Familiar: Episode 4

Here is Episode 4 of “Familiar.” Thanks for reading!

Of course the sun was shining that morning as I drove to the breakfast spot where we had agreed to meet. I had the radio on louder than I should have blaring love songs I’d be ashamed to admit I enjoyed. I thought about Olivia and what I’d say and what she’d say and did my best to push out every negative thought that popped out from the recesses of my mind. 

I parked my car and checked the time on the dash. Two minutes early—which is more like fifteen minutes early for me when it comes to social engagements. I got out and walked into an empty restaurant lobby. Not a good sign. I scanned the booths and tables for her but didn’t see her long blonde hair anywhere. 

A hostess returning to her station asked, “You meeting someone, honey?”

I nodded and she said, “She’s right around that corner,” pointing to a smaller section to my right. Then she added, “First date?” I nodded again, and a smile spread across her face. “She’s a pretty one—good job.”

I smiled and thanked her and turned the corner to see Olivia sitting in a corner booth taking a drink of coffee. She was a pretty one. 

She put the mug down when she saw me, and flashed a big smile. I waved and she waved back, and then we were sitting across from each other—both smiling.

“Sorry I didn’t wait for you,” she said holding up her mug. “I figured you’d prefer me with a little caffeine in my system.”

I laughed and said, “Oh I’m sure it’s not that bad.” She assured me it was that bad, then I added, “I guess I will just have to see for myself some time.”

This really made her smile—the corners of her eyes wrinkled, her nose slightly scrunched—and I thought this must’ve been how she smiled when she was a kid. Genuine, joyful, nothing resembling the polite smiles we’ve learned to flash after years of social interactions telling us that’s what we’re supposed to do. I almost told her that. She did something that made me want to say all sorts of things I normally wouldn’t.

But I remembered how much I didn’t know about her and said, “But I suppose we should probably know each other a little bit better before we get there.”

“I agree,” she said, still smiling. “So what do you do for a living?”

I started to tell her about my desk job and the beige office and Todd, but I was cut short by our waitress asking if we were ready to order. Olivia was. I was not, but I said I was anyway.

“You haven’t looked at the menu since you got here,” Olivia said laughing. 

I laughed too and the waitress said she’d give us some time. 

Olivia kept laughing.

“Well what are you going to have?” I asked.

“French toast. I love French toast.”

“Good to know.” I smiled. “I’ll get that too.”

“So you work in an office?” she asked.

Then I did tell her about my accounting job and the office and she laughed when I told her about Todd. 

“I think every office has a Todd,” she said. 

The waitress returned and we ordered our French toast, and then it was her turn to tell me about her job. 

She smiled, “I’m a graphic designer.” 

I waited for her to continue, and before I could ask a follow-up, she went on offense again, asking where I went to college.

Our conversation went on this way for the rest of the date—only interrupted by bites of French toast or eggs and sips of lukewarm coffee—and before I knew it, I was telling her things I hadn’t told anyone else. Well, hadn’t told anyone else except that other pretty blonde girl.

She looked out the window. I took a drink of coffee. I thought her barrage had ceased, and felt embarrassed that I had basically spilled my life’s story on a first date.

Then she asked, “So what happened?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“You said you dated this girl in college. I assume you aren’t still dating her,” she smiled again, “so what happened?”

The million dollar question. So what happened. The question I knew would come but wanted to avoid. I couldn’t remember the last time I talked about what happened. I didn’t talk about it much—and still don’t—but something about Olivia made me feel like I could tell her. She made me feel like I could tell her anything and she would make it all right. 

So I told her. I told her about the car accident—the night I found out, the week of not knowing who I was anymore, everything.

She got up and sat next to me.

“I’m so sorry.” 

She put her arms around me, and in that moment, everything was all right.

Now it’s time to answer the question. Would you keep reading? Give a like here or on Twitter or Facebook and comment below with what you’d like to see happen in next week’s episode. Thanks for reading!

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