When you work in an office building sharing a floor with a security company, you are used to seeing men around. We share a back hallway with their main artery. For them it’s access to everything. For us, access to the restroom. Generally speaking though, the hallway isn’t much of a view corridor if you know what I’m saying.
Except for one individual that I will refer to as Attractive Hallway Guy or AHG for short.
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I had noticed him close to a year ago when I almost ran into him when turning a corner too quickly. When I went back to the office to tell my tale of near collision with a fine specimen of man, my fellow females immediately knew who I was talking about. “The tall one, right?” was one clarification.
The hallway is the only time I would see AHG. It was our shared ground. Sometimes weeks would pass without our hallway expeditions lining up. But then I would see him again. Always we would make eye contact. Always he would smile at me. Always I would look shyly away and half smile.
(A quick note on the half smile or lips-together smile… I know it’s the worst. I know it isn’t warm or inviting. I know that on my face in particular, I need to smile with my teeth, a real smile, to appear actually friendly. Which is not something that comes naturally to me with strangers and people I don’t know, particularly attractive people. What can I say, I’m working on it.)
Our hallway interactions were always sporadic and random and would pretty much play out identically. But not this week. No, this week I would see him every single day. Twice on Monday. When I hit up the food truck for lunch on Tuesday, he was heading in with his meal. Near misses that weren’t missed kept appearing.
And I faced the truth… He DID exist outside of that hallway. My mind was blown.
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So when I stepped out into the abandoned hallway this morning just in time to see him appear before me as if summoned, it felt like fate. Too many coincidental hallway run-ins had happened in five days. Surely this was too much of a synced schedule to be mere chance? Surely the universe was throwing us together for a reason?
As we approached each other, everything seemed to slow. A quaint, quirky song from a guitar playing indie duo whose name is probably just a combination of last names mascaraing as first names and that you imagine Zooey Deschanel dancing to while wearing a gingham dress from a vintage store and a bold red lip started playing in my mind. I was aware of the one florescent overhead light that had been recently replaced, giving it a slightly different color temperature. I was aware of how absolutely blah that corporate hallway carpet truly is. I was aware of my every breath, my every step, even my questionable choice of a haven’t-showered-so-I’m-going-with-a-slicked-back-pony hairstyle.
I was aware of the universe.
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Making eye contact with him, per our unspoken agreement, something sparked inside me. Fate called upon me to be more than I was. I did the unexpected. I did something epic and bold and completely out of character and out of my comfort zone.
I smiled. With teeth.
Not missing a step, his typical charming smile greeted me back. Was it my imagination that there was a new little sparkle in his eye that hadn’t been there pre-she-smiles-with-teeth?
And right as I stepped near him, at the point of passing and aware of every worn fiber of that ugly carpet under my boots, he spoke to me. He said something that will resonate in my soul for all eternity.
My face flushed from the verbal acknowledgement of my being and the intensity of his statement. The shared joke of the escalating frequency of our hallway encounters caused me to be acutely aware of how physically near we were to each other. Less than three widths of people between us; a new closeness.
(I usually hug the hallway wall. I’m mysterious like that.)
I tried to return his sentiment, his beautiful word, those profound two letters. But my vocal cords were caught up by such a rush of feelings. I don’t know if I spoke out-loud… I couldn’t hear my voice over the fluttering of my heart. My lips moved, trying to respond, forming the correct shapes. I know he heard it in his heart, if not his ears.
Have two letters, one word ever said so much?
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And then the moment was over. Suddenly outside sounds were once again audible, sights beyond his face reentered my vision and movement regained a normal human pace. I fought the urge to glance back, just once, as I continued down the hall. Certainly I needed to verify that this moment wasn’t just a figment of my imagination?
Where can we go from here? How do you move forward after such an earth-shattering encounter?
I suppose from now on out I will have to avert my eyes and shun him in order to not taint our perfect moment. That or find a restroom on another floor and get some cardio now and then. I should most certainly not try to talk to him again. Nope, never. That would ruin the tragic beauty of it all.
But one thing I do know. We will always have those two little alphabet-adjacent letters that we shared.
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(Hopefully you enjoyed my little tongue-and-cheek foray into the over-the-top melodramatic romance genre. Also please keep your eyes peeled for my new e-book… “The Hallway That Connected More Than Just Their Offices”. And then the riveting follow up “The Torrid Affair That Never Was, OR WAS IT.” )
Also this. I felt a bit scandalous like Ms Pesky while writing this.