I sat in the lobby of my health club (A.K.A. “the club”), where I spent a lot of time during my post-divorce months. I was sitting with my back to the front window with a pretty good view of the entire lobby, but I was focused on work and in the zone, doing something nerdy. I glanced up, after what seemed to be an hour of staring at a spreadsheet, and I saw him. 

There he was, standing about 30 feet away with this huge, beautiful smile. It was the kind of smile that I could feel. His whole face was smiling. I was completely captivated. He was talking to a friend and his friend seemed happy too; like this guy’s positivity was infectious. He was tall, and tan and still smiling, even after some time passed. He must have felt me looking at him because he turned from his friend and looked directly into my eyes. I was caught! I had my hair up, no make-up on, in active-wear, and I was totally mouth breathing… and now he was looking at me! I quickly closed my mouth and partially smiled while dodging eye contact because I am awkward. I looked back a few seconds later, and he was STILL looking at me with that big, bright smile. Like a full smile. If I wasn’t against a window that had a bunch of plants in front of it, I would have turned around to see who he was smiling at. He smiled at me like he knew me. It was a little intimidating and I didn’t really know what to do so I did one of those “no-teeth-grins,” looked back down at my computer, and promised myself that I would not look up again. 

When I finally did look up, he was gone. So many questions raced through my mind. Who was he? Why was he so happy? Would I ever see him again? For the next few days, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Normally, if I see someone once, or even twice, I can only vaguely remember what they look like. But I could not get his amazing smile out of my head. I hoped I would see him again, but I didn’t even know if he was a member at the club. It was also a hotel, so there was a chance he was just a guest who was traveling for work. I decided that if meeting someone was meant to be, it would happen, so I wrote off the idea of running into him again. 

June 17th, 2017, was Father’s Day which meant the kids were with their dad. I would get them back just before bedtime and I had no plans, so I went to the club to work out and then hang by the pool. The club has a full restaurant and bar so on my kid-free days I would workout, lay out by the pool, grab dinner and have a glass of wine. That day was one of those chill single days where I felt free and at peace. I sat at the bar and did some things on my computer while I enjoyed a nice cold glass of Oyster Bay. I felt someone come up behind me and stand to my left, but it is a busy place so I didn’t think anything of it. The bartender looked at the person and said, “Hey Eli, have you met Megan?” I slowly turned to my left and my heart stopped for a second… it was him

I quickly gathered my inner, 16-year-old self, and said, “Hi!” Yep, that was literally all I could muster up. “Hi.” He started talking and I got distracted by his smile again. I’m not actually sure what he said, but he was radiating this gentle warmth that I had never felt before. I was a little speechless, which doesn’t happen to me often. My auto-pilot smile and slight head nods came to a screeching halt when I realized that he had asked me a question. I said something like, “Um, sorry, what?” He smoothly repeated himself, “Do you want to come to the pool and hang out with me for a bit?” My mind was racing while I shook my head “yes” (probably a bit too vigorously). He told me he was going to get his suit on and that he would meet me by the pool. 

I closed out with the bartender and went to the locker room to change into my bathing suit. I was so nervous. His matter-of-fact way of asking me to hang out with him was so… well, manly. And here I was, freaking out in the locker room like a teenager getting ready for a game of spin the bottle. I had no idea what to expect; all of this was so unexpected. How was he so brave? Is this really happening? I checked myself in the mirror one last time, then I made my way out onto the pool deck. I saw him the second I opened the gate to the pool area. He was wearing a speedo. 

I walked towards him, our eyes met, and he flashed me a disarming smile. I arrived at the bar where he was standing, extremely nonchalantly in his speedo (which I could not get over). He asked me if I wanted something to drink so I opted for a margarita. He grabbed a beer and he led me to the pool. We sat close, on the top step of the pool stairs. 

{Just to give you a visual, this is not your average gym pool. The club is an outdoor summer paradise. There are cabanas, an outdoor bar, waiters that come by and take food orders, the works. It is a family-friendly place, and there are always kids around, but it can get a little middle-aged-spring-break-pool-party-ish. Between the hotel guests and the upper-middle class members, it can be, for lack of a more fitting term, “extra.”}

It was probably about 4:30 at that time. The sun was warm and the pool was actually pretty calm for a Sunday. Eli sat confidently and effortlessly started our conversation. We cut through the small talk pretty quickly, and I told him that I had two kids. His response was, “So do I!” I was shocked. Do you remember the Disney Channel Show, That’s so Raven? Well, if you do, you are probably singing, “it’s the future I can see,” right about now. Sorry about that. Anyway, I had one of those flash forwards where I saw a small moment in my future. Eli and I were together, somewhere outside, and our FOUR kids were running around laughing together. It was honestly beautiful. 

We talked for hours, and the time flew by. We had so much in common. He was different from anyone I had ever met. The sun was setting, so it was getting a little too chilly to be in the pool. I had no expectations, but I wanted more time with him. We got out and dried off, and he asked me for my phone number. I had to get going, so we said our goodbyes, and I left. 

On my way home, I kept going over parts of our conversation in my head. Was that real life? Did he like me? Was I ever going to hear from him again? That couldn’t be the end, right? 

M

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