It was my dad's 53rd birthday, but something else about that day was also very special. I called my dad up to see if he would like to have lunch together for his birthday. He agreed, and half an hour later I arrived at his school. (He's an elementary principal.) He ordered us BLTs at a nearby restaurant.
We walked together to the small fast-food restaurant. As we neared the door, two young girls walked in: two beautiful goddesses. They recognized my father, and
approached us. "Hey, Mr. Margheim," they happily chimed.
My dad had been their elementary-school principal, so he introduced us. "Chance, this is Stephanie."
"Uh, hi," I said. I didn't catch her friend's name. I was under the assumption that they were both college students. My dad must have read my mind, because he asked them their ages. Embarrassed, I rubbed my hands over my face, paranoid. Do they know that I'm interested; am I obvious?
"Juniors," they said in unison. Perfect, I thought. I am a senior.
The conversation pretty much ended there, unfortunately. They were both working, so I figured that it would be best not to talk to them too much. My dad and I sat down. He ate; I couldn't. My stomach was doing flips; I was secretly waiting for Stephanie to approach me, hair blowing, eyes sparkling ...
I guess we waited for some time before my dad gave me the old nudge. "Gotta get back to work," he whispered.
As we left, Stephanie gave me the usual, "Bye, nice to have met you."
"You, too," I crooned, lowering my voice.
The car ride back was silent. I am usually the conversation starter, but I was too deep in thought. I stared out the car window, thinking. I thought to myself as I got out of the car and walked into my father's office. After much contemplation, I decided I was going to ask this girl out! I gave my father a hug, wished him a happy birthday and left.
My mind was asking a million questions. No more what ifs, I said to myself. I am tired of what ifs.
I pulled into the parking lot of the fast-food restaurant and sat in my car for a good half-hour, contemplating my move. I was nervous, very nervous, heart-popping-out-of-my-chest nervous. I literally felt like I was having a heart attack! I took a deep breath, prayed and walked into the restaurant. She was talking to someone, so I waited by the counter. Her eyes met mine, and she walked over to me. After what seemed like an hour of staring at her, I opened my mouth and let the words fall out.
"Umm, I know this is gonna sound crazy, but would you like to go out sometime?"
What a relief! I finally asked someone out! I studied her face, reading her reaction.
"Awww, that's nice, but I am serious with someone right now."
"Oh, yeah, OK, don't worry about it," I said, "that's fine."
"It was a good try though, right?" We both laughed. Our chat ended with a friendly handshake and a "see you later."
Surprisingly enough, I wasn't disappointed. True, I would have loved to come home that night telling everyone that I finally had a date, and yet, I felt great! I had finally faced my fear and bit the bullet. I was prouder of myself at that moment than I had ever been in my life.
For the first time in 17 years, I had faced my fear. I went home that day, and for
once, I didn't have to ask myself "what if?"