“What the hell was I thinking?” said Lisa to herself.
She agreed to stay with her aunt who lived in a little town far away from public. Her aunt lived alone in a peaceful house surrounded by greenery and flowers. There were neighbors, mostly old couples. Married off their kids and now trying to live a peaceful life themselves. So there was not much noise around. Maybe on holidays when kids decide to visit with their kids but not for now. It was a nice place to live. Imagine the peace and beauty of nature all around you. But this was not exactly what Lisa was looking forward to.
Lisa wanted a break from her busy routine of work. She was a 25 years old wedding planner. She loved her job, she loved the planning, crafting and in the end seeing the happy couple satisfied and off to start their new life. But then her aunt made her realized that she needed to take a break. She must have some time off, meet some people out of business world and have a little fun. Lisa really wanted that she just did not realize it. So, her aunt invited her at her own place. And what is best than a peaceful place away from all the fuss of life.
But it has only been three days and Lisa felt like it was way too peaceful for her. There was hardly a soul around. And her aunt spent most of her time in her art studio. She has to make a living too. Lisa was not used to this much lack of people. And she was looking forward to meeting someone ‘special’ but there was hardly anyone around.
“What the hell was I thinking?” Lisa kicked the space as she was walking through the park. Suddenly she saw a figure on her right. Because of the trees she was not able to make out who that person was. Her curiosity got the best of her and she moved forward to find out. It was a person, a guy, and not an old one. He must be somewhere around her age and kind of cute too. As he was the first guy she had seen since her arrival, who was in her age circle, Lisa decided to have a little talk.
She took few steps towards him and stopped. What was she going to say?
“I had planned hundreds of weddings, have arranged hundreds of meetings, have told people what to say and when to say, I had even written the best man speeches but I can’t talk to a man for myself!!! Arghhh!!!”
Lisa kicked again in frustration but this time her foot hit a rock.
One look at the man and one look at herself, Lisa decided to turn back.
The next morning, after breakfast, Lisa was just strolling around the house as there was not much more to do. Her aunt was busy in her art studio. Lisa was not really in the mood of crafting so she just decided to FINALLY inspect the house. As she was going around the house, Lisa saw a red collar with a name tag Max along with a red leash attached to it but she hadn’t seen any dog around the house. Neither her aunt is a kind of person who has time for pets. So Lisa decided to ask her aunt about it.
Her aunt was busy in her work, concentrating so hard that she did not hear her the first time.
“Aunt Ellie?” Lisa called much louder this time.
“Huh?” Aunt Ellie turned around and gave Lisa one of her sweetest smile. “Did you say something, sweetie?”
“Yeah, well I wanted to ask you about this collar. You don’t seem like a pet person to me.”
“And I am not dearie. You know I collect things. This is another one of those things.”
The rest of the day was kind of slow. She had a crazy idea but she wasn’t sure about it. She did a little over thinking. Even at dinner her mind was elsewhere. Her aunt saw that. After dinner and cleaning, her aunt sat her down and asked her about it.
“What’s cooking in your head, sweetie?”
Lisa gave her a sad, hopeless look and it all came out. Lisa told her about the guy, about her hesitation, her frustration and her crazy idea.
Aunt Ellie smiled and said, “Wow kid, you are a mess.”
“So what you think? Should I go for it?”
“What can I say? If your heart says go for it then go for it. And anyway what worst could happen?” Aunt Ellie winked.
“I could make a complete fool of myself.”
“It will be better than sitting here and doing nothing.”
“Go have some fun. Make the best of your time.”
“Thanks Aunt Ellie. I love you.” Lisa smiled and gave her aunt a warm hug before going to bed.
“Love you too, sweetie.”
Next morning, Lisa had a late breakfast and after that she went out for a walk in the park along with the dog collar and the leash. Her aunt wished her luck before leaving. Lisa thought she needed that…a lot of it. As she was strolling in the park, she started looking for that guy, hoping he was around. She was about to lose hope when she saw him, sitting with his back to the tree and his mind lost in a book. Lisa was about 15 feet away from him. As the guy seemed lost in his book, Lisa decided to put her crazy idea into action at that point. She breathe in and out once, twice, thrice and then finally started calling for Max (the invisible dog).
“Max! Here boy! Where are you?”
