On Sunday morning, the last day of our camping trip, Flynn and I scrubbed pots and pans together while the rest of the group took down tents, gathered trash bags and generally packed up the campsite.
In making conversation, Flynn asked me where I work. When I named the major oil company where I’ve been employed for the past five years, his hands stilled, and he stared at me.
“What?” I asked, dumbfounded by his intent expression.
“Which campus do you work at?”
There are four locations in our city. “The West campus,” I answered cautiously, wondering why he asked but laughing internally at the irony I figured was about to be revealed.
I smiled. “I’m in Building F. The fifth floor.”
We stared at each other for a moment and then started laughing. We went the entire weekend without realizing that we work in office buildings next to each other on the same corporate campus!
When I got home that night, I told myself not to get my hopes up. I told myself not to manipulate the situation. I know Flynn’s last name, and I could easily look him up in our global address book or the office instant messaging system. He actually needs help from my department for a project he’s working on, so I have a legitimate business reason to reach out to him. But I told myself to be good. Flynn already has a girlfriend.
Tuesday was Veteran’s Day, and our office was having a special event to honor the occasion. It involved brunch with a flag ceremony and keynote speaker, and – coming from a military family and having tremendous respect for our veterans – I planned to attend. It might have crossed my mind that a certain former Army Ranger might also be in attendance. But I might also have chided myself for thinking such a thing. And then reminded myself that there are thousands of people on our campus, and surely hundreds would be in attendance. There was no way Flynn and I would run into each other.
Nevertheless, I might possibly perhaps have made a special effort to look extra nice that morning, and I might possibly perhaps have experienced mild or not-so-mild road rage at the mind-blowing amount of traffic on the roads that morning keeping me from getting to the event on time.
When I finally pulled into a parking space, it was already 8:10 a.m., and the event had started at 8:00. It being a military event, I wasn’t sure if I should still bother trying to make it, since punctuality is key in military circles, and lack of punctuality is a sign of disrespect. So I was power walking through the garage toward the elevators, trying to make up my mind about whether or not I should make an appearance, when I heard a deep masculine voice call out, “Aurora!”
A black pickup truck had just rolled past me with the windows down and an elbow hanging out of the driver side window. The driver stopped suddenly, and a head appeared above the elbow and turned to look back at me. Flynn.
He smiled and waved. I couldn’t help but smile back. I waited for him to park; then we walked toward the main campus together in amiable companionship. “I’m surprised you recognized me with makeup on!” I joked with a wink. When we parted ways, Flynn asked me what time I normally eat lunch and suggested that we look for each other in the cafeteria.
I had been rushing to the event in the hopes of seeing him, but I was running late due to traffic, and it turned out that very traffic I had been cursing resulted in my arriving at the same time as Flynn. On the same floor. Of the same one of our campus’s five parking garages.
Coincidence? I think not.