My ex had just called off our engagement a few weeks earlier. I was now staying with my wonderful friends Mike and Davis after a brief weekend filled with crying and cursing and alcohol at my parents' house. I was homeless, I was cat-less, I was job-less. It was not a good time.
Despite all of the obvious negativity, there was a very real sense of freedom and relief that had entered my life. Yes, I was pissed and upset that my ex had dumped me, but I was also ready to delve into my life and become the strong, independent woman I knew I could be. I was about to head off to Pennsylvania for five months to work professionally with an improv troupe--I was getting a fresh start! The world was my oyster and I was ready to grab life by the balls! (or at least that's what I kept telling myself between pints of ice cream and boxes of tissues).
Before I could leave, I still had to march back into my old house, pack up all my stuff, and move it up to my parents' house until I could figure out what my next step was. I couldn't get it all done by myself, so I decided I would text some guys I knew who were strong, able-bodied men and promised them beer if they could lend me a few hours of their time.
As I was going through my contact list, I came across "Zach AYLI." Zach Williams! I had just seen him during Rapture, Blister, Burn and hoped he'd be able to help me. I didn't give any details (wasn't ready for the awkwardness break-ups cause), but asked if he would be willing to move some furniture for me. That turned into a small text conversation ending in him asking me if I'd like to join him at the P&H Cafe that night for a comedy roast. I said I'd be there.
I walked into the kitchen where Davis was and told her that I'd be going out that evening. I knew her and Mike were busy trying to plan their wedding and I felt bad how much time they were graciously spending with me making sure I was doing ok.
When I told her where I'd be going and who I'd be with, her eyebrows raised and a small smirk spread across her face and she said, "Oh really?"
"Yeah, you know, it could be fun."
"So, will you be coming home tonight?"
"Hahahahaha, Davis! Of course! I'm not even sure this is an actual date."
"Hey, no judgement. I just know Zach and I know where this could go."
"Ok, well if it goes there I'll text you some code word," I said jokingly.
"Great! What's the word?"
"A banana seat! You know? Those long seats on bicycles that fit two people?"
"I'm not sure that's what they're called...but ok!"
Then I spent the next hour pacing back and forth and debating whether I'd really go or if I should text him and back out. I mean, what was I doing? I hadn't gone on a first date in over 2 years, I'd just gotten out of a relationship, I was about to leave for five months--and then I reminded myself that I was a strong, independent woman now who could do whatever she wanted and should do whatever she wanted especially if it made her happy. And Zach always made me happy.
So I went.
I was so nervous. Oh my GOD I was nervous. I had to sit in my car and listen to Breathe Carolina's song "Blackout" to psych myself up before I walked in. But, you know, once I got in the P&H and saw Zach, all those nerves disappeared. And I was completely put at ease after Zach spilled his beer 30 seconds after he sat down. It went ALL OVER the table and the chairs, but Zach just got up, went to the bar, got a washcloth, and cleaned up the mess. He was so cool and calm about it that I didn't feel any pressure to put on airs or be someone I wasn't.
We started talking as if no time had passed between us. Then Zach asked where my ex was. I said, "I don't know and I don't care."
Stopping mid-sip, "Umm...is everything ok?"
Sigh, "No. And yes. We broke up and I'm having to move my stuff to my parents' house and that's why I texted you and I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner but I didn't want to scare you or anything and no I don't really want to talk about it I just want to drink and laugh and have a good time tonight."
I waited anxiously in silence for his response, waited for judgement, waited for anything negative that might happen. And Zach just cocked his head to the side a bit, looked at me and said,
"Well...you stay right here. I'm going to go buy you another cider. And then we're going to laugh and have the best time tonight."