A crash and some coffee
Samantha walked along a busy street lined with shops and storefronts, deep in thought and quietly humming a tune. Bundled up in her winter coat with half her face hidden behind her hat and scarf, she kept her head down to protect herself from the cold wind. Despite the tall buildings in this part of the downtown core, she could still feel the icy breeze whip around corners and slice into the exposed skin on her face.
The weather this time of year was miserable. Ice and snow covered the entire street. She couldn’t wait to get back home, put her shopping away, and curl up on the couch.
Determined to make it back to her car quickly, she kept walking as fast as she thought was safe in these dire conditions. She lifted her head every once in a while to avoid other people going in the opposite direction and to keep an eye out for turning traffic at the intersection.
When it’s cold and uncomfortable outside, everyone is distracted, she thought as she waited for the light to change at the next crosswalk.
Once she crossed the street, she passed a large hotel on her right and noticed the foot traffic in front of the main doors was quite crowded. She briefly wondered what was going on. She assumed it must be some fans bracing the weather to catch a glimpse of some celebrities, but she kept walking.
Just past the big hotel, she suddenly stopped for a moment to pay closer attention to the road beneath her boots. It was particularly icy in this area, and not well cleared. Piles of road salt were evident in spots, inefficiently spread across the sidewalk, often missing entire puddles of black ice.
Samantha kept her eyes cast downward as she continued walking. Carefully, she concentrated on avoiding the icy patches by stepping around them when suddenly, a shape crashed into her and sent her flying into a frozen snowbank.
“I’m so sorry,” a man dressed in a dark coat and hat said to her, and held out his hand to help her up. “I wasn’t paying attention where I was going. Are you alright?”
Samantha, still sitting on the ground, looked up at him. Who would walk that fast in these horrid conditions?
The man moved himself directly in front of her and extended his hand out again. He seemed to search her face for a sign to see if she was hurt.
Without saying a word, Samantha finally took his hand and let him help her get back up. She adjusted her hat and scarf, and wiped some of the snow and salt off her coat. Then, she looked more carefully at the man in front of her.
He was dressed similarly as her, but his face wasn’t hidden behind a scarf like hers was. Plus, he looked vaguely familiar, she thought. Samantha wracked her brain and tried to place him, but was momentarily confused.
Then it hit her. She saw his face plastered on posters and advertisements all over the city recently.
He’s a singer and part of a band who were in town performing a concert.
She recalled his name was Adam.
“You ok?” the man said again. “I’m really sorry.”
“I’m fine,” Samantha responded. “You look familiar somehow. Are you Adam?”
“Yes,” he said and introduced himself. “I performed here a couple of nights ago, we’re just heading out to a neighboring town for our next performance.”
“Oh,” Samantha said. For a moment, she was at a loss for words. Did she just collide with a celebrity?
She stared at him, but when he didn’t say anything else, she decided to speak again.
“I like your music, I listed to it back in high school.”
Adam smiled knowingly and took Samantha’s arm.
“Let’s go into this coffee shop and warm up,” he suggested, pointing to a storefront a few steps away. “I’ll buy you a coffee. Least I can do for making you fall.”
Samantha hesitated but then agreed. She did fall into a frozen snowbank and wanted to collect herself, and maybe check for rips in her clothes.
They went into the shop and found an empty table at the back, away from the windows and apart from other patrons.
Samantha noticed Adam had pulled his hat way down as far as he could and buried his face in his scarf when they entered the coffee shop.
He probably doesn’t want to be recognized, she presumed and sat down at the table he led her to.
“How do you like your coffee?” He asked her and went off to get the order after she answered him.
I wonder if someone will recognize him, Samantha pondered as she inspected her legs. No rips in her jeans, just a few salt stains which she tried to brush off. She figured she’ll probably end up with some bruises tomorrow.
While she waited for Adam to return with her coffee, she wondered about his music. His songs had been in her head, which is why she had been humming one just before he crashed into her. She realized why the radio stations had been playing a lot of his music lately; it made sense now that she knew he was in town giving a concert.
Samantha remembered when he first got famous, back when she was still a girl in high school over two decades ago. He had some really big hits back then, some of which still played regularly on the radio today.
She marveled that after all these years, he was still touring with the band, performing the favorites from decades ago. And, based on what’s been said in the reviews, he’s still selling out all the halls and arenas.
Samantha pondered what it must be like for Adam, to be famous for most of his life, to keep playing his songs loved by so many for so long.
Middle age must be good for him, she decided. He’s still singing, still composing, still touring.
Samantha suspected he must be well into his 50s by now.
Her thoughts returned to Adam’s songs. Which one was her favorite? She could think of a few she really liked.
Adam finally came back with coffee and some donuts.
“I hope these are alright,” he said and unpacked a small assortment of sweet treats.
“Looks good to me,” Samantha said. “Thank you.”
They sat at the table together and drank their coffees in silence. Samantha watched Adam’s face for a sign of impatience. Famous guy like him probably doesn’t have time to wile away with complete strangers in random coffee shops, especially not during tours, she thought while smiling at him.
But he seemed relaxed, and they started chatting a little.
“I’m supposed to save my voice,” he told her. “Singing for decades can do a number on your vocal cords.”
Samantha nodded in understanding and told him it was ok. “I’ll talk a bit,” she said. “You listen. What would you like to know?”
They had a pleasant time getting to know one another a little, sitting in a local coffee shop in the middle of the day.
He is so easygoing, down to earth, for being so famous, Samantha smiled to herself. Just a nice guy.
When they finished their coffees, Adam offered to give her a lift home.
“It’s ok,” Samantha said. “I’m parked nearby. You go rest your voice.”
Adam hesitated for a moment and then asked her a question.
“Would you like to meet again sometime?” he asked her. “I enjoyed talking to you.”
Samantha looked at him.
“I’m not sure…” she said. Was he asking her out?
She stared at him wondering what to do next. He didn’t seem pushy or impatient, she noticed, and ultimately decided to go with her gut instinct.
“How about we exchange numbers?” she suggested, hoping she sounded polite and not intrusive.
Adam looked at her and dug his phone out of his coat pocket.
“I’m performing tomorrow night in St. Catherine’s,” he said. “Would you like to come to the concert? I can give you some tickets, for you and your family or friends.”
Samantha hesitated again. She didn’t know how to respond at first.
“I’m on my own right now, but that’s nice of you to offer,” she said, keeping is as neutral as she could. She didn’t want to give away that she usually spent weekends alone at home with a movie, and a glass of wine.
Adam smiled at her encouragingly as Samantha took her phone out of her bag. They exchanged numbers and stood looking at each other for a moment. Then, Adam reached out to give her a hug after reassuring himself again that she was alright. She responded by hugging him back and despite the heavy winter coats, she liked how warm and inviting it felt to be embraced by this famous man. When Adam released her, he gave her one more smile, promised to connect with her later about the tickets, and then he was gone.
Samantha walked slowly back to her car, replaying the entire scenario in her head. It felt so surreal, and if it wasn’t for the sugary taste in her mouth, leftover from the donuts she ate with the coffee he bought her, she would have thought she had fantasized the entire thing.
Feeling giddy, she chastised herself. Nothing will come of this, she told herself. She didn’t want to get her hopes up looking forward to something, not really knowing if this famous man was going to follow through with the promise of concert tickets.
When Samantha arrived at her car and got herself settled, she saw a glimpse of her reflection in the rear-view mirror. For the first time in a long while, she noticed a twinkle in her eyes and a smile on her face.
To be continued – Chapter 2
For a list of all chapters, click here.
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