“Do you want to still go to Applebee’s?” Kris asked. “It’s closer to dinner than lunch now.”
I glanced around the orange-themed Advance Auto Parts store for the hundredth time that day. I was bored of my location, but not of my company. We had been walking the aisles looking at random car parts for several hours and talking about everything you usually would on a second date, just in an unusual location. I drank a Coke we bought at the register while Kris, who had gone to the University of Northern Ohio for high-performance motors and had raced cars at the local track since he was 12, tried to explain all the car parts to me, a total non-gearhead. The only car parts I had an understanding of were those cute steering wheel covers with butterflies on them, but Kris didn’t think they were safe.
“What if the fabric shifts when you are trying to turn a corner?” he had asked. “The butterflies will be less cute then.”
Our unfortunate experiences at the intersection that day made his suggestion sink in. I didn’t really want a steering wheel cover after all. I was just thankful to be safe and glad to be spending some more time with Kris who I was liking more and more.
Now we were just loitering by a display, reflecting on all that had happened that day, while I played with my pink mittens. “What if we went to Lucky’s for food?” I suggested, gesturing to the neon yellow sign on the stereotypical family restaurant across the street. “It certainly was a lucky day for us!”
The light had been green as we approached the slushy intersection headed to lunch from the movies. “Hey! What’s that guy doing?” I had shouted in fear.
Kris swerved, but the black car had still run the red light and crunched into our right-rear tire giving me and Kris a jolt. Kris’ first words were ones of concern, “Are you okay?”
It took me a while to catch my breath and calm down, but I was okay, and so was everyone else. Kris gingerly pulled into the Advance Auto Parts parking lot and immediately took control of the situation. Now we were just awaiting a tow-truck.
“Let’s flip a coin,” Kris said. He rifled through his pockets briefly. “Oh yeah, all my change is in the car. Well, we can flip this (random car part that I can’t remember) instead.”
“Okay! Heads is the top of the package – that can be Lucky’s. Tails is the bottom of the package for Applebees.” Kris flipped the object. I glanced at the salesperson leaning against the counter, but they didn’t seem to mind us throwing this on the ground. They also didn’t mind when we had acted as greeters to their store an hour earlier when we were trying to pass the time. “Welcome to Advanced Auto Parts,” I had proclaimed with each new customer. The salesperson just smiled at us. Kris and I were being ridiculous, but the customers gave us big smiles.
A year later we would return to the store to buy another random car part that I can’t remember. We would be a few days away from getting married and tell the salesperson at the counter our story. “Your wedding date is on my birthday,” she would say.
The car part landed package side up. “Lucky’s!” I exclaimed. “This really does make for a good story.”
“You know, this is my first accident ever,” said Kris. “I’m so glad you pointed the car out to me. I can’t believe I didn’t see it.”
I smiled at him. “We make a good team.”
Disclaimer: I don’t just sit around writing personal narratives for myself. I model them for my students.