The Calm Before the Storm

{Book Excerpt from Coffee, God, and Gardening}

She had honestly forgotten about him by the following morning. It was just a normal Sunday morning, as far as she was concerned.

Her apartment had a massive kitchen window where she could step right out onto the fire escape. The early September sun was bright and her Sunday morning routine was to sit on the sill with a cup of coffee and cigarette, enjoy the cool morning air, and soak in the sun. She was right on the fringe of the small city, and she appreciated the older buildings that still showed their original beauty through the years of neglect. When she was ready, she would dress in her Sunday best and meet the rest of her family for church. Her whole life had been built on consistencies focused around family, and Sundays were one of her favorites. Meet the family for church, and then it was a short drive to her parents for lunch and old movies (usually the old black and white Johnny Weissmuller brand of Tarzan). By late afternoon, she would head back home where her time was her own once again.

Sometimes she would fill her time with shopping; other times she would go for a walk in the city. This particular Sunday, she received an unexpected call before she could make a decision.

“What are you doing this evening?” It was Greg, a guy-friend that she would hang out with when either of them was feeling a little lonely and needed company. Inevitably, one thing would lead to another, and she didn’t really have any complaints about that.

“Not much. I thought of watching some TV or reading a book (liar!). Did you want me to come over?” They had dated briefly about a year ago, and despite a definite spark, there was just something missing. Age, possibly? There was a bit of an age difference, but she wasn’t convince that was it. She was pretty certain that it came down to the fact that he didn’t know what he wanted. She was his rebound from a long term relationship and she wasn’t the old, familiar girlfriend. Regardless, they still enjoyed each other’s company, and now she was the girl who kept him from having to find another girlfriend.

“No; I need to get out of the apartment. I’m going a bit crazy over here.” He still lived in the same apartment he had shared with said ex-girlfriend.

She looked around her kitchen. The place was a mild disaster. “Want to come over here?”

“Sure. I’ll grab some supper and be over in an hour or so.”

She sighed in relief. That would give her time to wash some dishes and shove some of the piles of clothes in the closets. At least she had plans for her evening, now.


The beginning of the week passed by without too much pomp and circumstance. She had changed jobs just recently, and was acclimating to her new position as a receptionist for a small, local advertising agency. Despite apprehensions about fitting in, she had already joined the ladies a couple of times for drinks after work and had dinner with a co-worker and her husband. It was a step up from the drudgery of the testing lab she had just left.

Wednesday evening, she had no sooner walked in the door from work and the phone rang.

“Hello?” She had thought that maybe it was her friend Annie. She usually called around mid-week to make plans for the weekend.

“Hey, this is Chad. We met at the picnic last Saturday.”

“Hi!” She was genuinely surprised that he had called her. “How are you?”

“Good. I was wondering if you wanted to go to dinner and a movie on Saturday. I thought that we could go to The Olive Garden and then maybe Columbia Drive In for a double feature.”

“Sure, that sounds great!”

In short order, plans were made for him to pick her up on Friday. As she got off the phone, there was a nagging apprehension in the back of her mind. She just passed it off as her introversion getting the best of her. She wasn’t really keen on new people and new situations. She didn’t want another Greg in her life; another someone who wasn’t sure of what he wanted. But, like most other first dates, she would make the most of it and see where this new adventure went.

Hindsight is always 20/20, as they say. She thought back on that time in her life and her older-self screamed across the decades at her younger self to refuse that first date. Had her younger-self known what she knew now, her life may have turned out quite differently. She really could have made due with Greg awhile longer until someone better came along. Someone who would have encouraged her to follow her dreams and be the person that she was destined to be….not this wreck that could barely will herself to get off the bed and start supper. But, hindsight and all that shit….


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