I got a job at an advertising agency. I was excited. I was nervous. I was going to be a good boy, had to be a good boy. First day my manager took me around the office and introduced me to everyone. Brought me to my cubicle. “This is you. And this is your neighbor, Ava.”
I looked over the cubicle wall and saw her. Could barely look at her. Knew if I looked at her there’d be trouble. There was a gravitational pull. Couldn’t explain it, didn’t want to. Just felt it, felt it everywhere. Didn’t make eye contact. Knew once I did the room would spin. I needed this job. I needed to behave.
I looked at my feet, “Hi, hey, oh um, yes, nice to meet you. My neighbor, how nice.”
The next day she was gone. Thank God. She should stay away. She should never come back. I need this job, need to focus. Days passed, I worked hard and I learned and everything was good. I could still close my eyes and not see her face. I could still go to sleep then, I could still go to sleep.
The next week I felt the room move. My feet lifted off the floor. Gravitational pull. She was back. Where’d she go? “Music festival.” Oh, great she likes music. That’s perfect. And now she’s back. Now you’re screwed. Even worse, they say I have a meeting with her. They say to meet her in the big conference room. She’s going to do a training with me. Bad news. Disaster.
The table was long and made of glass. I sat far away. She wore a heavy blue turquoise stone around her neck and the white lights above us bounced off the table and made her glow. A blue tint over brown eyes, brown hair, and full lips. She was a full charge. She could glow in the dark. I knew it. I didn’t want to know it.
She started talking about things I didn’t understand but could tell she was intelligent. The way her mouth moved. The sound of her voice, the sound of her voice. I forced my eyes to adjust to her. I locked in and listened, nodded along. I remember sitting there thinking, “What does a guy like me have to do to meet a girl like her?” Because I could never “meet her.” Just someone like her, that would be enough. Do dreams come true?
Days passed. Weeks came. Months went. Felt like forever. I stared at the cubicle wall, made up reasons to stand just to see her. It was out of my control. Gravitational pull. Simple physics. Not my fault.
I got an offer to write about a music festival happening in a few months. I knew she loved music festivals. This is perfect. This is terrible. I’ll tell her right now.
“Have you heard of the festival, Woogie Weekend? It’s a music festival and I’m going to write about it. No big deal.”
We chatted over Google messager. We talked about the festival. Talked about how maybe we’d see each other there. Talked about how maybe we’d go together. Talked about how we should make out in the break room. (No, no, we didn’t talk about that, I didn’t think that, tried my best not to think that. It was all I could think about.)
No more sleep. No more peace. Just Ava. Replayed the day’s messages. Thought about what to say tomorrow. Work mattered less and less, she mattered more and more. Daily ecstasy. Nightly agony. Constantly Ava.
Talking turned to flirting. Flirting turned into coffee breaks together. One day she invited me to join her at the Ocean Beach farmers market. “Yes Yes Yes, dream do come true. Let’s go now. Let’s go forever.” I mean, “Uh yeah. Sure, we can. That sounds good.”
She picked me up in a silver car with a yellow dog. Penny. Drove us to her friend’s house in Ocean Beach. We walked to the market. We ate Indian food. The sun began to set.
She said, “I want to jump in the water.”
I said, “I’d follow you anywhere.”
I mean, “Ok, yeah, sure. We could.”
She had her bikini on under her clothes, clothes came off. I tried not to stare, told myself, “Corey don’t stare.” We went into the water, right by the pier, the longest pier in California, first her, then me. She stayed close. Closer than ever. Almost touching. Almost.
Waist deep, waves crashing, she said, “Look at you and those abs…”
I said, “I’ve been doing sit-ups and push-ups since the day I saw you.” I mean…nothing. I didn’t say anything.
She drove me home. I knew I had to tell her, needed to get it off my chest. Had to make it clear now or I never would. The room would never stop spinning and I’d never fall asleep again. She said something about there being a lot of pretty girls at work. I said, “Ava you’re the prettiest girl there.” She said, “You’re sweet.” The car began to float. Penny was on my lap. I began to sweat.
Days passed. Weeks came. Months went. Felt like minutes. We talked more, flirted more, thought about her more. I got used to the room spinning, but never used to her. I began to crave the lack of balance and gravitational pull I felt when she was around. The electricity between us grew. I knew she felt it, thought she felt it, hoped to God that she felt it.
I never slept. Closed my eyes, nothing but her. Agony. Ecstacy. Ava.
One Saturday she invited me out to explore caves at the beach with her friends. We swam. We drank. I played it cool. I didn’t play it cool. There was a street fair and I bought stupid looking sunglasses because she said they were cool. They weren’t cool. We went inside a liquor store and she pointed to her favorite bottle of champagne. It was Veuve Clicquot.
She looked at me and I knew the look. This was it is. Now was the time. Dreams do come true. The hair on my neck stood up. It was trouble. It was peace. It was destiny. I looked at her again to make sure. She looked back and I knew she was ready for it, knew that she wanted me to do it. I leaned in and closed my eyes. Finally, finally, dreams do come true, dreams do come true. This is going to be bad, this is going to be great.
My lips almost to hers and she pulled away, looked at me like I was crazy. The floor disappeared. Gravity was back. I was in a freefall. She said, “Slow burn, Corey. Slow burn.”
I brushed it off. Played it cool. I wasn’t cool. Not at all. I told myself, “That’s ok, sleep is overrated. You can still dream with your eyes open. Probably for the best anyway. You work together. You need this job. Be a good boy, a good boy.”
We went back to her friend’s house. More talking. More flirting. Close enough to touch. Almost touching. Almost.
We went dancing at midnight, Spin Nightclub, a DJ played. She wore big, black velvet obnoxious boots that laced from her ankles to her thighs, to her thighs. From her perfect ankles to her perfect tighs. She was 10 feet tall. Ava Pendl. “Slow burn, Corey. Slow burn.”
I kept drinking and dancing, having fun, she was across the room. I didn’t see her coming. I wasn’t even thinking about it, it was all I could think about. She threw her arms around me and kissed me. Kissed me long. Kissed me hard. She looked at me said, “You’re cool, Corey.”
Days passed. Weeks came. Months went. Time stood still. More hangouts. More make-outs. More secrets told. Music festivals, weekend trips, lazy Sundays. Still no sleep. Still no peace. Just Ava on my mind. Every day and forever. I learned to love it. I still love it.
People at work began to talk. Rumor mill turned. I didn’t care. She mattered more than the job, mattered more than anything.
She told me she wanted to go to South America. We bought tickets and went. Went to South America to fall in love, we fell in love.
A few years later we went back to the pier, the longest pier in California. Back to the place I followed her into the water. The place we went waist deep, close enough to touch. Almost touching. Almost.
I got down on one knee, took out a ring. I asked her to be my wife, to be my forever girl, to make me the happiest man in the world.
She said, “Yes, yes, yes, dreams do come true. Let’s go now, let’s go for forever. I’d follow you anywhere.”
The above is an email I wrote the wedding officiant who asked me for the story of how I met my fiance and our first date. I’ve never shared anything like this on Medium before, but I wanted to write it the way I felt when it was happening: out of my mind crazy.
Our wedding date is April 6th, 2019.
For all you out there who have work crushes, dreams do come true.