I stopped at a gas station a couple hundred miles away from the closest town. I looked around the desolate atmosphere and enjoyed the aloofness of it all. The road was slippery with rain water and traces of ice and snow. It had snowed here a days ago I think. It was completely dark around here, with only the overhead lamps on the road shining away in their incandescent luminescence equidistant from each other. A thin veil of fog that had draped the entire landscape made the lamp lights look like halos in the dark; as if angels were descending.

My car was out of gas, so I stopped it ad filled it up. The car’s tank was not the only thing empty; I was feeling hungry too. After travelling for the better part of a day without having any food or drink, I figured it was only justified that I feel hungry. The quick mart of the gas stop was open at this hour. God bless 24 hour service.

I walked in the store, shielding my eyes momentarily from the blinding light inside. Behind the counter, a friendly Sikh sat, perched on his stool with a turban on his head and a Sanskrit book in his hand. He was combing his over-long beard with his other hand. He was obviously oblivious to my presence in the room. I stopped by the refrigerator and picked out a can of Red Bull because I had to drive a couple hundred miles yet and I couldn’t afford sleeping behind the wheel, and a bottle of Dr. Pepper because, who doesn’t like Dr. Pepper?

Some other things I got from the shelves too; a  pack of Pringles, a half-roll of English Biscuits, half a dozen muffins and two donuts from the bakery corner. I intended to eat them in my car before I travelled any further.

As I reached the counter, I kept thinking that I’d forgotten something. Oh! That’s right! The cigarettes! I’m a sucker for Malboros. Winstons are good, but Marlboros taste way better. They burn quicker too, but hey, who’s counting? When you’re smoking cigarettes like I am, smoking a pack or two packs seems one and the same.

“That’ll be a hundred dollars,” the Sikh said. I checked for myself. Yes, it was a hundred dollars indeed. Gone just like that. Poof. Inflation’s gonna be the death me, I thought.

Back in the car, I turned the wiper on because rain drops or dew drops or both had accumulated on the pane and besides being a risk to driving, they were fucking annoying to me. I’m a bit of an obsessive compulsive guy. I like my shirts ironed, my shoes organized and my car’s windows and front panel clean and spotless. Those rain drops were bothering the bejesus out of me.

Here we go, I thought to myself as I started the car and drove off onto the road, eating a donut with my left hand and drinking Dr. Pepper whilst steering the car with my right hand. I was heading off to Cupertino, California. A woman was waiting for me there. I was going to meet her for the first time. The first of man times, I hoped.

*

The bar was empty except for me, the bartender and the woman sitting down a ways. The bartender was wiping at an already clean glass with an old, dirty cloth. No way I was gonna order anything open. I ordered a bud light-in a bottle-and sat down by the woman. It wasn’t cold yet she was wearing a jacket. A leather jacket tattered at places.

“Hi,” I said, looking at her. She hesitated for a moment, took a shot, and then turned towards me. “Hi,” she said.

“Abraham,” I said, introducing myself. I even held out my hand for her to shake, out of courtesy.

“Christie,” she said and shook my hand. Her touch was warm and soft.

“Err…We talked on Facebook….for eight years,” I said, nudging her in the right direction. She looked at me carefully, as if analyzing my face for recognition and then gasped in pleasant amazement.

“OH! Abraham! I honestly couldn’t recognize you! How are you?” she said, smiling.

“Yeah, it’s not your fault, I use too many filters on my pictures,” I said and that got her laughing.

The ice had been broken; we starting talking away at once, like old friends. Hell, we were old friends, if being friends with someone on Facebook for the past 8 years counts. I’d met her on a Stephen King group. She’d accepted my request and we’d chatted with each other ever since.

This was probably the most cliché way in which two people meet but let me say that I enjoyed it. Even though we’d started off our friendship on a very virtual and platonic note, it became very real and very romantic after a couple of shots. We’d already introduced ourselves to each other 8 years ago and we’d already exchanged all sorts of information with one another during those years.

All that we had to do now was to feel each other, look into each other’s eyes, kiss each other, hug each other; eight years of talking had built up to that point. When I kissed her, it was by far the best kiss I’ve ever had. When I hugged her, it was the closest I’ve ever felt to another person. When we had sex later that night, it was the best sex of my life.

Relationships are like two way streets. I never understood what that meant until now.

 

 

 

 

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