MEANT TO BE
When Trevor got home, he got out two index cards. On the first one he wrote:
Cindy Schlossman Then he got out the phone book and looked up 'Schlossman'. There was no entry for Blair Avenue or the name Rae. He checked several alternate spellings, but still came up empty. Trevor frowned, then went to the phone and called Information. They had a number for 'Rae Schlossman' on Blair Avenue: 555-4370. Trevor wrote the number down under the address on the first card. Then he briefly considered the possible implications of the number not having been in the phone book.
1912 Blair Av.
On the second card Trevor wrote his own name, address and phone number. Then he folded each card once and put them both in his wallet.
Despite his earlier fears, Trevor took only slightly longer than usual to get to sleep that night. He nodded off thinking of Cindy's smiling face.
The next day, Thursday, started off cloudy. Trevor was concerned, and after breakfast he checked the Weather Channel for the latest forecast. He learned that there was no rain predicted for the day, and that the clouds were expected to break up as the day went on. He breathed a sigh of relief.
It wasn't only for his afternoon with Cindy that Trevor had been worried; it was for the work he wanted to get done that morning.
Four summers earlier one of Trevor's neighbors, an elderly man, had offered Trevor a job mowing and trimming his lawn. Since Trevor didn't have a particular dislike for yard work it seemed like relatively easy money, so he took the job. Someone then suggested to him that he should find other customers, so he could make more money. He did so by distributing fliers around the neighborhood, offering his services for a reasonable fee. Three of the other four retired individuals and couples in the neighborhood hired him immediately, as did several other homeowners. He was careful to do a good job for all of his customers, hoping to build his business further by word of mouth. That fall he added leaf raking, and in the winter he did snow shoveling to maintain an income.
The following spring he put out more fliers, this time also offering to do odd jobs. The word about him apparently had gotten around, because he got more responses than the year before, and was able to fill as much of his spare time as he wanted (and was allowed to) with paying jobs of various kinds. He had continued this neighborhood business ever since, and it had allowed him to get a good start on saving money for college, and to have some general spending money for himself. He also insisted on donating a small portion of his earnings each month to charity.
On this particular Thursday Trevor had two lawn mowing jobs, and was also supposed to dust and vacuum the living and dining rooms as part of his regular chores at home. He wanted to get one of the lawns and the dusting and vacuuming done in the morning, so he would have only the second lawn to do after his mall date with Cindy. It looked like the weather would cooperate with these plans.
He did the dusting and vacuuming first, to make sure any dew would be completely evaporated from the grass before he mowed it. Then he walked down the block to do the lawn.
As he worked, he discovered it was necessary to consciously force himself not to hurry through the job. He kept thinking about Cindy and their upcoming afternoon together, and these thoughts made him want to be finished with the task at hand as soon as possible. He knew he had to be careful not to involuntarily compromise the quality of his work: it could be very bad for business if negative word of mouth started going around at the same time as he began to be seen with a new girlfriend.
At last the job was finished. Trevor collected his money and headed back home. The kitchen clock read 11:33 when he walked in to get lunch. He had a peanut butter sandwich, a glass of milk and a donut, unconcerned that he wasn't exactly covering all of the major food groups. Then he went into the bathroom and gave himself the full treatment: shower, blow-dry and shave (at this point in his life he was generally shaving two or three times a week, whether he needed it or not). He splashed on a bit of his father's best aftershave, brushed his teeth and gargled, then went to his room to get dressed.
Mentally kicking himself for not considering what to wear before that moment, Trevor perused his closet. After a minute or so he decided on his newest blue jean shorts, and a white polo shirt with a Green Bay Packer emblem on the left upper chest. When he was dressed, he looked at himself in the mirror. His hair and clothes were both looking good, and a close examination revealed that no new pimples had sprouted overnight.
Definite B minus! he thought with a smile.
Finally, he went to his secret hiding place and got $30, which he added to the $12 he already had in his wallet.
Trevor's watch read exactly 12:14 when he walked out the back door. Being careful not to brush up aginst anything, he got his bike out of the garage, hopped aboard and set out. Cindy's house was about a mile and a half away, which meant that with almost fifteen minutes to get there, he could afford to ride slowly and not get sweated up.
As he rode, Trevor began to think about his developing relationship with Cindy. It began to dawn on him just how much there was about her that he didn't yet know. Among other things, he didn't even know what her religious beliefs were. Less than twenty hours earlier he had told his father that he wanted his first girlfriend to be a Christian like himself, and for all he knew Cindy could be an atheist. Maybe there were other differences between them that would also be difficult or impossible to deal with. Maybe it would turn out that, all things considered, he and Cindy were actually a worse match then he and Katie.
