Awwwh, the Holiday Season.
Lights take over my hometown like tiny umbrellas through which the snowflakes still find a way through.
As they touch the ground, they seemingly make the world a happier place.
Each foot that we set on the white covers, it puffs and crunches, and there is serenity all around, save for the part where everyone is rushing to buy presents and get the Christmas dinner ready.
From the kitchen, the smell of cinnamon and sweet bread has moved into my room. Same did the cold glass of milk.
But this, this was all gone.
The tree, the ornaments, the festive mood, it all goes away towards the end of the winter.
And the only things that stay are the shivering cold and people’s bottomless appetite.
With every ending comes a new beginning.
Now that the holiday season was over, my friend’s restaurant was back in business.
I wake up to a text from him, which I wouldn’t say is quite the usual.
Maybe I was wrong and the restaurant wasn’t in fact open. Maybe he wanted us to hit the gym. He loved it when it was empty and you could actually breathe in there.
“What you doing?”
“I’m good, I’m good, just woke up. How are you?”
“My mother’s caught a cold. Is there any way you could stop by and help me at the restaurant?”
We’ve been friends for more than 15 years, so there was only one answer I could give.
I shower, have breakfast, get dressed and get ready to then ask myself the question.
“How hard can it be?” my confidence was sky-high.
I was well-rested, in a good mood and I was going to spend the day helping out my brother.
Whenever I study or I’m interested in something new, my friends love to joke around and call me names.
I take a Medical Terminology course, they start calling me a doctor.
I pick up writing, they call me names of the biggest Romanian writers to have ever lived — which I find hilarious and very flattering.
I become a volunteer for the Emergency Medical Services and they start calling me a firefighter.
And I love it because it’s exactly how I want to live my life. I want a taste of everything while meeting cool people and learning new things.
Today I was about to add a new profession to my catalogue.
Today I was going to be a delivery boy.
I walk into the restaurant like I downright owned the place. It wasn’t my first time visiting and I knew everyone there, so it was a welcome sight.
I see Alex — we share the same name — as we both start smiling and lean in for a manly, invigorating hug.
“Eyyy, you showed up!”
“Of course I did, what did you expect?”
He then gives me a quick rundown of what I was supposed to do and just a few minutes later I was already out the door.
My biggest concern was making sure I didn’t lose any money. I’ve been terrific at math throughout my life and I didn’t want anyone to scam me somehow. Could you imagine how embarrassing that would’ve been? I wanted to avoid it at all costs.
Before I delivered my first package, I was feeling kind of nervous.
I had two orders as a start, but when I finished them, I was back in my comfort zone.
It was going to be a beautiful day.
Desiring love, I thought it wouldn’t be that impossible to meet someone while delivering food.
The narrative I had made up was running wild.
“What if I do meet her and it works out and it actually lasts? How unbelievable would that be? It’d be a wonderful story, I go out to help my best friend whom I’ve known since childhood, I’m there for him in his time of need and it’s then I find the one to call my darling. We’ll go on double dates and talk about it every single game night.”
I had no idea what to expect, so my hopes weren’t that high, but they weren’t dipping toes in water either.
Each bag I took from the kitchen counter made me wonder:
“Who’s it gonna be this time?”
Each new address rose questions:
“What if she’s a banker who works right here? That means she’s smart. She probably wears glasses too.”
“What if this is her own small clothing store? Doesn’t look too bad. We’re both creative minds.”
But none of these women appealed to me. They were either too old or not really my type.
This order was headed to court.
I was getting pretty used to the courthouse, as I had already come here to deliver to security guards, staff who managed records, someone who must’ve been a jury, and a few others.
But this one was about to be different.
I walk up the stairs, walk inside and put my stuff on the table next to the entrance. I had two meals with me so I had to find the other person first.
Once they were out of the way, I called the other number.
“I’ll be right there,” she says.
I’m patiently waiting when I finally see…her.
She was stunning. She was wearing a navy-colored cop uniform, which made her look ten times more attractive — I might have a thing for that, I’m not sure.
Usually, I’m very confident and my eye contact is on point, but at that very moment my body chose to betray me.
I manage to look into her eyes for a few seconds, but even those felt like they lasted for the entire spring.
She was now close to me and my heartbeat was running like a rollercoaster. I tried not to let it show.
“What do I say? What do I do, what do I do?” my thoughts were racing.
The money I was carrying on me piled up and it hadn’t been sorted in a few trips.
I didn’t do it on purpose, but not finding the right bills was buying me more time.
“Think, Alex, think. What the hell do I say? Do I just let her go like that? Come on, think.”
My mind was busy with three things:
- “She is so beautiful, what do I doooooooo?” I was searching for the courage to look into her eyes again and spark up a conversation from there.
- “Okay, okay, you’ve got a lot of money in your hands and spread out on the table,” I had to watch out for money falling off and thieves — we were in a courthouse after all.
- “How much change was it again? That minus that… Right, I need 2 more small ones.”
I called myself good at multitasking, but this? This was on a whole ‘nother level and it was all caused by the noise that was in that building.
It was so loud it made my ears ring. All the voices gave me the impression that everyone was watching me.
When you’re nervous, you forget that no one actually pays attention to you. You’re in the open and there’s a huge reflector that’s shining on you and only you. You’re the center of the world, the elephant in the room.
I give her the remaining change and I steal another glimpse of her before we part ways.
All the money was in my pockets, but I must have dropped my heart inside.
I was shattered.
The way back was not an easy one, until I realized what I had missed.
“Wait a second. I have her number. I have everyone’s number”, though I didn’t know what to do with it yet.
I desperately wanted to talk to someone and it couldn’t be Alex because I only wanted to let him know after something more serious happened. Right then, I only had a number and a crush. Nothing more.
So I needed my consigliere, my girl best friend.
I already knew what I was going to do, but I was dying to share the events of my adventurous day with someone else. Besides, I also wanted to make sure that my plan was the right call.
We meet over sushi and I spill it all out.
My storytelling made her just as excited as I was. We were like two kids who couldn’t sit still.
The message I had been contemplating for hours was ready and it had my confidant’s approval.
“What’s there to lose?”
The message was sent, but not delivered.
With each minute that passed, we couldn’t stop but wonder what she was doing. And by we I mean me.
“Maybe she’s out somewhere and has no signal.”
“Oooooooh, I think I know.”
“Hear me out. We know she’s a cop, right?” beginning to unveil my grand explanation.
“And she probably had a lot of court cases today. It was packed in there this afternoon.”
“Riiight…?” she was trying to figure out where I was going with this.
“So I’m thinking she’s working the morning shift. She’s probably asleep and has her phone turned off.”
“That could be it.”
5:59 in the morning is when she read my message.
I saw that when I woke up at around 10 and for some reason, for the rest of the day, I still hoped she would respond.
“Maybe she’s busy or thinking about what to say.”
But sadly, my message died a soldier’s death.
“Hello! I’m sorry for texting you this late.
I brought you an order today at the courthouse and I couldn’t stop myself from writing you because it was my only day there and I’ll probably never see you again.
I’m not a delivery boy. I actually work from home, but my best friend’s mother wasn’t feeling too well and he needed me at the restaurant. I couldn’t let him down.
I wanted to let you know that I think you’re beautiful and you looked very pretty in your uniform. I would find it very surprising if you didn’t have a boyfriend.
If you want to see pictures of me and maybe talk, here is my Instagram account.
If not, that’s okay.”
☔ Here, have this umbrella for a rainy day. If you would like to support me, please share my story with your friends and loved ones.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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