When Otis, my former UPS man, called at 8 p.m. to say that his work day was almost over, I smiled into the phone.
“Want to meet for dinner?” he said.
I imagined some quiet, romantic corner — white wine, tapas, candles lit. Wait, does that kind of corner even exist in Manhattan?
“The ___ Grill,” he said, and I paused.
I’d been there many times with baby M when we lived in New York: it’s a fast, loud, family-family restaurant. Definitely not romantic. Either he was making a subtle point — we’re just friends, got it? — or he wanted a hearty beef dish, served fast, because he was hungry. (As men know, we women can read into everything.)
I was inside the restaurant when he called to say that he was parking. So, I went outside to meet him. As he crossed the street, he was pulling on a shirt over his white undershirt. How cute was that? He was getting dressed in the crosswalk!
Otis’ first words? “When I saw you earlier, I don’t think I told you how pretty you look.”
We shared a long, sweet hug on the sidewalk. But I was nervous. It was so intense to be touching a man on whom I’d had a crush for so many years.
I did what I do whenever I’m nervous. I spilled everything: about my book, and the fact that he got a whole chapter in it. I wanted him to hear it from me first. I told him that just seeing him on his route made me feel like a woman again.
He took it well.
“You’re making me blush,” he said.
He also added, “You sure did get a lot of deliveries!”
Then I blushed.
“Did you bring me a copy of your book?” he said.
I shook my head, freezing up. What would he think after reading my detailed fantasies about him? I sure got detailed.
“Will you send it to me?” he asked.
“By UPS?” I said.
He was just how I remembered: a relaxed, sweet, friendly guy (he is a pro at customer service, right?)
But I was still in my reporter-mode, which I do whenever I’m restless. I asked him a string of questions: about his daughter, his long work days, his last relationship. I wanted to know what he thought about all those times I’d asked him into my apartment for lemonade. He laughed again.
I also asked him if he was in a relationship. I know: you, my readers, pointed out that I had to see him without any expectations. Still, I did have one: I wanted to kiss him. But if he was in a relationship, I didn’t want to jeopardize that.
“No,” he laughed. “You think too much.”
Then he added, “I think it’s so cool that we’ve stayed in touch all these years. It’s really special.”
After dinner, we sat in his car and took photos, using my automatic timer. (They’re PG, but they’re private.)
“I like the way you smile,” he said. “It’s sensual.”
I thought we might kiss right then, in the car. But we didn’t.
It was a warm summer night, and he suggested we find a spot to sit outside. We drove east a few blocks to Central Park. There was an empty green bench outside the park entrance.
He gave me a bottle of water. He said that we should watch out for rats. After all, this was Central Park.
Then he pulled out his bottle of bug repellent. “Mosquitoes love me,” he said.
“I see why,” I said.
As we sat on the bench, our knees touched. It was almost midnight.
“I really like the way that you say ‘Bye’ on the phone,” he told me. “You carry it. I love to hear it.”
No one had ever told me that before.
We were holding hands. Then his phone buzzed. He let go of my hand to look at his phone. He didn’t say who was calling, and I didn’t ask. But who would be calling him at midnight?
Image of UPS truck from Tree Hugger
Post Footer automatically generated by Add Post Footer Plugin for wordpress.