Why do I do this to myself? he thought suddenly. Why do I always obsess about everything? Like last night at the game, when I almost had a heart attack because I thought a girl I just met might be a little mad at me. What's gonna happen is gonna happen, whether I worry about it or not. So, knock it off, already! For once in your life, Trevor, be optimistic!
He forced all the negative thoughts from his mind, and focused instead on Cindy's smile. He could feel himself relaxing, and soon he was smiling himself. Positive excitement began to build inside of him again, an excitement that grew even greater as he turned onto the 1900 block of Blair Avenue.
1912 Blair was a medium-sized one story house with white aluminum siding. Trevor pulled his bike into the driveway, parked and glanced at his watch. 12:27. Perfect timing! He walked to the front door and rang the bell. Within five seconds the door opened, and there was Cindy.
Standing in the doorway wearing a simple blue, white and yellow flowered top and solid blue shorts, she looked even better than Trevor remembered, but that was at least in part because now she wasn't playing the role of softball pitcher. Without her baseball cap her brown-blond hair flowed freely down a few inches below her shoulders, with a slight natural wave that Trevor found distinctly attractive. Unlike the previous evening she was wearing a little make-up, but only a little - just enough to bring out her natural beauty. This was also greatly to Trevor's liking. He was sickened by girls who used make-up with the obvious intention of significantly altering their appearance - especially those who painted themselves up so much that they looked like tropical fish.
As he looked at Cindy now, Trevor wondered what in the world he could have been thinking when he had seen her on the softball diamond the evening before and initially thought she wasn't particularly beautiful.
"Hi!" said Cindy, cranking her smile up to maximum power.
"Hi!" Trevor replied. As he continued to look at her, all at once he understood at least part of what it had been about Cindy that he had found so mysteriously appealing during the softball game, beyond the question of beauty: it was her naturalness, her outward honesty about herself. Here was a girl who was obviously comfortable with and secure about who she was, a girl who would never try to look or act like someone she really wasn't just to impress someone else. It was evident that she wasn't at all self-conscious about the smattering of small, light brown freckles across her nose and cheeks, freckles that heavier make-up could have obscured; nor did she feel the need to try to make her eyes look bigger with large amounts of mascara and eye shadow. No, she only wanted to maximize her natural beauty, not make it into something else.
"You OK?" asked Cindy, and Trevor realized he had been staring at her for at least 15 seconds.
"Yeah, fine," he answered. "I was just...you look really great today!"
"Thank you!" Cindy replied, blushing slightly. "So do you. I like the Packer shirt."
"Thank YOU. You ready to go?"
"Uh-huh. Come on in, I have to take my bike out the back door."
Trevor followed Cindy through the living room and kitchen, and insisted on carrying her bike outside from the back hall while she held the door open. Then she mounted up, and Trevor trotted beside her back to his bike.
They rode side by side down the drive way and along the 3½ blocks to the main street that led directly to the mall. They looked at each other several times, but didn't attempt any conversation while riding. At the stop sign Trevor finally spoke.
"You better go first," he told Cindy.
"Why, don't you know the way?" she joked.
"Exactly!" chuckled Trevor. "No, seriously, I just figure if some car driver makes a mistake, it's more likely that the rider in back would be the one to get hit."
"Ohhhhh!" Cindy said with feeling. "That's so sweet of you to think of that!"
"I guess I'm kinda old-fashioned that way," Trevor said with a shrug. "You know, that a man should protect his lady. I'm just glad you weren't offended. Some girls would be these days."
"Not me," Cindy stated. "I'm glad to know my man's looking out for me!"
With that she pulled out onto the main street, and Trevor followed, glowing over what she had just said.
Her man, he thought. I'm her man, and she's my lady. Gosh, if this is a dream, I hope I never wake up. This is so cool!
As they rode single file down the street, Trevor thought back to the night before. Everything he remembered about Cindy confirmed his earlier conclusion. He realized that it wasn't anything specific about her face that had fascinated him at first, before he had seen her smile. It was the uninhibited way her face had reacted to everything. Whatever had been happening to her, whatever she had been thinking had been abundantly reflected in her facial expression.
There was a phrase that Trevor had heard his parents use from time to time, one that had apparently been popular when they were young: 'What you see is what you get'. This attitude was obviously one of the basic characteristics of Cindy's personality. This was to Trevor's growing delight, for he himself subscribed to the same basic philosophy.
Cindy's attractiveness and general appeal to Trevor went up yet another notch.