What would I say when I saw her?

I spent the better part of three days wondering that; it was, for the most part, the only thing on my mind. What would I say when I saw her? As my friends, the Rileys, and I drove my car, Ol' Bessie, east to Columbus, Ohio, I rehearsed some lines of dialogue in my head: cheesy one-liners, smooth words, wistful, sweet nothings.

Megan, charming smile, it's such a pleasure to finally meet you.

Wow, the stars are dancing in your eyes tonight.

Hands in pockets, shoulders a little shrugged, head cocked slightly to the left, big, puppy eyes and a sheepish smile... Hi.

The words, the looks -- these fantasies dominated my thoughts for a week.

But, let me backtrack.

I almost hate to say it, but we met online. I don't know why I feel that's something to be ashamed of, but I redden with embarrassment every time I mention it. When those words, "We met online," come out of my mouth, it feels like the person I'm talking to is taken aback a little. "Oh," they reply. "Well, that's certainly... Something."

She lives four hours away from me, in central Indiana, so meeting would prove to be difficult. Luckily, Joshua needed to go to Columbus to visit a seminary and invited me along for the ride; I needed a vacation anyway, but I really wanted to meet Megan -- driving to Columbus would provide me the opportunity to do so. So I went.

All the way there, the four of us had different things on our minds, different goals, different intentions. Joshua was visiting the seminary his oldest brother attended and was deciding whether or not to pursue ministry; his wife, Sam, was eager to move out of DeKalb and start over; Aaron, Sam's younger brother, was excited at the prospect of meeting new people and leaving his troubled past behind; I was head over heels for a girl I hardly knew and wanted nothing more than to meet her.

We were in Ohio for three days, from Wednesday to Friday. When we left that Friday afternoon, the plan was to stop in Indianapolis on the way home, have dinner with Megan, then head back to DeKalb.

I had never done anything like this before, so I didn't know what to expect. I had never met someone that I've already met, if that makes any sense. What was I supposed to say? What was I supposed to do? How was I supposed to act?

So I rehearsed. I prepared.

Around 7:30pm or so, that night, I got a text message from her: "I'm here!" Suddenly, my nerves, which were very apparent the minute before I received the text, went below the surface and I was, suddenly, very calm. I responded, "We're pulling off the interstate now -- we're going to park, then we'll find you." She told me she was standing next to a fountain and that she'd wait for me there.

After parking, I got out of the car and my legs gave up from under me and I was suddenly very terrified. Josh managed to calm me down just enough to walk me into the men's room at Nordstrom's. Or maybe it was Macy's. Either way, it was a fairly high-end department store. I locked myself in a stall and just... sat there for about 10 minutes. My mind was a blank -- all of the dialogue that I had rehearsed for so many days was gone -- and I was terrified. I pulled myself together, walked over to the sink and splashed cold water in my face, stared into my own eyes in the mirror and tried not to panic.

Josh came in to, again, calm me down. "Joshua, I think I'm going to finish the remainder of my life with this woman. What am I supposed to do if I can't figure out a way to start?" He wrapped his arms around me, gave me a bear hug and replied, "You just do it."

We walked outside and the fresh air, stroking my cheeks, did me good. It restored a bit of confidence. The streets were relatively empty -- certainly more empty than the streets of Chicago. I was relieved, because the emptiness helped me to concentrate on simply putting one foot in front of the other. Step, step, step, step, homeless guy, step, step, step. There we go, Drew. This is going to be okay. My rehearsed lines even started coming back to me.

I called her, so that she could guide me in her direction. It was a delight to hear her voice and it was, somehow, soothing. This is going to be okay. You're just fine.

And then I saw her.

It was from a distance, but I saw her. We were still on the phone, and she didn't see me just yet because of the awkward angle and the fact that her back was turned to me. But I saw her. My entire body turned to a leaf, and I felt the wind propel me in her direction at an alarming rate -- I quickened my steps, leaving the Rileys far behind me when they were, just seconds before, walking right alongside me.

I saw her and I couldn't force away the giant, idiotic smile that consumed my face. I told her where I was, walking up behind her and laughed a little as I watched her turn frantically from side to side to find me, but to no avail.

I saw her and she was standing only a hundred or so feet from me. I stopped dead in my tracks for a second, just to take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. In. Out. Close my eyes to gather myself. She turns around.

Then she saw me.

We hang up simultaneously, pause for a moment, then walk towards each other. She smiled at me from a distance and we both exchanged "hello's." Then, we were standing two feet from each other. That's when she smiled and every fiber of my being surrendered to her beauty.

I opened my mouth and wasn't surprised when my nerves reached out of the grave I buried them in and strangled me. The only thing that came out from the pit of my soul was, "Uhhhh..."

I looked into her eyes and melted. They were like champagne and I wanted nothing more than to cry, just to release a small amount of the mixed emotions that were bubbling up inside of me. Instead we reached for each other and embraced. We hugged for a little under half of a minute, but I didn't want to let go. Ever. It felt perfect, our bodies pressed against each other, so close, so well fitted.

I stepped back from her, breathed her in with my eyes and said, "Your picture doesn't do you any justice at all."

What? That wasn't part of the rehearsals, Drew! Stick to the script!

The rest of the night, from that moment to the one where I got into my car and drove away, was a blur of bad jokes, awkward glances, dinner in a loud restaurant, uneasiness, a homeless man on the corner who did his best to pretend he was satisfied with the leftover nachos I gave him and one more magnificent hug that didn't last nearly long enough. I can't even remember what happened, because her mere presence was so intoxicating. I drank her in, became wonderfully inebriated and have been hung over ever since.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds intense. I look forward to hearing more about this girl.