She pulled into the parking lot behind the building hoping to find a spot, but all three visitor spots were taken. She texted him, “hey, there’s nowhere to park, what should I do?”
A few seconds later, her phone lit up with his reply, “pull up to the front of the building, I’ll come down.”
The butterflies in her stomach rejoiced in the anticipation of seeing him again. They’d matched on Tinder about a month back and had been chatting ever since. She’d never expected to actually meet a guy off of the app, but he was so funny and easy to talk to. He texted her back consistently, no games, no awkward gaps in their communication. When he suggested their first date be at her favourite board game cafe, she figured it must be fate.
That date had gone wonderfully. She’d been surprised to realize that he was even better looking in person than in his awkward-angled, poorly lit profile photos. As she beat him at Scrabble, she spelled out the word “seafoam” which perfectly described his eyes, framed by just the faintest laugh lines. His golden stubble lined his perfectly chiseled jaw, and enveloped his lips. She’d wanted to kiss them whenever he’d laughed at her jokes.
She’d finally been able to at the end of that marvelous first date, when he walked her to her car. He’d kissed her goodbye, and it’d lingered just long enough to take her breath away. Then he invited her over to his apartment the following Friday night. She gladly accepted. She’d known that night they had something special.
Now here he was again, getting into her passenger’s seat wearing a black t-shirt and a hint of cologne. She wouldn’t have thought he was a cologne guy. He leaned over the car’s center console to give her an awkward hug hello. Despite texting nonstop throughout the week, it was so different to be with him in the flesh. It was electrifying.
As they pulled back into the parking lot a black car was leaving.
“Perfect,” he said. “I’m 99% sure that guy works night shifts, so you can just park in his spot.”
“Are you sure?” She asked reluctantly pulling into the only empty spot. It was clearly marked as reserved tenant parking. He shot her a mischievous smile and assured her nobody would ever notice, and she’d be gone long before he returned. Trusting him, and anxious to get their night started, she turned off the car.
He led her into the building by the hand and onto the elevator. She’d never dated a guy with his own apartment before. It felt so grown up. She imagined bookshelves and plants and carefully placed art in the living room. In the kitchen, she pictured pots steaming, a roast in the oven. He had said he’d get dinner tonight.
When they arrived, she realized she’d been way off. The apartment was fairly bare, with a basic gray couch and black rug in the living room, in front of the wall mounted TV. The only piece of art was the framed black and white Beatles poster hung above a vintage record player, he’d later explain was his grandfather’s. There was a small white IKEA dinette set in the corner with a pizza box on top. Dinner. It’d arrived just minutes before she had.
“And!” He called out excitedly, dashing into the kitchen. When he returned he held his hands mysteriously behind his back. He paused for suspense before revealing a neon green bag. “For dessert! I know sour candy is your favourite.”
“I brought you a bottle of wine,” she said fishing it out of her oversized leather tote.
“That’s amazing,” he smiled, examining the bottle. “But I don’t have a wine opener.”
They Googled several methods to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew before settling on a video. She loved how he could make any video hilarious. The video they chose was chosen purely for the commentary throughout the tutorial. Slowly, she turned the bottle, while he lodged a knife in the top.
“It’s working!” She observed excitedly, yanking the bottle down, causing him to slice right through the cork. They both burst out laughing. When he tried to reposition the knife, he ended up pushing what remained of the cork right into the bottle, splashing a bit of red wine around the rim. She wiped it with her finger, and held it out for him to taste.
“Perfect,” he smiled, “it’s ready!”
They drank their corky wine out of Guinness pint glasses, the only glasses he owned. They ate their pizza on the couch debating what movie to watch. To decide, they played along with the competitors on kid’s week on Jeopardy, keeping score to see who would get to choose the movie.
They were neck-in-neck by the last scene. The final Jeopardy question read, “This product’s website has stated, “helping imagination take shape for over 50 years!” & “fun to (use), not to eat””
“What is Easy-Bake Oven!” She shouted jumping up triumphantly. She did her signature victory dance.
“What?! You’re supposed to eat that stuff!” He laughed, knocking her back onto the couch with a pillow. “It’s Play-Doh.”
So he won. And he chose Indiana Jones. Their wine was long gone by now. She was enjoying the movie a lot more than she’d expected. Jones had just leapt onto a truck, when she suddenly became aware of how close his body was to hers. He gently brushed a strand of her hair off her cheek, and when he leaned in for a kiss, she forgot all about the movie. When he led her to his bedroom, she noted that his bed was neatly made, before they got in it.
Afterwards, she sat up to go the bathroom, but he pulled on her waist and pleaded in a soft, sleepy voice, “stay.”
She sank back into his chest, into the warmth of his sheets and fell asleep in his embrace, their heads sharing his only pillow.
The bright light shining through his curtainless windows woke her up the next morning. It took her a moment to realize where she was, or what had happened. She really hadn’t been expecting to spend the night. She felt good about it, until in the next moment, she realized she’d left her car parked in someone else’s parking spot all night!
She scrambled out of the bed, put her clothes back on, and slipped out of the room. He was still sound asleep, a sweet smile spread across his lips. She grabbed her keys and rushed to the elevator, all the way down to the parking lot.
A black car was parked dangerously close to hers, perpendicular with the wall, blocking her in. She noticed a yellow post-it note on her windshield that read only, “FUCK YOU!”
Shit. She hadn’t been expecting that. She walked back into the building and tracked down the building manager to ask for help locating the owner of the black car. She had to sheepishly explain that she’d accidentally parked in a tenant’s spot, and he was now blocking her in.
“You can’t do that,” the manager chastised her. “I’m surprised he didn’t have your car towed.”
They tried calling the tenant on the phone, but he didn’t answer. Eventually, the building manager gave her the black car’s apartment number, and she rode the elevator up to the 8th floor. She knocked softly on his door at first, but when there was no response, she knocked again a bit harder.
“Yeah?!” Called a gruff old man’s voice from inside his apartment.
“Hi!” She called through the door. “I’m really sorry about this, but I’m the person who par-“
“FUCK YOU!” He snarled, swinging open his door.
Inside my own apartment, I gasped at the vile insults he proceeded to hurl at her. I stood on my tiptoes to get a better view of the scene in the hallway through my peephole. I watched with interest, letting my imagination dictate who she was and how she came to be on the receiving end of some nasty words from the old man who lived across the hall from me.
“I’m really sorry,” she repeated for the third time. “It was a really bad decision. If you just come move your car, I’ll get it out of your way immediately.”
“No.” The man countered, adding before slamming the door in her face, “I’m not moving my car before I leave for work at 9pm tonight!”
“Okay, I understand,” she replied to the closed door. “Thank you for not having my car towed!”
She turned back to the elevator amazingly unperturbed. She headed right back to his apartment, two floors down, excited by the prospect of the fun things they could do to pass the next 12 hours until her car was free.