I park in front of your house, and you open the front door, walk toward my car, and jump into the passenger’s side. “Hey,” I say, grinning at you. “I hope you’re ready for the art-iest weekend of your life.” “Oh, I was born ready,” you say.
We’re carpooling to an art show opening, and then to the first Via Affirmativa conference event: a jazz concert. It’s our first time hanging out one-on-one, and we happen to have planned a long weekend of activity in each other’s company.
We chat about our work days, and in the silent spaces, I steal glances at you. This is not a date – in fact, after inviting me in person, you emailed all of our friends to see if anyone was interested in joining us at the opening. But even so, it feels like a date, and I'm basking in the fact of you buckled in beside me, our arms nearly touching. And anyway, who knows? We’ll be together all weekend, and anything could happen.
"Make a left here," you say. You are directing me to the gallery, in an area of town I’ve never visited before. I get into a turn lane, and the light turns green. I accelerate, and the turn signal clicks in time as I spin the wheel to the left.
I ask, “So, what’s your friend’s art like?”
You say, "It's like calligraphy on handmade papers, but it isn’t literal words. My friend is interested in the shapes of the letters and the impression of language - I think you'll dig it."
I nod, looking at you, and when I turn my attention back to the road, I notice a red Mercedes convertible in front of me, stopped in the middle of my lane, its right blinker flashing. While we’ve been talking, I have been accelerating toward it, distracted by you. I pump the brake hard, and just barely, I manage to stop a foot from its bumper.
Then time slows. I turn my neck to the right and look up into the rearview mirror. I see a white box truck coming up fast. I brace as it slams into the back of the car. We are thrust forward, our bodies thrown against our seat belts. I watch as the impact inches my car toward the red convertible. But the red convertible is moving away: it turns right into a parking lot, and my hood misses its rear by millimeters.
Now I’m braking, stopping, breathing. My body feels sore and twitchy, like I have just been struck by a bolt of lightning. You and I don’t speak, finding our breath. I am sweating.
Then, "You okay?" you ask.
I look at you and nod. Your forehead is creased.
"I guess we'll be late to the art show," I say.
To Be Continued...
I am writing and serially publishing scenes from my falling-in-love memoir, about the anguished, beautiful, and spiritual way that my husband and I met, fell in love, and married. Read about my plans for this in-progress writing project here.
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