Thursday, May 16, 2013
The parking lot is empty as it often is when I arrive. Unlocking the door, the silence is broken by the beeping of the alarm system. Number punched into the keypad and entered, I walk down the hallway and make the right turn down to my office. I’m the first one here…it seems I always am. I go to my desk and turn on the computer. It’s become the ritual. The computer always comes first.
I walk down the short hallway to the little kitchen and start the coffee. My shoes echo off the tiled floor as I turn and hurriedly walk back to my office. Sitting down, I click the icon for Explorer and wait for the window to open. The machine working too slow. Turning in my swivel office chair...waiting. Finally it opens and I move the cursor to the navigation pane and quickly type the url for my Yahoo account. It’s there! A message from John.
I can feel my heart rate quicken. My hands are almost shaking as I open the message. It had only been a day since I’d spent so many hours in his little chat room, just the two of us. I’d attended the final half-day of the conference. It has been a quick wrap up and very little of what had been discussed culminating round tables had been absorbed into my memory banks. My mind was still in that room talking in a way I’d never experienced before. Talking with a freedom…talking without fear of condemnation for the secrets thoughts I’d kept in the closets of my mind for so many years.
A smile crosses my face as I read his short message.
was awesome chatting last nite, we gotta do it again soon. seems like we have so much in common i’ll be on later tonite, hope we can hook up the room will be called the same
love ya bro
I stared at the words on the screen, reading them over and over. He enjoyed talking to me as much as I did. My mind wonders what it is that he thinks we have so much in common about. Remembering our chat, he had been so easy to talk to. That was uncommon for me. While very comfortable speaking publicly or to larger groups, talking one-on-one has always been difficult. I’d become a great listener but never shared a great deal about me. My small talk strategy was to use questions to keep them talking and reply to questions with short answers. But that night was different. The words seemed to be able to flow endlessly off my fingertips.
As I kept reading again, my heart began racing when I realized that he wanted to chat again tonight. But wait, his “tonite” was actually my “last night”. He’d written me the email yesterday afternoon while I was driving home from the conference with my wife Paula. We’d spent the hour and half talking about her family and the wheat harvest that was taking place in the central desert. She asked about the conference and I told her how good it was…how great the speakers were and how much our district team had accomplished. It was late afternoon by the time we got home and unloaded the Jeep so I didn’t go back to the office.
I started to panic! He had wanted to chat last night…expected to chat last night. I wasn’t there. I could feel the knot growing in my stomach. I’d let him down, this new friend that seemed to like me. Me. How long had he waited? Would he be there next time? Should I go and check right now to see if the chat room is there? No…it’s almost 7:00. What would I tell him? Will John turn out like all of the other guys that have been friends in my life that always left?
I hit the reply button and wrote him a short message back.
I’m sorry I wasn’t able to get to your chat room last night. I REALLY wanted to, but I was kind of in a little trouble at home. Actually, it’s probably not going to be very easy for me to chat that much. I really want to keep talking to you though.
I’ll try to look for you later.
The sound of voices in the kitchen interrupted my thoughts. My day was about to get started. I hit the sent button and closed the Yahoo account…and began to wait.