Alan Lowenthal was very distracted as he walked up and down the aisles at the Super Store. He was thinking about a call he had just finished with one of his biggest clients ‘’Tobemorry Homes.’’ They were property developers and had just informed Alan that they would be slashing their Advertising budgets due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was the third client in the past couple of days, who either cancelled campaigns or dramatically cut spending. It was not a fun time, and Alan kept thinking about what he could do to increase his company’s revenue stream. He had been emphasizing digital advertising because of the number of people at home using their computers, but as one of his clients had said ‘’What’s the point of pushing our products if people can’t get them ?’’
Alan was looking at Pineapple jam when he accidentally backed into a woman. She was wearing a mask but there was something about her face and eyes that looked familiar. He was also wearing a mask so half his face was also covered. Through his mask he offered an apology, she nodded and moved on. As she walked away, Alan kept thinking he knew her and then went back to looking at the sugar content of jam.
He walked over to the cooler where the cream cheese was located when the woman he bumped into walked by him again. He kind of yelled out ‘’Excuse me, but I think I know you, I just don’t know where from.’’
She stopped and looked at him, and shook her head ‘’Uh, I uh went to school around here, and then I moved away for many years. Maybe I know you from High School. What’s your name?’’
Alan was mesmerized, he didn’t realize he was blocking people’s access to the cooler till a guy said ‘’Hey buddy, mind moving on I need stuff and I don’t want to spend the day listening to your boring conversation instead of getting my yogurt.’’
As Alan pushed his cart towards the mystery woman his mind raced. It was hard to form a complete picture of a person when there was only eyes to work with.
‘’My name’s Alan Lowenthal, I grew up here, went to Toronto, started a business, and moved back when my parents ran into some health issues. I decided to stay, and now with the Pandemic there’s nowhere else I want to go.’’
She pushed her cart a little closer. ‘’Hi Al, I thought it might be you. It’s me, Christine Lebois. ‘’ Alan Lowenthal’s heart raced. All through High School from Grade Nine through Grade Thirteen, Alan had a huge crush on Christine. He thought she was extremely smart, decent, funny, and pretty. He had tried to talk to her a few times during his teen years, but it was difficult. He always got tongue tied. She was constantly surrounded by jock types and he was never very welcome in their group. It wasn’t that Alan wasn’t athletic, he could hold his own, it was just they were idiots and he didn’t like most of them. His friends were decent good people, none of them fell into a herd mentality like the maroons who hung around Christine.
At lunch breaks and school trips Christine was surrounded by the ‘’cool kids’’, so he never really had a chance to get to know her or vice versa, but he still had a huge crush. Going out on one date with Christine during High School would have been the highlight of his life, but it never happened, now thirty nine years later she was standing five feet away from him.
‘’Wow Christine, so happy to see you. You were my dream girl in High School. I thought you were the best looking girl I had ever seen. You were so classy and smart but we never really got a chance to get to know one another. It was kind of sad, I would have loved to spend one night hanging out with you, but it just wasn’t in the High School cards.’’
Christine was looking at Lowenthal like she had just heard the most shocking news. ‘’Really, you felt like that? Wow, I didn’t know. It’s nice to run into you now. What are you up to besides grocery shopping? Do you have a wife, kids? Why don’t you take my number and give me a call? I’d love to catch up.’’
Alan whipped out his phone and took all her contact information. She said she looked forward to catching up. He said he’d call and they went their separate ways. Alan’s spirit was lifted a billion percent. He might be losing clients and having some business issues but after forty years he had run into his High School dream girl
After finishing the shopping, going home and washing every box and can and putting them away, Alan took his dog Bronco for a walk. He thought about time and about Christine. High School had been so many years ago, why did Christine still stir something inside of him. Life was weird with its twists and turns. He wondered if she was married or involved with someone. It was almost like back to the past. He then started thinking about the best time to call her, it was so nerdy, he was acting like he was in High School again.
In order to test the water, Alan sent a text message to Christine telling her how great it was that they had run into each other. The text didn’t get answered.
The next day Alan called some of his agency’s creative people and put them to work on a plan of action. They were going to focus on a couple of consumer brands that had been developed in house. This would mean creating e-commerce platforms and selling products that didn’t exist before. The Agency would create their own campaigns and see if they could generate a solid Return On Investment. The first product was designated for dog owners and featured a GPS tracking device. The second product was a private labelled beer that one of the Agency’s clients was going to manufacture for them. The beer was going to be called ‘’Vaccination’’ and the slug line was ‘’If you’re stuck at home, you might as well get yourself a nice cold Vaccination.’’
Alan was calling clients and following up on ongoing campaigns when a text message showed up on his screen. ‘’Hi Al, I agree, it was wonderful running into each other. I’d be happy to talk when you call. Looking Forward to it. Christine.’’
All of a sudden all the clients didn’t matter, the new campaigns didn’t matter, he kept thinking about Christine. The hottest girl in High School had responded to him. Life didn’t get better, except they weren’t in High School anymore.
On Tuesday Evening at seven thirty, Alan dialed Christine’s number. She answered on the third ring and they settled in to a nice conversation. It was smooth and easy. Christine had been working as a Mortgage Broker and was still very busy. She was doing a lot of deals over the phone. She had been married to a guy who had a company who did paving. They had contracts with the municipal and provincial government and were always busy doing road work. They had been married for fifteen years, but during the pandemic they realized they weren’t getting along. They had been separated for three weeks. It was all still raw. Alan explained that he hadn’t married. He had been involved with a wonderful woman named Tamara for a number of years. They had a great time together and it was still a mystery as to what happened exactly. Alan said it might have been that he had been commitment phobic and didn’t want to get married, he liked everything the way it was, and she wanted a more permanent arrangement. Looking back he said he couldn’t blame her and would have done things differently. The end result was that she had met someone else, and a month after going out they married. Alan explained he was now single, except for his dog Bronco.’’
There was a long pause and Christine said ‘’You know, I’m flattered that you had a crush on me in High School. I always liked you, but I had no idea you were interested in me that way. You did seem to get clumsy when I was around but I thought that was your regular personality. Anyways, I’m flattered but you can’t go back in time. I don’t know if things are completely over with my ex-Roy. I’ve moved out of our house, but I still have feelings, and he calls regularly and really wants to reconcile, so I am having a hard time figuring things out.’’
‘’Christine, you were and will always be my dream girl. There was something about you that was way beyond your years, you were like the first Kardashian. Anyways, having a chance to talk and share my feelings with you has been tremendously cathartic. I just have one question?’’ There was a slight pause on the other end. ‘’If I would have asked you out in High School, would you have gone out with me?’’ There was a long pause. ‘’You know Al, it’s a tough question to answer because I’m not the same person that I was then. I guess the simple answer would’ve been yes.’’ Alan didn’t know if her answer was the truth or not, but it didn’t matter. He knew you could never go back in time, but running into Christine had helped make time stand still for a while, it was a great feeling. It was also his last mystery from High School life and it was now completely solved. Christine really was a class act and it was time to finally move on.