I remember it like it was yesterday. Nobody had ever been powerful enough to stop my world, but he was. And he did.
I’d heard before about the infamous and much elusive “time stood still” thing; I wondered what it would be like, and if it would ever happen to me. I finally had my answer on a warm day in September. It was a day where I was running short on clean clothing, late to get out of my apartment, and so I threw on whatever was clean. I regretted that I had not spent more time fluffing and folding the prior weekend.
Walking into the meeting room, the absence of others told me I had time to grab a cup of coffee. When I came back, he was there. Sitting, shuffling a few papers, organizing his spot at the table. The coffee cup had just touched my lips when I froze. All I could do was stare. I ran through my mental list of meeting attendees and concluded that he was the one I’d been talking to on the phone for the last few months. He wasn’t how I’d pictured. He was perfect. I finally sipped my coffee.
I’d imagined him as a boisterous, older, overweight, short, balding, aggressive professional. I assumed he was married with a gaggle of kids, a house outside the city and an impressive expense account. Our phone discussions were 2% friendly, 98% business.
In actuality, we were close enough in age. He wasn’t overweight, nor was he short. He wasn’t balding, nor was he aggressive. And while there was no ring on his finger, I’d experienced enough shadiness to know that being sans-wedding band does not always a single man make. But, as it turned out, he was single after all.
Following the in-person meeting, our communication expanded a bit over the next few weeks; the percentage of friendly vs. business talk did a 180. We were fast approaching another in-person meeting and, despite the shift in dialogue, I (in typical fashion) was missing signs left and right that he was interested in me.
A lot of signs.
I eventually picked up on them, and we tried to head in that direction. It ultimately didn’t end up working out, but the world had stopped for a few seconds.
I finally knew what it was like to have that romantic comedy experience that not even a recreated slo-mo scene could’ve done justice. I often say that the smell of orange blossoms is heaven on earth to me. Those few seconds when time stood still have been tied with the orange blossoms for almost 10 years.
The world stopped, but inevitably started up again. Granted, it ended up being without him, but knowing first-hand that time really can stand still makes me happy. It fills up my jar of hope, which often times runs low. It makes me smile when I remember it, and it has been added to the list that others have helped to populate — a mental list of what to be on the lookout for so I don’t pass up anything good in the future. For the world stopping and for knowing that it can happen again, I am thankful.