Before coming to England, I called my brother and told him he should find me a date and we should all go out together while I was there visiting. He mentioned the name of a woman that I had become slightly acquainted with seven years earlier. She was an incredibly gorgeous and fun girl, so I told him heck yeah… why are you still talking to me… go set it up!
I was friends on Facebook with this girl, so I went to Facebook stalk her look her up and see just what I was getting myself into. She still looked like a person who was in love with life. She was still gorgeous. My brother was officially on my good list.
A few days after arriving here to England, she called my sister-in-law (one of her best friends) and invited us all to go pick strawberries with her. We were already planning to do it, so we all decided it would be fun to do together. This is perfect, I thought. I can get to know her a little better before our date.
Strawberry picking was fun, but we all drove in separate cars, and once there, Noah and the strawberries ended up getting almost all of my attention. I found a few moments here and there to talk to this girl, but nowhere near as much as I was secretly hoping. So is the life of a single parent.
After picking strawberries, we all settled on a night that would work for our little date, and she headed out. I couldn’t help but look forward to seeing her again.
As fate would have it, that would happen a few hours sooner than I anticipated, and the timing wasn’t great.
Noah and I had run out of clean clothes, so I was lounging around (unshowered) in my brother’s sweat pants and a baggy t-shirt while I did laundry. It was shortly into the afternoon when my brother and his wife got a call that required them to leave immediately. The kids were upstairs sleeping, so I continued doing whatever it was that I was doing. Happy that by the time I saw her that evening I wouldn’t stink, wouldn’t be dirty, and would have clean, nice clothes.
A few minutes after being left alone, a knock came to the door. I jumped up assuming it was a salesperson or a neighbor. Through the frosted glass I could make out the figure of a woman. A pretty woman. A fun woman. A woman with whom I had a date lined up that evening. “Just a minute,” I said through the door, slightly panicked. I looked down at the sweat pants. No good. I looked at my shirt. Definitely no good. I reached up and felt my hair. Yuck. I ran to the other room, grabbed my Boston hat, and crammed it onto my head. Better than nothing, I thought.
I made my way to the front door and tried to open it. Locked.
Usually this wouldn’t matter. Usually I could just unlock it. But here in England, many of the doors lock and unlock from both sides with a key. My brother had used his key to lock the door on their way out and they had taken both sets of keys with them. In other words… I was locked in.
“Hold on,” I told her again as I frantically searched for some keys. When I realized the door couldn’t be opened I felt somewhat relieved. She would never see the sweatpants or the dirty shirt. That was a plus.
I bent over and opened the mail flap to explain the current predicament, but instead of a nice open slot, the opening was blocked off with black bristles and another flap on the other side. “I’m locked in” I tried to yell through the door. About the same time she yelled back, “are you locked in?”
“Hold on,” I said once again.
I made my way into the kitchen and propped open the front window which swung open from the bottom. It was the closest window to the front porch and at that point was the only way I could think to communicate with her. She came over and we had a laugh about me being locked inside. I was secretly laughing that she couldn’t see me as I currently was.
She was there to drop off a shirt for my sister-in-law for their upcoming London to Brighton Bike Ride. We had an amusing, funny, and somewhat awkward chat through the window for a few minutes, and then said goodbye until we’d see each other again a few hours later.
All I can say is… a) thank goodness there wasn’t a fire while we were locked in, and b) thank goodness I couldn’t open that door.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing