The New M.E. Generation

Alex did call back. He offered to meet for dinner the next Friday evening and I accepted the invite.

I dressed nicely that day and some strange feeling hit me when I looked at myself on the mirror.

Isn’t this the dress I wore the night I first met him?

I started to freak out! But, no time to change or I will be late to work.

The day went very slow and, even more, it rained, big time. It was as if nature was trying to not make this happen.

I left work on the dot and headed to the restaurant, which was somewhat far. The rain kept lingering and seemed it was to strike again any minute now. I just didn’t want to get wet walking from the car to the location.

When I finally did, it was somewhere in this big mall. I was totally lost when I parked and had to call him to give me directions.

It took me about 15 minutes to finally reach the restaurant. I was already in a bad mood and the rain seemed that it was going to chase me down.

This is not how I wanted this re-encounter to happen. I’m still talking to him while walking to the restaurant when I finally get there and see him at the distance.

All right, Emma, take a deep breath and make it right. You don’t want it to be your fault if all goes wrong tonight.

I took a deep breath and dialed the number. Certain thoughts kept crossing my mind and taking me back in time. While the call started ringing, it was as if, for a moment, I was that young woman way back that summer.

When he answered, it was as if I quickly came back to reality. Truth is, I thought the call would go to voicemail.

“Hi!” said he very happy, “so glad we are talking.”

“Me too! Wow! Can’t believe this is actually happening.” Now I was really nervous.

“Why do you say that?”

“Because the whole commercial thing was so long ago, and I was in college, and you had your career going. I’m sure because of it you have met tons of people, so it could have gone either way about you remembering me.”

“Of course I remember you! Why wouldn’t I? You were a great person. Besides, I was always accessible to people, including you.”

I almost started crying. It was incredible how all people past and present that have been or are part of my life, agree on what he just said. All except one.

“I remember this from you,” said I. “I always felt that you were genuine, which is actually what I thought about you when I saw you on TV during the casting period.”

There was a brief pause from him. It seemed what I said also touched him.

The conversation covered many topics and took a different turn when it got to one aspect in particular.

“I left home because the entertainment industry has taken a deep downslide. There’s a lot of talent, but not enough outlets for all of them to channel,” said he. “I remember when there was this great time in TV that I was doing so much work. Now you have to leave and search for new opportunities. There is no other choice.

Look at me, at my age, starting over both professionally and personally.”

When he said ‘starting over’, something remarkable happened. For the first time ever, I finally connected with him, meaning, I saw him as the person he really is. In other words, I got him because I am on the same spot as he is.

“Of all the people I’ve known,” said I, “you are one of those that I never thought would be where you are now. I always envisioned something totally different for you.”

The conversation continued longer than I had expected. In between all said I learned that his girlfriend lives back home (that explains a lot) and that he is very faithful to her.

Having said that, should I suggest meeting up? Maybe I should leave that to him.

The conversation came to an end when he got another call he needed to answer. (‘Saved by the bell!’)

We quickly agreed to speak again. And just like that, the conversation was over.

So, what happens next?

I got into my car and drove to the restaurant with plenty of time. My idea was to drive slowly, park calmly and walk to the restaurant with poise and grace, projecting I’m all under control.

But the closer I got to the location, the more I started getting nervous. I started breathing in and out to release my anxiety, which helped. I parked my car and walked to the restaurant, which was about two blocks down from the garage my vehicle was.

I was sure I knew where the restaurant was, but I was wrong. To top it off, I don’t walk that gracefully (according to myself), and my new shoes had not been broken in, so my feet were hurting right away.

Oh, no, I can’t believe this is happening to me! How could I make such a mistake? I know that the location is on this street, but exactly where? Ok, Emma, think clearly… Now I remember, its way back on the first block, meaning I walked right by it after exiting the garage.

I then started walking back fast, as fast as I could, with my feet aching even more. Damn it! I don’t want to be late!

As I got closer and saw the restaurant sign, I slowed down my pace. Great! I’m sweating and my feet are killing me. And, even worse, is that Alex sitting at the only window table?

All right, I need to take a deep breath, walk in as if nothing has happened, and just enjoy this night.

et cetera