Unexpected Love

Amanda Gaither


            On one hot, May afternoon in the fast food restaurant where I worked, a young dark, sweaty man stepped through the hand-printed glass doors.  His dark complexion and blue eyes mesmerized me.  I took his order and tried to sound very intelligent and smooth, but how intelligent and smooth can you be working as a non-fashionable cashier?  I had on a red polo shirt embedded with grease stains; no matter what I did, they would not come out.  I also wore blue pants, which had bleach stains from cleaning the grimy bathrooms. In a charming voice, I said, “Welcome to KFC; is this for here or to go?”  In my head, I was saying, “Here, here, here.” 


To my surprise he said, “Here.”  The man ordered crispy chicken nuggets, oily green beans, buttery corn on the cob, and a really, really sweet tea.  I fixed his order in a timely manner and politely placed it in front of him in a somewhat flirty way.


He returned to the restaurant frequently.  I pondered whether he was coming to eat the tasty chicken or to look at the somewhat oily, bleach-stained cashier.  After about two weeks of eating chicken day after day, I was cleaning the trash-filled dining room when all of a sudden this chicken-loving man struck up a conversation with me, the “cashier.”  I was in shock, but of course I played it off.  I acted sophisticated and charming.  I sat down, and we began to chat.  We chatted about our daily lives and made small talk.  This went on for about a month.  Not once did this man ask me out.  What was wrong with him?  He did not want to ask a charming, sophisticated grease girl out on a date?


            After a month, he quit coming to eat the juicy chicken.  I speculated as to why he quit; was he no longer interested in the food or the cashier?  I gazed out the hand-printed glass windows and wondered, “Is he coming today, or will he drive past the best chicken joint in town and eat at the competitors?”  For three months, I waited and watched, but no young, dark, handsome man walked into my workplace. 


Four months after the first encounter with the intriguing man, I was riding in Valdosta when he passed me on the road.  We both looked like we had seen ghosts.  My heart raced.  This was the first encounter since I had last seen him at my place of employment.  We only passed each other, but it felt like more. 


            The next day, he rode through the drive-thru at my work.  I was shocked and confused.  In my mind, right then, I decided to finally speak up.  Scared and unsure, I told him, “You should come here more often.” 


He responded with the dumbest question, “WHY?”  Why would he ask why?  He drove off, leaving me feeling confused and wondering if he would return. 


The next day, he did not return.  Disappointed and sad, I thought, “Well, who needs him?”  Then two days later, he showed up.  I was nervous and questioning, “Why is he here? What does he want?”  We talked for a few minutes, and I bravely repeated that he needed to come more often. 


Again, he asked the dumb, childish question: “WHY?”  He then left the store.  I was confused and baffled by this, yet, I felt compelled to do something. 


            Coming from a rural area and a small strict family, I never asked guys out and never thought about it.  Now in my less pure mind and body, I pondered whether to call him or just feel guilty about letting him walk out the door.  I picked up the phone and called my mother, and of course of all people, she could talk some sense into me.  I explained to my mom what happened, and these exact words came out of her mouth, “Amanda, this is the twentieth century; ask the boy out.”  She sure did not sound like my old traditional mom. 


After much frustration and agony, I looked in the phone book and found his number.  I called, and thank goodness, the answering machine picked up.  As my voice quivered, I left a life-changing message: “Mark, this is Amanda from KFC.   I thought we might go out some time. If you are interested, please call me.”  Impatiently, I waited for the phone to ring. 


Finally, it did ring, and it was him.  He said yes, and we went out that night.  We then dated for a month, got engaged, and married within three months.  We have now been married for over five years.


For the curious reader, he did not ask me out because he prayed to the Lord that if we were meant to go out, I would ask him out.  I never, ever asked a man out until he rolled into my life.