It’s 6:45 p.m…6:53, and then it’s 7:00 sharp, the time we planned to meet. I’m sitting in my BMW, soothing my neurotic apprehension with hits from the ‘80s on Sirius. The moon is smiling aloft on this typically faint-starred night. The light bleed of the human mass that live in the LA basin again overwhelms God’s starry showcase with its proof that we are not alone.
A black Mini sweeps into the vast high school parking lot, shiny wheels spinning pertly. It’s not a boom box car, loudly announcing its arrival. It parks under the central security light as if selecting a spotlight is its due. Is it the right size for a former high school basketball star, someone trained to arrive timely by sports? My nerves taunt me with excuses and reasons to return home.
It’s not Evan. It’s a blonde jumping out of her car when another blonde lady glides alongside in a red Toyota with ‘Sassy’ plates. They laugh as they hug and say something about Bunco.
Hmm-n. I’m waiting for a Hunk-o.
A black van, gleaming from a car wash stint, purrs into the parking lot. The person at the wheel sits tall in the massive vehicle. It can only be – and it is, Evan. As the car door opens, silver hair lifts via the mild ocean breeze that floats across the empty spaces. His eyes sparkle when he smiles. My body responds.
Thank goodness the Bunco Babes are gone. This meet-up needs to progress alone. I’m as nervous as sweet sixteen.
We re-acquaintanced on Facebook just after Father’s Day, an empty holiday for me. When the friend request flashed on the bottom of the screen, I didn’t recognize the name. Not until days later, in my early morning shower, did cognizance wash over me. He’d been the hero of our town’s basketball team, the one who physically assaulted my dad in an argument that neither could resolve, and spent a few days in jail. I hadn’t known who was right or wrong, only that I was mortified, marked with stigma by the episode. Like all high school girls I craved popularity, and my father as principal didn’t aid my cause in a tight small town.
I took a few days to ponder the “friend” prospect, and then clicked the button to accept. I waited a few more days to view his profile – gasp! He lived nearby, and he was a pharmaceutical rep. I’d recently made rounds with physician thanks-for-the-referral-gifts, hoping to prompt an avalanche of referrals when the school year ended.I wondered if our paths had crossed.
When I learned that they had, I took it as a high compliment: I looked so similar to high school days that he recognized me. He sidestepped this fantasy notion by stating that he noted my hyphenated name as I handed the gift to the receptionist, and then he recognized my true hair color and smile, along with the ringless finger.
He may have been taking his company’s drugs, but high or not, he was sold.
In that lengthy phone called we agreed that the high school parking lot was a convenient, neutral territory. No money would be spent if it weren’t “like” at first sight. No others’ personal blood, sweat, and tears would complicate our meet-up, as might happen in a bar or coffee shop. I opened my car door, turned on my high-wattage smile, and floated into his arms with effervescent determination to feel good again.