The path to love in 1962 and the path to love in 2016 are very different paths. This story is about Justin and Amber's path in the year 2016. I hope you enjoy.
Justin and Amber met one Saturday night at a club in downtown Los Angeles. Justin arrived to the club with a few old college buddies, while Amber arrived with a couple of her coworkers. They both made their way to the bar area and ordered their respective drinks. Justin ordered a round of IPAs, Amber ordered a round of vodka cranberries.
The bartender hands Amber four IPAs and hands Justin three vodka cranberries, they both look down at their drinks in confusion. Justin and Amber then notice their drinks in the wrong hands and laugh. Amber turns to Justin and says, "This round is on me," pays the bartender, gathers her three vodka cranberries, and makes her way back to her coworkers. Justin grabs his beers and makes his way back to his college buddies.
After Justin and his buddies finish their drinks, they are ready for round two. Justin volunteers to go and buy them, but first he wants to find the mystery woman who bought their first round. He walks around the club, around the dance floor, and around all of the tables. Finally, he spots her. He makes his way up to the table, confidently nervous.
He reaches the table and asks with a smile, "You girls ready for a second round?" Amber's coworkers look up at Justin confused, but Amber responds with a smile of her own. "Three more vodka cranberries."
"You got it."
Justin, with a little more pep in his step, makes his way to the bar. He joyfully pulls out his credit card, orders four more beers and three more vodka cranberries, and gives the bartender a generous tip. He reaches for a nearby napkin and, using the pen he was given to sign the receipt, writes down: "I'll be on the dance floor waiting for you."
He walks back to the girls, hands them their three fresh drinks, and slides the napkin over to Amber. He then returns back to his table and enjoys this beer even more than he enjoyed the first. He drinks it with a sense of urgency, ready to make his way to the dance floor, hoping that she will be waiting for him with an eagerness as large as his own.
Amber's glass has only a tiny sip left, while her two coworkers have barely taken one small sip of their own. One of her coworkers, noticing Amber's anxious tapping fingers, comments, "You're thirsty, aren't you?"
"Yup," Amber says through her last sip of vodka cranberry, "So who wants to dance? I want to dance. I need to dance."
"Okay, okay. Let us finish these drinks real quick." They slowly sip their remaining vodka cranberries. Amber grows impatient and helps the slower coworker by grabbing her glass and chugging the remaining juice.
"Okay, let's go."
The dance floor is large and crowded. Justin and his buddies stand in the middle of it all. His buddies scope the floor for tonight's hunt, while Justin searches the dance floor for Amber with a racing heart. Finally, he spots her briskly walking through the dance floor with her coworkers following slowly behind. Her head, like an owl, looks in all directions for her mystery man.
Their eyes finally meet.
A spotlight doesn't turn on out of nowhere and shine upon them as they walk up to each other. The music doesn't suddenly switch from EDM to slow jams. The crowded floor doesn't part a perfect path for the two to walk. None of that cheesy, romantic movies, Hollywood effects take place that night. Rather, the opposite. The floor remains crowded with grimy, grinding bodies. The lyrics of rough sex and twerking fill the air so loudly that you can't help but hear them. They bump into sweaty, thrusting bodies as they squeeze their ways toward each other. And yet, the moment is perfect.
They shake hands and yell their introductions.
"My name is Justin!"
"It's nice to meet you!"
"I said, it's nice to meet you!"
"Never mind! Want to dance?"
They dance the night away. They watch as each one of their friends meet, grind, and leave with their night's conquest. They watch as the DJ fist pumps to his own mix of music. They watch as the club slowly dies down. They watch as the club lights turn on. They watch as the sadness of the night ending enters into each other's eyes. They watch as they enter each other's numbers into their phones. They watch as they get into their separate Uber's home. They watch as the butterflies within flutter a little faster, a little harder. They watch as their smiles remain throughout the rest of the night. And they watch as the smile has remained the next morning.
It's Monday morning and Amber has still not heard from Justin. She checks her phone every five minutes. She turns her phone's WiFi off. She resets her phone a couple of times. She texts herself to see if her texts are going through. They are. But still no text from Justin.
It's Monday afternoon and Justin stares down at his phone. He has his texting app open and has drafted out yet another text to send to Amber. "Hey Amber! It's Justin from Saturday night! How's it going? 😄" He stares down at the text, as the smiling emoji stares deeply into his soul. He backspaces the entire text and stares down at the blinking cursor. It mocks him. It laughs at him. It taunts him. He closes the messaging app and throws his phone onto the couch across his room.
It's Monday night. Amber is out eating dinner with her mother. She goes on and on about how much she wants a grand daughter, and considering Amber is her only child, the pressure is really on her to provide her mother with one. Amber, having heard this same spiel hundreds of times, stares down at her phone. Still nothing.
It's Tuesday morning. Justin lies in bed with eyes wide open. He didn't sleep at all the night before. He stares at his phone, his messaging app again open. The same damn blinking cursor stares him again in the eyes. Questioning everything Justin once believed about himself. "Just text something you idiot. Anything! Just text her!" The cursor screams out at Justin. Justin stares back, speechless. "You've got nothing to say to me? Shocker! Looks like you have nothing to say to Amber either, do you? Either text her... or delete her number. Pansy."
It's Tuesday afternoon. Amber sits at her cubicle, working away. She works on a big project, possibly the biggest of her career, yet the only thing running through her mind is, "Why hasn't he texted me? Did he lose my number? It's possible that it didn't save properly when I typed it in. Should I text him first? Would that make me appear desperate? I thought we had a good night, maybe he didn't think so. Should I have gone home with him that night? Maybe that's why he won't text me. I thought I was more than just a one night fling for him. This is what I get for believing in love. What was I thinking? It's 2016...love is dead."
It's Tuesday evening. Justin sits at home with a large box of pizza. In his grease covered fingers he holds his phone. In the other hand he holds a slice of pizza. He takes a bite as he stares at his empty text screen. He thinks, "What is wrong with me? Why am I such a pussy? Just text her, you idiot! What's the worst that could happen? She doesn't text back, that's it. That's not even a big deal! Okay, yes, this girl is perfect, so what. There are plenty of fish in the sea. Just say something simple at this point... But don't girls want clever? What if I send something I think is clever and she thinks it's dumb. Dammit, Justin, just send her something! Anything! If you don't send her something tonight then it is over. Just man up and text her."
It's Tuesday night. Amber has decided that if she doesn't receive a text from him by the end of the night then it is over. It's okay, there are plenty of fish in the sea. She is a beautiful woman, she'll find another. She's sure of it... She's sure of it... She's sure of it... She's not so sure of it... She's losing hope. She's losing faith. She's losing-- Her phone goes off. She quickly grabs it and sees it's a text from Justin.
She smiles large. She let's out a giddy laugh. She waits 11 hours and texts back.