I fumble for the keys in my purse and try walking to my car, but the cracks in the sidewalk wiggle toward me like giant earthworms. I feel like I’m learning to walk on stilts. In my haste, I don’t see the curb in time and step off the edge of the world as a whirring sensation flutters through my eardrums.
The blood on my knees and the palms of my hands is inconsequential. The only thing on my mind is: Did Jeff see me? I manage to slide up onto the sidewalk and gather my papers, which are now smudged with red handprints, and sure enough, he offers a handkerchief, while his soft baritone voice asks if I’m hurt.
“No. I mean, yes. I mean I’m okay.” I refuse the handkerchief but get blood on it anyway. “I’m sorry. I just need to…” I avoid Jeff’s eyes, the color of dark chocolate pudding, and smile like I’ve been handed a platter of stuffed fried eels. “Thank you,” I squeak, as I snatch up the broken heel of my left shoe and hobble to my car.
I grab the wet wipes left over from last week’s ice cream adventure with my niece and clean up. Mortified beyond redemption, I start the car and quickly shift into first, praying I don’t grind the gears this time. I can’t imagine what Jeff is thinking. I don’t want to know, and there’s no way I’m looking at him when I drive by.
Doing my best to keep the tears at bay, I check the mirror for any new wrinkles. Heaven knows I’m well aware I’m past my prime at twenty-seven, but I would rather endure “old maid” remarks then to have my co-workers secretly set me up with the boss’s son. I just know they did this. Was it that evident that I liked him? I wince when I think of how foolish I must have looked as I fled the room.
Pulling up in front of my house, I misjudge the closeness of the curb. “Could anything else go wrong?” I mutter. I slip around to the back door to avoid the neighbor’s stares and stumble over the cat. That’s it. I let the poor cat in and head straight for the bathroom to light an aromatherapy candle. Submerged in hot water and six inches of bubble bath, I endure the stinging sensations from my knees and hands and squeeze my eyes shut as I go under.
What’s wrong with me? Why am I so insecure? I turn into such a klutz just thinking about this man! I don’t know what to do, Lord. I really need an answer…
At this point I am out of breath and spray soap on my lavender candle. A buzzing sound gets my attention, and through the smoking wick, I see my phone spinning around on the floor like a bug trapped on its back. I start to pick it up and thankfully remember to drag my hands across the towel before flipping up the top to see the name. Good thing it drops onto the towel and not into the tub.
Bubbles fly as I dry off. The message Jeff left has me scurrying. “Brianna, I’m calling to apologize for today. I set up the meeting because I’ve wanted to ask you out for some time. I think I understand how you’re feeling; I’d like to make it up to you. I’ll be at the Bread and Chocolate Deli, if you’re interested in talking.”
“Interested?” I throw on some clothes, while fixing my hair, in between trying to apply a quick dab of makeup. But one glance in the mirror, and I fall backward onto the bed. “Who am I kidding?”
Defeated and frustrated, I give up, and that’s when I hear the Lord’s voice. “Jeff is the one you’ve been praying for…Go. I’ll be with you.” I sit up, and find myself immersed in the Lord’s calming assurance. I asked for an answer and He gave me one--with a promise! I don’t even try to figure it out; I just bow my head and thank Him.
Giddy now, with a newfound confidence, I find the most flattering dress in my closet and start over. When I reach the deli, Jeff is standing inside. Eager to see the warm look in those deliciously chocolate colored eyes, I walk up behind him and tap him on the shoulder. His eyes don’t disappoint.
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