I normally don’t drink coffee, but today was different. I would be making the two hour trip down to Federal Way. I hadn’t been down there in forever. As I waited impatiently in the Starbucks drive-through, I made a mental inventory of all the things Jen and I had to go over. We would need to make sure everything was perfect. This was going to be our one shot. No room for errors today. I pulled up and gave the barista my card. I grabbed my sugar-free vanilla, soy latte’ and hit the freeway. As I’m crossing the Narrows Bridge into Tacoma a song comes on the radio. Most of you may know it and if not—don’t google it. “To the window, to the wall….” So many times the three of us, Alphonso, Jen and I would be out or in just hanging in the apartment and this song would come on. So many memories, so many moments, so many crazy songs such as this one, lead us to this day. This day.
As I maneuvered my way through Tacoma traffic, basically risking my life with every bump I hit on I-5, I am reminded of the crazy rollercoaster Jen and I have been on the last 9 months. There are times where one of us (luckily not at the same time) wanted to quit. The other one would always give the reasons why the other couldn’t quit, stating in some way, shape or form that “It’s now or never” and ultimately talking the other person into “getting it together”. When I say this has taken everything we have to complete this project, I truly mean everything. We have sacrificed so much to fulfill our dream. Late nights, endless research, money, and our sanity was dedicated to making this come to fruition.
I signaled my blinker to take the Federal Way exit. I looked around and so much had changed, yet everything was the same. I took a right and drove past the mall. So many firsts happened in that mall. The first time Jen and I hung out was in that mall. We went from strangers to friends in that mall. How did that even happen? It’s not like we had a whole lot in common back then. She was into fashion and make-up like Alphonso and I would much rather go fishing or watch a Mariner’s game. But underneath it all, we both had some broken pieces. Maybe that’s what it was. For whatever reason it was, 15 years later we remained friends. And in a few minutes, I would be face- to- face with my friend, discussing a life-changing decision we made together.
I pulled into what used to be PJ pockets. One of our favorite places we used to go to. Now it was some restaurant/bar joint. God, it had been forever since I had been in this parking lot. So many fun and crazy times went down in this very parking lot. I put the Jeep in park and took a deep breath. This is it. I grabbed my laptop and my big black binder and headed in. Jen was sitting at the table in the corner. In typical Jen fashion, drinks were already ordered and on the table. She was already halfway done with hers. Some things never change. I set my laptop and binder on the table. “This is it. Everything is here and we are ready to go.”
We spent the next two hours talking about everything. The past, the present and most importantly– the future. The last 9 months had been for this. This day. Now, all we had to do was wait for the call. Any day now, the call would come.
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