30 am – Driving back to the house after dropping Andrew off at work

I’m nervous. It’s the 4th and I haven’t paid my rent yet. It’s not technically late, not technically until tomorrow. The office doesn’t even open until 10am and I mean (if you do want to be technical here) I have until 6pm on the 5th to pay my rent but I like to pay my rent on the first. Everyone likes to remember to pay their rent on the first. But it was a Sunday. The first was a Sunday. So I didn’t and now it’s the 4th and my chest feels tight even though I have the money and I’m going to pay it right now.

I’m pulling in to the parking lot and there is a woman standing at the mailbox and that’s funny because I need to be standing at that mailbox too. I slow down to park in the spot by the mailbox and she stands in the middle of the spot, blocking me from parking, starring at the dent in the side of my car where a man accidentally threw a motorcycle at my car on the 1st (when the rent was due).

I whip my head around and she is still starring at me. Now I am starring at her too. Now I am mad and my brow is furrowed because she hasn’t moved. She is 5 inches taller than me, with a wrinkly soft face, and bottle blond hair. She is shoulders up, chest forward, headed right towards my driver side window.

“You almost hit me” she accuses me. I want to tell her that she was standing in the middle of a parking spot but reflexively and without my permission, my mouth says “I’m sorry” instead. I will my face to say ‘get out the way, this is where cars go’. “Well obviously you already hit someone else!” she points at the dent in my car.

She’s gone before I can tell her that technically, someone hit me.

I stomp as angrily as possible over to get my mail and try not to wish anything bad on her when I slip my rent check in the mailbox. She didn’t get killed and I paid my rent so technically, this went well.

1:30pm – Taking my lunch break, stopping at the bank.

I don’t like the bank or the post office or pretty much anywhere I have to stand in line and then talk to a human. I always forget what I need and then I make a lot of nervous noises. On the other hand, I like getting my paycheck cashed right away so I am standing in line and staring at the marble floor trying to make myself disappear. I feel like it’s working. I can feel myself becoming one with my jacket. I relish the soft sublimation in my half-human, half-cotton journey. I bow my head too far and all my hair gets stuck in the jacket zipper causing me to abort my new transformation.

I fidget with my hair trying to get it unstuck when I see an angel turn around. Her skin is a delicious shade of oak and her hair is a forest framing her smile. She is turning towards me, away from the sweaty, balding, and bespectacled bank teller. The contrast between them is astounding. Even he seems flabbergasted by her beauty. I suddenly recognize her. She’s a system analyst who apologized to me when we bumped heads (literally) in a bathroom at a conference last year. We had a moment then, maybe almost two minutes of a moment.

She smiles brightly and hones in on me. Direct eye contact because she knows me. My heart sinks. I forgot her name.

“Oh it’s good to see you!” her smile makes me feel guilty about how ugly I am.
“Yes, just, uh,” oh crap, what is small talk, “doing some banking” swing and a miss.
“How’s the job going XXXXX?” she remembered my name and now I’m just starring into space trying to conjure up memories. I remember she likes pineapples but not mangos. Her perfume smells like soft flowers with hints of mint. She has a cat! Yes, she has a black cat named Baxter! Why is my brain not helping me?
“Oh still in the same place Mmmmm—” Michelle? Melissa? Maria? Did it start with an M? I feel an ‘M’ name coming on. I’m standing there too long. I’m starring at her too long. My chest is heaving and I wish I really could become a coat.
“Well, have a great day, XXXXX” she makes a sort of unsure gesture with her shoulders as she leaves.

I finally get my hair unstuck from the coat zipper and walk to the counter. I manage to get my cash checked and not die of embarrassment at the same time. I think it would have been easier to be stuck by lightning on the spot though.

5:45 pm – After work, driving to pick up Andrew.

People are idiots when they drive. Especially on the way home from work at which time it seems like their brains have all but flown away. I understand somewhat because I’m tired too. I just want to pick up Andrew and go home and eat dinner and watch TV. Can’t life just be simple? Can’t the radio ever play a song I like?

Stopped at a red light. Furrowing brow. Clicking the radio away from “Blurred Lines” for the 10th time out of the 20 minutes a day I’m in the car. Of course the song about gross sexual misconduct, misogyny, and objectification is popular and catchy as hell and gets massive radio play.

Pressing through my presets, now we’re talking. Muse’s “Undisclosed Desires”. All my favorite things in a song: violins, sadness, a soft, easy to sing range. Hell yes, I’m gonna belt it. A silent moment of gratitude for windows.

I want to reconcile the violence in your heart
I want to recognize your beauty’s not just a mask

Hey. That man in the BMW is singing too. Woah, no, wait. Hold on. He is singing the song. This song. Oh my god this is amazing! No don’t look at me weird guy because I’m way too into this song for this not to be a little creepy for both of us.

I want to exorcise the demons from your past

He looks. He’s into the song. Like 110% unabashedly into it. His face is soft and sad and I wonder if I’m mirroring him or he’s mirroring me. He smiles meekly at me. Just like that, it happens.

I want to satisfy the undisclosed desires in your heart

I’m in love with a cute strange man in a BMW because we are both singing a song.  In a moment like this we are caught off guard by each other. We are in love with the song, and each other, and the universe.

Please me,
Show me how it’s done

He smiles brighter as we pass and he leans his whole body into the turn and then disappears from my sight. I pull in to the parking lot as the song ends, tears start falling down my cheeks and my heart hurts.

Trust me,
You are the one.

Damn. I have to stop falling in love with strangers.

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