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 Short Story

That Special Day

By Paul Gifford

Have you ever had one of those days that you can remember every little facet?

Well please allow me to indulge a little. Permit me to share my little story. There are millions of stories like this in the world, but here is mine . . . humbly submitted.
Its funny I have no idea what happened the day before. It could have stormed.  They might have discovered life on Mars for all I can recall. I have no memory of that morning. I was supremely unaware that this day was going to be magical . . . Indeed life altering.
I was thirty years old at the time . . . Living a relatively contented existence in my run down little apartment with my beloved companion Eddie Valentino. Ah yes, my trusted dog and best friend Eddie. I could put in writing ten thousand words on him. In fact, I already have written much about him, but back to this story…

It was a typically mundane Saturday afternoon. I would have dutifully fed my Eddie. Then prepared to get ready for work.  I remember I wore my finest black dress pants, a white shirt with a blue tie and a striking tartan vest to finish it off.
A vest? Yes, I owned a dozen of them, in remarkable colors.
I would have hopped into my blue convertible and sped toward the restaurant where I managed. The radio would have been blasting.
I had already been in the restaurant business for several years at this point, finding the money rather agreeable, but the hours dreadful . . . mostly evenings, weekends and holidays. Nevertheless, I was a single man.
I was working at Marie Calendars at the time. A family styled restaurant famous for their pies. Exciting huh!! What a life I lead.
I would have arrived at just before three. Had a meeting with the day manager. Then started to check the schedule, perform my food quality controls and all the other dozens of mundane tasks that makes a restaurant appear to run effortlessly.
You might be surprised to discover just how stressful running a busy restaurant can get.  Pumping out 200 plus meals an hour for several hours can be overwhelming. Hungry people are often the most cranky . . . That pot pie had better make it to old Mrs. Philips table in ten minutes.
At 7:47 the rush was starting to fade and my breath was beginning to return.
There was one young waitress who worked with me. She had adopted me as some sort of agony aunt. Or I guess in this case agony uncle. For whatever unfathomable reason she would tell me all that was going on in her life . . . I would give her appropriate nods or shakes of my head in response.
Now, the thing was she had always expressed that if she had an older sister she would . . . “Fix me up with her”.
This particular Saturday at the aforementioned 7:47 she stood there in front of me. I could tell that she eagerly wanted to ask me something. She proceeded to tell me that she had this aunt, adding that she wanted to introduce me to her.
Her name was Sarah . . . Looking at her, I could not disappoint the excited teen.
“Okay” I had mumbled. I was always a man with words.
Now, I had met Chrissie’s parents on several occasions. They were delightful and personable folks. But their sister?
I had an image dancing in my head of a 45 year old spinster type . . . Grey before her time and bitter at the world.
I bit my lip, regained my composure and bounced over to where she sat, I was known for my bouncing too.  In fact, it was often supposed that I could be in two places at the same time.
Sarah was sitting in the bar . . . the booth furthest to the right as a matter of detail.  (I remember all the details.)
I instantly saw her. Time simply stopped. (Clich�d I know.)  Yet in this case, irrefutably true, I was instantaneously captivated by the gleam in her greenest of eyes.
I lost my heart, I lost my soul . . . I lost my voice.
I recollect prancing awkwardly in front of her, saying some polite drivel, bowing. I had a habit of bowing, then running for cover, spinning.
Now, have you ever experienced a moment like that?  One of those life-defining moments?  Where in a micro- moment nothing will ever be the same again!
I looked at my watch… It still read 7:47.  Time had indeed stopped.
I then put my watch to my ear. It had also stopped ticking  . . . I thought -- I must get a new battery.
Chrissie came over again, chuckling.  She had been observing.   “Well, what did you think of her?” She prompted, beaming at me.
“Lovely!” I said, as I mentioned that I was always good with words.
She darted off, returning in a matter of seconds.   “They are leaving . . . They want to say goodbye!” she frantically explained.
I remember walking back to the booth . . . My heart was racing. I was desperately thinking of just the right words to use. What could I possibly say? I was overcome with panic. My moment of opportunity was fleeting.  What for Pete’s sake was I going to say . . . Do?

Turns out I didn’t have to do anything.  Sarah’s sister, Rhonda, did it for us.
“So when are you two going to go out!” She blurted an expression of delight that spread all over her face.  She was never one for coyness.
And that was it…
Oh… Lets skip some of the details, not the place or the time. Suffice to say, we got engaged on that very first date. Moved in together six weeks later . . . People assumed we were crazy. I am sure they are right. However, ten years later we are happier than ever before.
Incidentally, I also got a fabulous bonus . . . When I met Sarah she had a little son. Jonathan.  He was eighteen months old then. Now, he is my eleven-year old son. I am so very proud of him.
Like I mentioned there are millions of similar stories like this one in the world… It is what keeps the Earth spinning on its axis, but I wanted to share mine.

Paul Gifford
Copyright 2004

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