While calling, she slowly inched towards the guy. He was still lost in his book world. He did not even look up on her voice. So, Lisa moved a little closer and addressed him directly.
“Excuse me? Um. I am looking for my dog….and…I have lost him….um….have you seen him?”
The guy just looked at her as if she has just spoken in Spanish. Lisa lost her confidence there.
“It was stupid. I am sorry for bothering you. Have a good day. Bye.” Lisa turned on her heels to walk away. But she hardly walked away five steps, when the guy called out.
“Hey! Stop! Listen I am really sorry. I was so lost in my book. It takes a while to adjust to the reality.” He smiled.
“I was asking that have you seen a dog?”
“I have seen lots of dogs.”
“No, I mean have you seen a…..um….I haven’t thought this through.”
“I mean have you seen a big…um…black…yeah that’s about it. Have you seen a big black dog…around…. I lost it.”
“It seems to me like you don’t know much about how your dog looks.” The guy said it with a silly smile on his face.
Lisa thought to herself: “He is on to me. I am busted.” She was still figuring out what to say or what to do next when the guy offered her, his hand.
“I am Zack.”
Looking from his face to his hand, she nervously took his hand. gave a little shake and quickly pulled away.
“Nice to meet you, Lisa.” He had that silly smile on his face again.
“Ah well…then I should continue my search for…Max…you know my dog…anyway bye.” As Lisa turned to go, Zack stopped her again.
“Hey wait, would you mind if I give you some company while you search for you dog.”
“Not at all.” Lisa tried to keep her cool but she was bouncing with excitement in her mind.
They looked around for hours but no Max. Of course you cannot find something which does not exist or at least not anymore. They also talked, shared some stuff. She told him about herself, her job. And he told her that he was a contractor and he was here to take a break from his busy routine back home. They talked, they laughed. They were having a good time and for a moment Lisa forgot all about Max and the dog collar.
There was a moment of silence. Suddenly Zack said, “Why don’t you whistle for him?”
“Your dog. You lost your dog. Remember?”
“Oh yes, sorry I…I am so worried that sometimes I space out.” Lisa patted herself on making such a good excuse.
“Don’t worry we will find him.”
He had such a reassuring smile. He was being so cooperative. Lisa felt bad about lying to him. But there seemed no way out without making herself a fool of herself more than she already had. So, she just gave him a sad smile and said, “It is getting late. Let’s continue this after lunch.”
“Ah. Do you want to inform the police?”
Zack raised his hands. “Okay, relax. Calm down. We won’t go to the police.”
“No. No. I am sorry. I can’t do this. I am sorry for wasting your time. I have to go.”
“Wait! What happened? I don’t understand.”
Lisa bit her lower lip and managed to say, “Listen Zack…..” But that was it. She was having trouble explaining her crazy idea in a normal way.
“I am listening.” Zack had a blank look on his face. Lisa wasn’t sure that whether he was just toying with her or he really had no idea about the situation. But Lisa was sure about one thing, she cannot do this lying thing anymore. She hadn’t plan a plot and she had no idea where this will go. It was just so tiring. So she decided to end this.
“Listen Zack, I…there is no….Oh God! What a mess I got myself into.”
“Quite a mess.” Zack had the silly smile on him again.
“You tell me.” Now his smile was getting irritating.
“You knew? You knew from the beginning!”
“You are not really a good liar.”
“I know.” Lisa felt drained. “Well, goodbye then….forever.”
“Why? Do you really want to see this crazy lady again.”
“Yeah, I kind of liked this crazy lady. And I would like to know her more.”
Lisa stood there as if in shock.
“Well? Will we meet again?
Lisa gave him her sweetest smile. “Sure. Tomorrow?”
“I thought we were meeting after lunch.”
“You are funny. Okay see you after lunch.”
“Minus the dog.” Zack gave her his charming silly smile and waved her goodbye.
Lisa looked at the dog collar in her hand and couldn’t help laughing. “This is going to be a one hell of a memorable first meeting.”
When she reached home, her aunt was watering the plants. She looked up and saw Lisa blushing.
“Had a good time?”
“Oh no, no, no. Not like this. I need all the details. Let’s go inside and you tell me everything, okay?”
Together they walked into the house, shut the door behind them and opened their hearts for new beginnings.