It was a month after that before I saw Erik smile. We met for the very first time on a Tuesday. It was early spring. I found out that we worked near and had lunch at the same mall, so we met every day to talk and offer each other a shoulder to cry on. I’m sure I spent lots of time sharing my heartaches with him, and I can only hope I was there for him as much. Exactly one month after I met Erik, we were having lunch at the mall when a young mother of twins brought her babies past our table. Such a sight used to make Erik cry because of what he’d lost with Janette, his ex. When he saw the two boys, he smiled. It was a warm smile that told me his heart was healed. He looked into my eyes with that smile and my heart felt like a frozen lake thawing in a flash. He looked down and when he looked back up I had what I hoped was the same smile on my face. That’s the day I knew I had put Tony behind me.
About three weeks later, he came to me with news that surprised me. Not because it was surprising news, but because it hurt. He had to tell me that his company was moving to the other side of town, so we wouldn’t be able to have lunch together anymore. For a minute, I thought I had spooked him when I said right away that such a thing wasn’t acceptable. So we came up with this new arrangement. Each day, we take only 45 minutes for lunch. Then on every other Tuesday, I would go to Cottonwood Mall on his side of town or he would come to Winrock Mall on my side of town. I thought my eagerness to keep seeing him for lunch would be a big enough tip, but I guess he just wasn’t ready to start dating again.
It was really amazing that we had come to mean so much to each other. Tony had tried to come back to me, and I would have let him. But Erik was my rock. I forgave Tony, but changed my locks and told him to move on without me. Janette kept trying to reconnect with Erik, but I was his source of strength through all of that. But he never got the idea that my body would tingle when we hugged or that I just loved gazing into those soft, brown eyes. Finally I got the chance to hit him with a more than obvious sign. My boss had me work through my lunch two weeks straight. I emailed Erik and apologized profusely, saying the next time we met would be that much sweeter. When I finally made it back to Cottonwood Mall, I got a little too nervous as I drove around looking for a parking spot. I passed him standing at the front door twice. He just stood and waved the first time, and I think I saw him blow me a kiss the second time. When I finally got out and walked up to him, I shoved all my nerves aside and held his lips (maybe a little too close) right up against mine. He never did ask me out, but we sure were a couple in the malls and in our emails.
I just didn’t understand this guy. All at once, after that kiss, his emails got so much warmer and he signed them all “love, Erik.” He even said he loved me. But we never went out together. For two months it went that way. Then finally he suggested he make me dinner. That’s when I found out he really knew how to cook, but didn’t have a clue about what a girl wants. They really are from another planet. We dated pretty seriously for about two more months. Our kisses kept getting more and more tender, our conversation more personal. Just last week, he started signing his email letters “love forever, Erik.” Finally, I thought we were on the right track. Then, Tuesday came around.
To conclude in Her Perspective, Part 3
- I once got paid to spend the summer telling lies to little kids. I ran a mountain man program at a district Boy Scout camp. I told my guests I was born in my log cabin and I traded for everything I had. Late evenings I shot muzzleloader rifles with campers and then told ghost stories around the fire. Oh, how I wish that would pay enough to be my career instead of just a one-time summer job.