8-8-88 Are You Bob Royce?

(continuation from last week’s posting, 8-8-88: A Lapse of Sanity)

I had to cancel the blind date I had foolishly accepted. I sat at my desk and wondered if Jan Pyle had Bob Royce’s phone number. I called the Claims Department but Jan wasn’t at work. I tried to remember where Royce was employed but drew a total blank. There was no way out.

I pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant where I was scheduled to meet a total stranger. I was fifteen minutes early. Fifteen minutes can be an eternity when you foresee a catastrophe plowing straight toward you.

“I am meeting someone,” I told the hostess. I couldn’t describe him, but gave her his name.

Was it worth going to the ladies room and putting on fresh lipstick? Maybe combing my hair? Probably not, but I was nervous as a mob attorney facing her client’s guilty verdict. Killing ten minutes of wait-time justified primping.

I looked at myself in the mirror. My day had started at 6:30 a.m. and twelve hours later I was a few petals short of a fresh flower. Maybe the worst thing about meeting this man would be a look of disappointment if he expected a 10 and thought he’d gotten a 3.

My expectations were low, so he didn’t have to worry. Jan had described him as not bad looking for an older man. That was one step below he has a great personality, or he’s got a terrific sense of humor. All I had to do was be polite, not hurt his feelings, and get it over.

I tried to pump up my spirits. It was 8-8-88. The quadruple sign of infinity. Maybe that would count for something. Or did it mean that what headed my way was four times worse than any date I’d ever had?

I dug deep into my purse and pulled out breath mints, popped one in my mouth. There was only so much stalling I could do. I opened the ladies’ room door, took a deep breath and swallowed hard.

Not ten feet from the door was the unoccupied hostess station. Beside the podium stood a man that I thought was drop-dead gorgeous. Way out of my league. He had thick, raven-black hair and hazel eyes. He thrummed his fingers against his upper thigh which suggested he was as uncomfortable as I was. His smile—sweet, shy and at the same time sexy—hinted he was more kind than macho and didn’t even know how his looks might affect a woman.

I said a short prayer to whatever gods might be listening up there. “My dating past has been dastardly, but I’ll owe you one if that’s Bob Royce.”

I stepped over to the good-looking man. “You wouldn’t happen to be Bob Royce, would you?”

He nodded. Twenty nine years later, I still can’t believe the numbers aligned so perfectly.

(Next week: The Titanic’s Real Love Story)

 

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