At a speed-dating event, he felt he’d maybe met “the One,” despite only 60 seconds together. Why?
The six-minute timer chimed and he smiled at the woman across the card table, wishing her well, happy to be released from her constant nervous chatter.
He got up from the chair, nervously adjusting his watch band, wondering once again what he was doing at this event. The last few months had been rough, a whirlwind of life changes that had left him dazed and light-headed. He wanted to be home with his books and his music, simultaneously forgetting what had happened and trying to sort out how it had all gone so horribly wrong.
It was at the insistence of his friend that he had gone to the speed dating event tonight in the first place. He had grown sick of her calling him a “hermit” and telling him that he needed to get over himself and move on. So when he saw the flyer at the local shop, he signed up and had been internally sighing ever since.
The event organizer called a pause in the event and people stretched their legs and moved about. He looked at the crowd in the hall, milling about the folding chairs and tables and knew it was impossible for him to go back into the fray and chat up another person. He strode towards the door and headed to the makeshift coat check table to collect his things.
A woman sat at the check-in table, the long metal coat rack behind her, filled with winter coats and umbrellas.
“Leaving early?”she asked. He nodded his head.
“I’m not much on these types of events myself”, she continued. “Now, where is your coat?” She decisively flipped through the coat rack looking at each item intently until she found his dark blue peacoat.
“People seem to wish that life was as easy as finding a coat in a coat check”, she said. “We always seem to be seeking to reclaim everything that is lost. When I was younger, I used to have this marvelous dream about finding a secret room in my parents’ house where all the things I every misplaced were sitting neatly on benches. But I haven’t had that dream in a long while”.
“Why do think you stopped having that dream?”, he said, now curiously captivated by the story.
“Maybe because life is always supposed to move forward, instead of backwards,” she said, “and if you hang onto the things of the past that are lost, they weigh you down so you aren’t able to start the journey”.
He smiled, and for the first time in months, felt like a door had opened.
“Would you like to go grab a cup of coffee sometime?,” he asked her.
She looked up at him, gave him his coat and smiled, handing him her cell phone number.