Life had once been defined by linears and absolutes. Then she met him.
She had planned out her life down to the hour. She had achieved each of her goals. She had never made room for anyone so that she could stay on her track. The men she had dated were either on a similar track and had let her do her own thing. Or they just rode her coattails until one of them tired of it.
A quick stop at a convenience store on her way to a meeting brought them together.
Needing to pick up a drink and some breath mints, she stopped a block away from work. He was there in line behind her. When she dropped her keys on the floor, he picked them up and their eyes met. They both caught their breath, then smiled. She could barely choke out a quiet, “Thank you.” She turned quickly, shaking inside, and nearly ran out to her car. Trying to calm this unfamiliar reaction, she sat quickly in the driver’s seat. As he left the store, their eyes met again. She quickly flipped down the visor and pretended to check her makeup just to avert her eyes. She took a deep breath, composed herself, then backed her car out of the lot narrowly missing a collision with a delivery truck.
Moments later when she reached her office building, she was back in complete control and pushing the thoughts of him from her mind.
As she walked to the conference room, she began review the goals for the meeting. She placed herself at the head of the table, as always, pulled her laptop and the paperwork out of her briefcase, then closed her eyes and ran through the agenda in her head.
As the team began entering the room, she quickly opened her eyes. She stood to greet her colleagues and clients as they filed past her. Last to join the group was her boss who was deep in conversation with someone she couldn’t see. Then, he entered the room – the man from store. Her boss turned to introduce them and fortunately missed the glance they exchanged.
Throughout her presentation, she found herself stumbling over her words and struggling to keep her train of thought. She was never at a loss for words. She always controlled her every reaction – it was critical to her success. Yet, she could feel his eyes locked on her and couldn’t focus.
After the meeting, she tried to busy herself gathering her papers, but she couldn’t avoid him. He waited patiently until they were alone in the room, then slowly walked over. He shook her hand and requested her business card, meeting her eyes with a smile.
Countless business calls and emails later, she agreed to meet him for dinner. She felt her walls cracking around her and confusion filled her thoughts.
The evening of their dinner, she was unsure of how to handle herself. He had made all of the plans for dinner, all she had to do was show up . She hated giving up control, but something about him made her feel comfortable trusting in him.
Pulling up to the restaurant, she noticed the home next door painted a bright yellow over the stucco. Flowers filled the yard and a white picket fence framed the walkway. She got out of her car and stood, staring, longer than she’d realized, sensing a change within herself. The perfect condo she owned, the controlled life she lived was missing something. She felt a desire to be colorful, to break out of this precisely planned existence. Closing her eyes, she let herself feel the sun caressing her face. She breathed in deeply and felt herself smile as the faint scent of wildflowers filled her lungs.
She felt a hand at the small of her back and turned slowly, yet quickly meeting his eyes. Her heart jumped and the smile in her soul made her face glow. She knew she could achieve anything, including a vibrant life and white picket fence, by his side.
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Photo by Czintos Ödön.
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