At the Risk of Forgetting

By: A.M. Wilson

1.


“I’m grabbing a coffee on my way in.”

Rain pelted my yellow umbrella as I rushed down the cracked sidewalk towards the only coffee shop in town. Of all the days for my car to break down, it had to be the day we’re experiencing torrential rain. Factor in that the tiny town of Arrow Creek had only one taxi, zero Uber drivers, and one bus that left at the ass crack of dawn, left my options at calling in sick or walking.

Then add in the very important meeting with my boss scheduled for 10 a. m. and my decision was made for me.

The gray skies overhead reflected my mood as my own storm of nerves churned inside me. I’d been with the ambulance company in our county for nearly a decade, and this was the first time I’d taken the step to speak with my boss about implementing new technology. To say our current system was archaic was a gross understatement. Patient care was important to me, and it was hard to maintain when paperwork was often getting mislabeled or misplaced. A new streamlined electronic system was exactly what we needed. The problem, however, was that the board and my boss were a group of older gentlemen who firmly believed in the motto, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

“You’ve still got another fifteen-minute walk. You don’t have time for coffee,” my best friend Kiersten groaned through the phone.

“It’s because I have another fifteen-minute walk that I need coffee. I won’t have time to down a cup before the meeting, and I can’t go into a meeting with those misogynistic assholes without coffee.”

“This is true.”

I hummed a response and stepped into the warm café. Just the smell of fresh coffee beans and sweet donuts woke me up. I drifted into line behind a tall, dark haired man and listened to Kiersten pry into my private life.

“So, are you going to tell me about your date last night?”

I sighed. I don’t know when I’d learn to stop telling Kiersten about my failed dating life, but I wished I’d started months ago.

“Not much to tell,” I mumbled, sandwiching the phone between my ear and shoulder to dig my wallet from my purse. “We had a nice dinner at his place, and then I left.”

She’s silent for a beat. “Say again?”

“You heard me,” I muttered, not wanting to repeat myself. The line moved forward a step, so I went with it, praying it hurried up.

“Please explain to me how you went to this guy’s house, had dinner there, and left. Let me rephrase that,” she shouted, stopping my retort. “You had dinner, in the place where his bed is, and you left. Without sex. What is the matter with you?”

I dropped my voice to a whisper. “He was playing ‘Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight’.”

“What?” Kiersten sputtered.

A throbbing ache began in the center of my forehead. I squeezed the bridge of my nose with my freehand and stepped forward in line. “That’s why I didn’t stay. You don’t walk into a room possibly to get laid and have Phil Collins at the top of your sex playlist. Huge red flag.”

The broad back of the man in front of me straightened, seemingly at my words, and I mentally slapped myself for being so coarse in the middle of a public place.

“I don’t know. Maybe he’s just an 80’s fan? That song used to be really popular.”

“Not for sex,” I whispered, darting my eyes around the room to see if anyone else was listening. Except for the man in front of me, I seemed to be ignored.

“Maybe that’s the song you were conceived to,” Kiersten threw out.

At the thought of my parents, my stomach soured. “This conversation is over.

“Oh, come on. So, his taste in sex music sucks. He could have played some, I don’t know, Nickelback to put you in the mood–ˮ

“No. Just no.”

“I didn’t realize you were so high maintenance, Cam.”

“I’m not.” Three people ahead of me. Move people. Pulling the phone from my ear, I quickly checked the time. 9:30.

“I still think this is just another excuse for you.”

Kiersten’s voice came at me, so I moved the phone back to answer her. “Leave it alone. I’m not seeing him again.”

“In fourteen years, you’ve gone out on approximately six dates, none of them ending in sex. Unless you’re picking up prostitutes from some internet website, that means you haven’t gotten some in fourteen years. Are you sure your vagina still works?”

It was my turn to straighten my spine. “I’m getting coffee right now. In the middle of a coffee shop. In public,” I hissed angrily.

She ignored me and went on. “Maybe you should get yourself checked to be sure. By a hot doctor, perhaps?”