Story 3: Rock Paper Scissors

I get into my car and start playing “Many the Miles,” by Sara Bareilles because it was a 79 F on a Friday afternoon (and anything less than 73 F is just slightly too cool for me) and I love her and that song sounds like it feels now. Traffic is backed up again. Unusual for a Friday when I usually leave work, but it’s earlier than usual so I’m assuming all these people got out early for the weekend too.

After sitting in the garage the whole morning, my cool car was warmed up enough by the sun to open my windows. I start my Warm playlist, and “Paradise,” by Coasts starts. The breeze brushes my face, and the first verse is soothing. This is what the beach feels and sounds like in my head. I don’t play the song loud enough for other cars to be bothered by it; a lot of windows are open today, and I’m not here to compete.

So now that I’m settled in for the long haul home, I have time to figure out how to spend my afternoon, and then my weekend. Maybe I can stop by Guitar Center to noodle around — eh, I don’t want to get caught up the traffic later. Maybe I can go to Target to pick up some things — mm, I may not actually need anything. I skipped to the next song, “Waiting on the Summer” by VHS Collection. Maybe I can go to Half Price Books — yes, it’ll be nice and quiet in there, and I can find more bookmarks to write about. Yes, perfect, I’ll stop by there and maybe I’ll get Jamba Juice because it’s close by or maybe I’ll grab an Italian soda from the local cafe to support small business. And then maybe after-

And I pull up next to a car with its windows open. A more recent Toyota Corolla, dark grey, with Vermont plates. How did they get here? The driver is a girl with brown hair and she’s wearing some sort of flannel button up and she’s singing along and bopping to the music and the song… sounds familiar. It’s in the same key as the song I’m listening to right now. The singer sounds similar too. And he just sang the same hook? Um. It’s the same song. It’s the same song!

I am floored. Not only does she know about this artist and this song, she’s playing it at the same time. And not only is she playing it at the same time, she was singing along to it. What. Are. The. Chances.

“Hey!” I call loudly to her. And she looks over with a half smile, and she is beautiful.

“Yes?” she asks.

“Same song?” I ask, and she leans in to hear. I turn up my volume some.

“Same song!” she echoes back. This is starting to become something that only happens in movies or books, which made it feel special in its rarity. I try to remember all the details while it’s happening, there’s also this girl and driving that I need to worry about.

“I love this band,” I move, and I do love this band. We inch forward on the overpass.

“I absolutely love them!”

“Did you see them live when they were in SF?”

“Yeah! They weren’t headlining, but they were the main reason I went.” Holy shirt. “Did you go?”

“I did! For exactly the same reason,” I smile over. “I needed to see Oceans and You live.”

“Ugh, those songs are amazing!” And I look at her. I’m still smiling, but I don’t know what to say next. I sit there for a few moments looking at her and smiling because I can think of nothing better to do. She does the same thing. Whether it’s for the same reason or not, she does the same thing.

HONK. Oh fuck, there are cars. We both jump at the honk and look to each other and laugh.

We pull forward to sit in more traffic. I hold out a fist on top of my palm. “On three,” I call. One. Two. Rock. “Wow you got me.”

One. Two. Rock. “You just did the same thing!” She gasps.

“There’s no rule about that!”

“Fine, one more.” One. Two. Paper. “Eat it, loser!”

“Only because you asked so nicely,” I reply, and she laughs. Can I make her laugh forever? The chance to try is here. “Hey, do you want to get coffee?” I ask her as we pull forward to once again sit in traffic.

“It’s five in the afternoon.” She is still smiling. I take that as my sign that it is not a “no” so much as it is a “try again.”

“What about gelato?”

“I’ll follow you.”


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