“Have you ever met someone for the first time, but in your heart you feel as if you’ve met them before?” – JoAnne Kenrick

I can’t even begin to describe what happened the moment I locked eyes with him last November.  It felt like everything was at a stand still and starting to fade out around us.  I instantly felt a strong connection to him and was intrigued as to why I felt like this wasn’t the first time we had crossed paths.

“Hey, I’m Shane.  I’m your new Pepsi rep.”  The single statement that just hovered.  All I could manage was a “Hey.” back.  I felt hot and cold at the same time, my stomach started to turn and my pulse went rapid.  I normally have a fairly level head about me but something got into me that day and it was not letting go.  Shane and his sidekick Phil did what they came to do – fill our cooler, bring in product, and put new products in the cooler.  Through out their back and forth process, glances and smirks were exchanged.  After I had signed the invoice and let them get on their way, I took a moment to myself in the office.  The first thought that came to my mind was that there was no way that someone like him was going to even take a little bit of interest in someone like me.  I couldn’t understand how I could go through so many emotions in under an hour; sadness, regret, curiosity, excited, happy, and back to sadness.

Being that I was only covering my managers shift that one day, Shane and I went some time without seeing each other again.  I would hear from my manager about how wonderful and how nice he was and in my head kept reassuring myself there was no way that he would have given me even a second thought.

Ha.

December rolled around and I was starting to work the early morning shift, on Wednesdays – Pepsi Day!  We started to chit chat here and there while keeping it professional.  We compared dogs, some hobbies and of course, our jobs.  I just couldn’t get over that familiar feeling that there was more between us than just a professional relationship but that nagging in the back of my head kept kicking in; he wouldn’t be interested.  The day after Christmas I was working a morning shift again.  I was standing at the counter minding my own business when I heard that smooth voice “Hey, Liz.” Say no more – I knew who it was!  I spun around as quick as I could and responded with a huge grin and as normal as a “Hi!” that I could manage.  We talked a bit and before we knew it, it was time for Shane and Phil to hit the road to their next stop.  Before he turned to walk away, he set his handheld on the counter, put his palms flat and said “So, New Years is next week, we should do something.” Talk about instant panic!  Unfortunately I already made plans so I had to decline.

In January, I was moved from mornings back to afternoons so I was not able to see him anymore; all I got were teasing statements from my manager.  “I really like Shane, you two should date!” “He’s SO nice.” “He looked good today!  He wasn’t in his Pepsi blues, he was wearing a black shirt and shorts.” Alright alright alright, hint taken.  I jotted my number down on a sheet of paper, folded it up and taped it to the empty pop shells.

I had a nervous feeling the entire next day.  I walked into work and my manager walked out of her office with slumped shoulders and a disappointed look on her face.  She stood side by side with me and slid a folded up piece of paper at me … the same folded up sheet of paper that I had left for Shane.  She gave me a sad smile and said “He said he’s a one woman man.  I’m sorry, Lizzie.”  I knew it.  I knew that all of that was too good to be true.  I was never more than that cashier at that one gas station and that’s all I would ever be.  I tried to keep my chin up but it’s hard to hold your head after you just made a complete fool out of yourself to someone as good as him.

Anytime he came to the store and I was there, we would exchange greetings and as happy as I was to see him, I tried to make myself busy.  I didn’t want to have the awkward conversation as to why I felt I had to leave my number and the fact that he gave it back.  However, I respected that he was man enough to give it back instead of keep it while he was in a committed relationship.

Some more time passed and I just could not get over how dumb I felt.  I’ve never put myself out on the line like that and now I understood why.  About this time, Pepsi had just released Baja Blast to be sold in stores.  Awesome.  He was coming back – during my shift.  I just went about my job and tried to keep my mind off the fact I was about to come face to face with him.

I was helping customers when he walked in and headed back to do the product reset.  I couldn’t help but stare – something about him just drew me in and I hated it.  I mean I loved it but I hated it.  Shane got the product all situated and it was time to place the stickers.  He walked up to the counter and waited patiently for my line of customers to disappear.  I couldn’t avoid it this time; I had to confront him.  I turned towards him and gave him the best smile I could manage.  He asked for a marker so that he could make our price stickers for the cooler doors.  I turned back towards our pen holder to grab the marker and next thing I know, he’s standing by my side; I mean within 3 inches of my arm.  Talk about going weak in the knees!  He wrote up the stickers and told me that he was going to place one on the door and the other he was just making up so that we could do whatever we wanted with it.  It felt like he was just trying to stall but I had to remind myself he was taken and definitely not interested.

Winter passed and soon we entered Spring.  I went about my daily routine; wake up, go to work, go home, cook/bake/clean, watch tv, go to the dog park until whenever, go home, sleep.  I had gotten to bed later than usual one night and was banking on sleeping in the next morning.  At about 8:30 AM I got a text from my manager that read “Soooooo…. Shane is single now!” I don’t think I’ve ever gotten out of bed so fast.  She had my undivided attention.  She gave me the shortened version of what she was told and all I could think was “Take it easy, Lizzie.  He just got out of a relationship.  Don’t be his rebound.”  I told my manager I didn’t want the rebound and that I was going to let it sit for a while and if he was interested, he would have to be the first to make the move.  Within 3 minutes, I had a picture message of a folded up piece of paper with “Liz” written on the front.  I got ready for work as fast as I could and RAN through the doors.  Unfolded the piece of paper and saw 7 digits written down.

A wave of relief and excitement washed over me.  I wasn’t crazy – there was something there!  We had gone so long without really talking or seeing one another and he left his phone number!  I tossed around the idea of not putting those numbers to use for a few days but decided I had missed out on him one time, I wasn’t about to risk losing out a second time.

It all started May 21, 14 at 1:35 PM:
“Good afternoon, sir.”

The text that started it all.
The text that started it all.
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