Olivia looked out of her window at 6:05am on a cold December morning. There was snow all over and she was faced with a decision of whether to retreat to her cozy bed or get ready for Sunday Service. After 30 minutes of self-deliberations and with nothing but dogged determination, Olivia made her way down her long flight of apartment and headed out for the weekly Sunday service. Usually, that journey would last 30 minutes but due to the inclement weather and traffic conditions, it took almost 50 minutes. This made her late for the service. Upon arrival at the Cathedral, she quickly made her way through the door, found a mid-row seat, and joined in the on-going chorus. It seemed like the usual Sunday Service until it came time for the “meet and greet”. Each Sunday, members would devote 5 minutes of their time during the service to exchange pleasantries with each other and to welcome new guests. Olivia made her way around the room until she noticed a new face 5 rows behind her.
Hi, I’m Olivia, happy you could join us today. The newcomer responded, Hi, I’m John, I’m new to the United States and I’m visiting from another State. Well, you are welcome John, I hope you enjoy your short stay here. On her way out after the service, Olivia walked over to talk to John one last time and to wish him well. John was overcome with gratitude. Thank you for your kind consideration he said, I will be in town for 2 more weeks visiting a relative. I don’t really know anyone here so if you don’t mind, I could give you a call during the week; may I have your number please? After a brief hesitation, Olivia obliged. She surmised that he was new in town, good-looking, soft-spoken and in need of a friend so it wouldn’t hurt to engage in small talk.
On Monday afternoon, Olivia’s phone rung and it was John asking if they could meet at a nearby coffee shop the following day. Sure, she said, I could meet you at 6pm after work. So, on a fateful Tuesday, 2 “strangers” who first met two days earlier were sitting across the table from each other at the newly opened LeBlanc Coffee Shop in downtown Silver Spring. What are the chances of this happening? The atmosphere was serene, and it had just the right number of people present. The outlay of the place suggested that this was no ordinary coffee-house. John was easy to talk to, and he was humorous and well-spoken. His in-depth knowledge on a variety of social topics made him a charmer. They chatted through the night until it came time for the shop to close. Wow, where did the time go, they both blurted out? We’ve been here for 4 hours already? That night, as they said their goodbyes’, Olivia knew that she had already begun developing a strong liking for John. She hadn’t felt that much happiness and ease around anyone in years and she hoped that there would be another opportunity for them to meet before he went back to Boston. I might as well enjoy the moment for as long as it lasts, she thought.
Suffice it to say that the feeling was mutual because the very next day, John called to confess that the previous night was one of the highlights of his adult life. He felt so much peace and calm around her and he wanted to know if they could meet again. This time though, it will be for dinner in Washington DC on Friday night. Olivia was bursting with excitement as she agreed to meet. She begun configuring her outfit for Friday and could not contain her joy. If John had clairvoyant powers, he would have seen her blushing and twirling around in her room. Suddenly, it dawned on her that she barely knew this man. All I know is what he’s told me, she thought. He said he arrived in this country 3 months ago to pursue his Doctorate in Public Health, he is the youngest of 3 children and he loves to dance. That’s all I know. I also gather from our brief interaction that he is well spoken, considerate and goal-oriented, but is that enough for me to be excited? Olivia’s heart was skipping for joy, but her head kept telling her to be careful.
So, on Friday night, at 7pm, Olivia made her way to the DC restaurant armed with a set of questions for John. If I can just get through these questions, I would be very content. John on the other hand, had spotted her across the room so he walked over, gave her a warm hug, held her hand, and led her to a reserved section of the restaurant. Hmmmmmmmm, this feels nice, what a charmer.
To Be Continued.