You’re out and about and you get hungry. Wanting to grab a bite to eat, you go through the drive-thru. You order and then wait for the cars in front of you to get their food. One by one they all pull forward, until finally, it’s your turn to pay. You gladly receive your own food and drive off. It’s something we all do, and probably something that’s done a lot more than we’d care to admit.
But, have you ever stopped to think what might have happened just before you got there? Or what might happen after you leave? Or what you might have seen had you’d gone through the line earlier in the day?
I think it’s almost as if parking lots have their own chronicles- they hold the stories of so many people every single day- that go unseen but for the few that are entwined within them.
For some reason, I tend to hit the parking lots right as a lot of these stories unfold. Some are blatantly obvious in their telling, while others are often left to my own imagination to interpret them. So, I thought it might be interesting to keep a small diary- of sorts- of the things and happenings I come across in the way I imagine the parking lot would see it. For the first entry, I figured I’d go the classic lovers route. This is something I saw take place a little while ago:
Today was a particularly busy day- Saturdays usually are. Everyone was so busy, quickly going about their business, their shoes making brisk strides across my surface and never once stopping or slowing along their way. Everyone, that is, except for one.
She was sitting alone in a large truck. She was parked off and away at the far end of me. It was just the young woman in her truck with my empty parking spaces all around her as her only company.
It wasn’t really that she was all alone, in the loneliest place I had to offer, that caught my attention. It was the fact that she was hunched over in the driver’s seat, her hair falling down around her small hands that were covering her face. I got the feeling something was wrong.
A smaller car slowly pulled into the empty space on the other side of her truck. The woman looked up, almost as if she could feel the car pulling up next to her before she even saw it. One look at the lone, handsome older man parking beside her, and she quickly brushed her hair back with her hands, glancing in the mirror at her reflection and straightening her makeup. She hesitated for the briefest second before she climbed out of her truck and went around to the other side to meet the man.
She quickly went to him, and he tentatively embraced her. She pulled away, ever so slightly, spoke a few quiet words and then kissed him. They passionately kissed for several moments before he finally broke the kiss. The young woman glanced down at her shoes and took a step back.
The man watched her, as he leaned against his driver’s side door and crossed his arms. He began speaking- his words too soft for me to hear. His face grew sad as he spoke, but yet, he held a mask of hard, unwavering determination over it.
Several times, the young woman dabbed at her eyes with her hands, but she quietly listened to him, never once interrupting. When he finished speaking, the young woman said a few words, herself. I couldn’t understand her, but I could see she was crying.
He said something in return, and suddenly, she flew into his arms, kissing him with a desperation that hadn’t been there before. After a few more moments, he pulled away. She dabbed at her eyes again, but held on to him in a tight embrace, until he broke the embrace just as he had their kiss.
He spoke one last time before he finally turned and got into his car. I watched as the older man drove off, never once looking back at the young woman who stood, heartbroken, watching him drive further and further away. As he turned, out of the young woman’s sight, she slowly went back around her truck and got in the driver’s seat, firmly shutting the door. She immediately began sobbing, her face in her hands, just as she’d done before.
I could almost feel her sadness, as if it were a physical thing. If only I had a voice, I would’ve comforted her! But, alas, I do not.
Instead, I resigned myself to silently waiting and watching.
Slowly, she began to pull herself together. She reached for her phone, dialed, and held it up to her ear. She spoke a few words before she started her truck and strapped on her seat belt.
I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d ever see her again- perhaps in a happier time for her- as the young woman drove off, noticeably, in the opposite direction as the man.