The Day I Met Chris a.k.a “Jason”
Author’s Note: June 5, 2019
My office was the last room on the right down a short and narrow hallway in the Santa Barabara Sentinel building. Nothing special to others but to me, it was heaven. Across the way stood stacks of newspapers near a copy machine, which was always running. A water cooler sat in the kitchen, which shared a wall with me.
At the time I was an editor for the biweekly paper, which, two years earlier, was my first paid freelance writing gig. Later, it became the place I debuted my dating column, I Heart. I began using the pen name, “Elizabeth Rose” (who I still write as today) and dated and wrote with inhibitions nowhere in sight. At least on the page.
As it turns out, it caught a beginning.
My now fiancé Chris – known as “Jason” in the column – and I met in those offices in August of 2015, and that’s where this story begins. That day, I wrote a ton for the next issue and had just sat down to finish my next I Heart column, How To Keep A Lover about an Argentinian fellow I had recently met.
First published as, “Meet Cute” in the Santa Barbara Sentinel. November 2015.
I was in my office, tapping on the keyboard not nearly as fast as my mind was racing when I heard someone enter the doors of the Santa Barbara Sentinel.
Voices in the front room were nothing new. People came by all the time.
But my ears piqued when I heard footsteps down the hall.
Before I knew it, a male’s voice rose from behind.
“Are you Elizabeth?”
I turned around to find a strikingly handsome man (read: the hottest dude I’ve ever seen in real life) standing in my doorway.
My eyes widened as I stood up to greet him.
“Why, yes. I’m Elizabeth.”
Hell yes, I’m whoever you want me to be!
He stopped by the office to see his friend/the publisher of the paper who he’s known since pre-school. But since his friend/the publisher was running an errand, this fine young gentleman was killin’ some time talkin’ to me.
Kill all the time you want. Is that door frame you’re leaning on comfortable?
I tried to pay attention to our conversation, but I was too busy checking him out to make sense of the words coming from his mouth.
I just stayed focused. Pumping myself up to flirt with a man who, a year earlier, I didn’t have the confidence to. But the I Heart column pushed me into the dating scene, whether I wanted to or not. And after a year of dating and writing about men from all ages and walks of life, I was ready for the big guns.
His name and the only thing I caught during our few minutes of conversation. Afterward, Jason left to wait outside.
I tried to focus back on the article but kept thinking of a way for us to connect again. But he had left, and I wasn’t going to run after him.
I had a deadline, after all.
Five minutes later, his friend/the publisher came back to say he’s leaving for the day. He hadn’t seen Jason in years. Bro, time was needed.
“No problem,” I said. “Well…have fun with your super–cute friend!”
“You should ask him out! He would totally say yes,” he said as he turned to leave. “But he’s leaving tomorrow, so…”
“Ok,” I said, lifting my hand to no one. “Thanks for the green light anyway!”
Ok, where was I…
I finished the column then packed up for the day, hoping Jason might still be outside. But, I shrugged as I took one last look around before getting into in my car. Guess it wasn’t meant to be.
But as soon as I pulled out of the parking lot, I noticed two figures walking toward me.
It’s him! Holy shit!
My hands shook as I rolled down the window.
Me: “Hi, again! It was so nice to meet you.”
Be cool. Be cool…
Jason: “It was great to meet you, too!”
His friend/the publisher walks away. Thankfully.
“I heard you’re leaving tomorrow?”
“No, actually I’ll be here for several more days.”
Ask him out! Just do it!
“Really? So, would you like to go to lunch sometime before you leave?”
“Great! I’ll get your number and give you a shout.”
I gave my best flirty-yet-casual wave and drove away with a stupid grin on my face.
I was proud I asked him out. Why wait for the guy? (Ok, yes, I admit it’s easier when the friend gives you the green light AND you have a deadline.)
But, I figured if he’d said no or the date were a total bust, I’d still win: a good story for the next column, plus he was returning home to Washington in a few days never to be seen again. No. Pressure.
Little did I know, it wasn’t going to be that easy.