In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Fight or Flight.”
I’d been watching her from across the room for some time now. Small conversations about how things were going, a furtive piece of chocolate offered for no reason other than it allowed me to be in her proximity. Everyone in the office seemed to know what was going on, the guys poking about while the women thought it kinds cute. Two people who had no idea exactly what was building, an experiment in relationships.
For a little while I even changed my work schedule so that she and I would be in the same place at the same time. The young lady never knew it, just assumed I was trading places with someone who might have had a conflict. I watch as she shuffled across the floor, later telling her that she reminded me of a penguin. The odd things I would bring in to “share” became more focused on her likes, me being allergic to chocolate yet bringing homemade fudge later became a joke shared in the quiet moments.
It was time to make “my move”. The simplest things are usually the things that hold the most meaning, so flowers were a simple showing of my growing affection for this woman. Now the interesting part begins! How do you get someone’s address [this was 2004] without asking outright? Well I had access to her personnel file, paper still ruling the corporate world; in with my Post-It Note to gather intel. Sneaking back out to my office space my plan was finally hatched.
The next Saturday I took myself over to the local florist and asked them to put something together. The simple question “Wife, girlfriend, mother?” It was obvious this wasn’t some simple task for me. “How about something simple, classic?” The people behind the counter were having fun with me, they knew I was trapped. Burgeoning love can do that to people! I ended up getting this oversized vase filled with lilies, roses, and a few other white colored things that I honestly don’t know the names for. “Give us 20 minutes and $70!” My now sweating palms hand over my credit card and I go wait on a bench outside.
You know the stares people give when they wonder what is going on? Plenty of them were cast in my direction as I tried to secure the flowers in my car. Eventually settling on the back seat, strapped into the belt, safe as possible. The drive was pulse raising. Each mile further my breathing was getting a little weird. Not like a panic attack, but just like a panic attack! As I approached the door, a simple thought came to mind “Who else might be at the house?” Too late to run when you are on the front doorstep, so ring the bell!
She came to the door in tattered sweatpants dragging the hose for a vacuum cleaner behind her. Faded pink sweats, an oversized t-shirt and her hair was just stuck to her face from the warmth of running around doing chores. She couldn’t have been any more attractive to me. The look on her face was priceless. Absolute shock, fear of the unknown, muttered apologies for her appearance. Muttered apologies for my appearance, my only reply.
Whitney always had this tell when she was happy about something but unsure how to respond. Her lips would quiver just a tiny bit, her face scrunched up in thought. We spoke for a couple of minutes and I excused myself, letting her know I would see her at work later.
I don’t recall if I was more nervous taking her the flowers or waiting to she her later to gauge her longer reaction to my statement of affection. What I do know is that I would do the exact same thing, in the exact same manner if given the choice. That florist closed years ago, the coffee shop next door that we used to call our own changed hands and just isn’t the same. And as I have written, the relationship ended last September. But now I know what I have done today, writing this down, allowing myself to relive it, is something that has me wanting to run away. But damn that is a good memory!