After their third date he asked her to accompany him to his alma mater for the big Homecoming football game.
The word reverberated in his head.
It meant an eight hour drive. A big step in a new relationship.
But he was all about commitment. If you’re going to do it, go big.
The drive there went well and when his team won the game the next day everything was looking up. Unbridled optimism hung in the air like air freshener.
At the three hour mark of the drive back they decided to fill up with gas and buy a few snacks for the remainder of the trip. When the gas was done pumping they ventured into the rest stop. He grabbed a few candy bars and a soda while she excused herself and headed for the ladies room.
After he paid and she hadn’t emerged from the bathroom he thought it would be funny to run out and pretend that he’d left her there.
He imagined her walking outside, standing there, incredulous, laughing and looking around.
He started the car. He looked over to where she’d been sitting and a smile crossed his face. He thought back on the last few days, how perfect she seemed.
Cute. Funny. Intelligent.
How perfect they were together. They even passed the greatest compatibility test there is; selecting a radio station.
“Anytime in radio that you can reach somebody on an emotional level, you’re really connecting.”
Were those butterflies he was feeling?
He started the car and swung it around to the side of the building, out of sight.
He hoped she would get it.
Sitting there until she walked around and eventually found him there would be funny, but what would be even funnier would be to drive off. Just leave.
And after all, he was all about commitment. Either go big or go home (or both).
He pulled onto the road and a few minutes later he was getting back on the highway.
Would she get it?
Would she understand how hilarious it was that he actually left her at a rest stop, five hours from her house?
He hoped so. He’d really liked her and saw potential for them as a couple.
A few hours later he wondered how long it had taken her to realize that he wasn’t coming back. How her brain would have initially rejected the idea. How she might have even invented some good reason for his unlikely departure.
He wondered if she would actually worry about him.
He chuckled to himself.
He hoped when it finally sank in what had happened that she would get it. Truly get it.
He hoped so. When she had asked him what he wanted on his tombstone and he replied “He peed himself to death,” her laughter seemed sincere.
When he crossed the state line back into his own state he pictured her on the side of the road, thumb extended. What else could she do? Her purse was sitting in the back seat. Before he could stop himself he imagined a truck pulling over and asking her if she needed a ride.
A handsome trucker coming to her rescue.
He frowned. “I don’t get it” he said to no one.
Obviously she didn’t either.
By the time he pulled into his driveway, his second homecoming in as many days, he’d forgotten all about her.
“In radio, you have two tools. Sound and silence.”