-Hey, Mike. It’s Thomas. What time are we going to meet Gary?
-I’m not Mike, and I don’t know who you are, Thomas. But I hope you find your answer, sorry!
-Oh, haha! Sorry!
That’s how it started. So simple. He was trying to meet up with friends. I imagined it was for something really fun. As I was stuck working overnights, this fantasy was the closest I’d gotten to a night out in months. I spent some time picturing what they’d do, how they’d laugh together. Then, disappointed that this was my escape, and bored with the job, I got back to work. I was sure I’d never hear from Thomas again.
I few weeks later, however:
-Hi. I don’t know who you are, but I’m drunk, and upset. Can I talk to you?
-I may? Thanks.
-No. I’m May. But also yes, you may.
-LOL. Thanks, May.
-What’s up, Thomas?
-Our friend Gary is in the hospital…
I talked with him all night. Beyond when my shift was over. Until the sun peeked over the horizon. Until both of our phones were threatened with battery death. He told me about Gary, how they’d been messing around and he’d gotten really hurt. He was in ICU, waiting for the swelling in his brain to go down. Thomas felt guilty, Mike was being distant. But that’s how Mike got in serious matters, so Thomas knew he wasn’t just being a jerk. I did what I could to ease his worry, and then did my best to distract him. When the conversation ended with goodnights, that was that.
But again, only a few days this time:
-May! He’s okay! He’s out of ICU, awake, and already joking!
Mike was there with them. The doctors were hopeful. I felt relief, even though I didn’t know Gary at all. I managed to convince a nurse at the hospital to give me Gary’s room number, and sent flowers. This time, I had hopes of hearing from Thomas again. I felt a bond with him. We’d talked about so much, even though it had only been a couple of conversations.
There was a sense of closeness. Sure enough, days later:
-Hi, May. Thanks for everything. Gary appreciated the flowers, and I found his confusion hilarious. Your mild stalking is adorable, too. Would you let me take you for coffee as thanks for everything?
I was nervous, but I said yes. I wanted to put a face to this whole thing. We set a day, a time, and how we would be able to identify one another. I spent the between time anxious. What if he was a complete douchebag? Or a murderer? What if the ordeal with Gary had been an elaborate lie? What would I wear? What if he never showed up? Or worse, if he did, but left without saying anything?
None of the bad stuff happened. Meeting him was great. Coffee turned into dinner, then a movie. Then another, actual date. And another. We are, in fact, about to be married. All due to a wrong number.