Story Of The Week
by J.W. Hines
I was a free-lance reporter for a local newspaper when I was asked to do a story on high-rise fire rescues. I called the fire department and was referred to a lieutenant who was considered an expert on the subject.
When he answered the phone, I melted at the sound of his voice, because it was by far the best representation of masculinity I’d ever heard. It was mellow and confident, and his manner almost dissolved my agenda. In minutes, I went from a serious, qualified journalist to a budding high school reporter who couldn’t concentrate on the questions.
I knew I had lost myself when I suggested that we continue the interview over lunch. I had already asked all of my intended questions, but I was prepared to make up some more just for the opportunity to meet this man.
To my surprise, he seemed equally enchanted with my voice, and readily accepted my invitation.
On the day we met, I had to dig my car out of twelve inches of snow in order to get to the restaurant. By the time I arrived, my appearance was disheveled, and I felt like I was not at my best. And when I sat down across from him and looked into his face, I felt like hiding under the table.
He far exceeded my expectations. He was not only fine, but he had big brown eyes that stared at me with familiarity as if he knew all about me.
Though his eyes radiated warmth and amusement during our talk, his conversation remained official and focused. When I tried to get personal with general questions like, “are you single,” he would answer the question ambiguously with a slight smile. “Sometimes.”
Therefore, after we conversed for an hour, with my ego tucked in my sleeve, I came to the conclusion that the “smitten bell” was only ringing on one side of the table, and it wasn’t his. So I called the meeting to an abrupt end and reached for my coat and my self-esteem.
I saw no point in continuing the charade of an interview when all I wanted was to get to know this man. I quickly assumed that he was either married or a player. As a courtesy, I passed him my card, thanked him for coming, and hurried out the door, without looking back.
When I got home, I looked in the mirror and saw all the reasons why the interest wasn’t mutual. The cold and the snow had almost dissolved my makeup, my curls had drooped, and two of my fingernails had broken while I was digging my car out of the snow.
When the phone rang, my disappointment was in my voice when I grabbed it without looking at the caller ID. “It didn’t work out,” I said, expecting it to be my friend Cheryl. I had told her about the lunch, and she had been excited as I was about the possibilities.
But it wasn’t Cheryl, it was him. “Why didn’t it work out?” he asked with a deep chuckle in his voice. I was so shocked I couldn’t speak.
Before I could answer, he said, “I was wondering. Now that your interview is over, could we possibly meet again for dinner, so that I may interview you on an upcoming article I’m doing on beautiful, brainy women?”
In a barely audible voice, I whispered, “Sure”…and the rest is history. That was two years ago and we’ve been together ever since. So much for assumptions.