Tom and Justin met at the pub on a rainy afternoon. It had been a while since the good friends had seen each other as they both lived in different cities. Tom was traveling for business and they decided to get a beer and catch up.
“How’s the wife?” Justin asked his friend.
“She’s good!” Tom replied. “She got a promotion at work and it gives us more time together. We’re going to go to wine country a couple days after I get back and I can’t wait. Anyone you’re seeing?”
“I’ve been out with a couple of people, nothing really there,” Justin replied. “One was like pulling teeth to get her to say anything, and the other seemed nice but there was no spark. I could see us being friends. There is someone I’m talking to though. We haven’t been able to meet up yet, but there is something about her.”
“Why haven’t you met up?” Tom asked.
“We’ve just been really busy,” Justin replied.
“How do you know she has been really busy and isn’t avoiding meeting up?” Tom asked.
“Well, I’ve been really busy. So why would I doubt her sincerity? This week has been insane for me,” Justin replied. “But even through text, there is something there. I can tell,” he continued.
“I’ve heard that from you before,” Tom said.
“And I still submit I was right about that. There were circumstances involved, and a lot of upheaval required in order to have made that happen. It is a lot to ask of someone. I’ve always been pretty good at recognizing these types of connections. You know my track record. Do you want to see her picture?” Justin asked as he shoved his phone in Tom’s face.
“Wow!” Tom exclaimed as he looked at the picture. “She’s hot. I don’t know if she’s your type though.”
“Look back over my major relationships and try to find a type,” Justin retorted.
Tom realized that Justin might just be correct. As far as physical appearance, none of the women Justin had been seriously involved with had much in common.
“Besides,” Justin added, “Look how unique she is. I get hit on all the time but so many of them are the same. She has her own look. her own personality, and is her own person,” that is my type.
“Well, just try not to get all attached before you actually meet in person,” Tom warned.
“I’m trying,” Justin replied, knowing he was already very focused on her.
They changed the subject and began ranting about politics, science deniers, the healthcare system, and economics. Justin was happy he got to see his old friend while he was in town. They talked a bit about old times, and decided it was time to leave.
“See ya next time. Have a good flight,” Justin told his friend as he walked toward his car in the rain.
“Good luck with the girl!” Tom shouted.
Four blocks away at a small bar, Aaralyn sat with her friend.
“His name is Justin,” she said as she handed her friend the phone.
“He seems really nice, by his texts,” Candace told her. “Is he cute?”
“I’ve seen a couple pictures. I think he is,” she said.
“You haven’t met?” Candace asked, concerned.
“Not yet, you know how this week was for me,” she told her friend.
“Aaralyn, I know you,” Candace started, “You start talking to someone and then they turn into some jerk who ends up hurting you,” she stated. “So if you haven’t met, how are you even talking?” she asked.
“An online group,” Aaralyn answered.
“Well, he seems nice, but you don’t know him. Remember that.”
“I have a good feeling about this one,” Aaralyn said.
“Well, I hope you’re right. I do know how perceptive you are,” Candace told her friend before announcing it was time to get going. They got up and left the bar. They got into Candace’s little car and drove off toward Aaralyn’s house through the rain.
They drove along and talked about anything and everything the way really good friends often do. The rain was not presenting a problem for Candace’s little car. Candace, despite her conversation with Aaralyn, was a very attentive driver and they were used to wet roads. There was no reason to think that day would be any different.
As they neared a major intersection, a large dirt hauler hit a puddle and splashed the windshield with so much water it overwhelmed the wiper blades for a second or two. It was just long enough to prevent Candace and Aaralyn from seeing the pooled water from the blocked storm drain at the corner. The car started to hydroplane.
Justin was stopped at the red light when he saw the small car spinning through the intersection in front of him. It crashed up on the pedestrian island across the street and to the left. He checked for traffic and ran the red light to get there.
After parking on the side, he ran to the small car that had slammed up onto the curb. As he ran around to the driver’s side, he noticed that the damage seemed to be pretty light. He did notice it appeared as though there was a broken tie-rod as the wheel on the passenger side seemed to be dangling. The car definitely wasn’t going anywhere, but he didn’t notice anything that would have made the accident too serious for the occupants. As he reached the driver’s door, he hoped he was right.
He opened the door and found Candace, awake, and relatively unharmed. She was definitely shaken up, but otherwise seemed to be okay. He noticed there was another woman in the passenger seat, but did not catch a good look at her face from the angle he was at.
“Are you two okay?” he asked the women.
“Yeah, I just bumped my arm, but I think I’m fine,” Candace replied. “She’s fine, but her door is stuck,” she added.
Justin ran around to the passenger side. He pulled on the door with everything he had. It wasn’t opening. Aarlyn saw it was him through the window, but he was too focused on getting the door open to notice it was her.
The bottom of the door was dented inward, and was preventing him from getting it open. He grabbed a rock on the ground and started pounding on the bulged out middle section of the door in order to straighten out the bottom enough to open it.
Meanwhile, Candace had exited the driver’s side and come around to watch him attempt to extricate Aaralyn from the car. As he got the door straight enough that he might be able to finally pull it open, he did not notice that Aaralyn had simply slid over to the driver’s side and got out.
When he finally got the door open, he looked in to realize nobody was inside. Aaralyn, who had walked around the car while he was fighting to get it open was standing behind him. She giggled.
Justin turned around and was met with the sight of the woman he could not wait to meet. They locked eyes and smiled.
“You’d be my hero, if I needed it,” she laughed, “That was awfully heroic of you anyway.”
Trying to regain his composure, Justin said, “This isn’t how I imagined us meeting.”
“You imagined us meeting?” Aaralyn asked in reply.
“Almost all the time,” Justin replied.
He, Aaralyn, and Candace all talked and laughed until her car was towed and the reports were filed. He then offered to take Candace and Aaralyn home.
“That was twenty-three years ago, and that was the day that I started to believe in true love,” Candace told her daughter at her graduation, “And because of them, I didn’t blow off your father when I met him later and he pursued me, and now I have you.”