The Way We Met
Okay, so I can say it was probably love-at-first-sight for me, but I know for a fact that it was not the same for Loren. How do I know? Because I met him long before he met me. Below is a poem I wrote back before we formally met. I had seen Loren in an elevator at our office building. I was working for a telephone company on the 12th floor of a downtown Tampa office building. Loren worked in the 11th. I had seen Loren a few times but never knew who he was, only that I found him undeniably attractive. So here's the poem... (Mind you, I wrote this before we ever talked.) Weird how infatuated I was with him... so unlike me, really. Maybe my heart knew something my head didn't.
SLOW DOWN ELEVATOR
From the moment I saw him, my heart skipped a beat.
He was just two small feet from me - teasing my brain with a beautiful smile.
Words would not come to my mind. I choked on a meek "hello,"
Sharing one thing in common all the while.
Slow down elevator, and give me the chance to etch in my brain
this angelic sight: his beautiful eyes, his perfect face, his hair.
I saw the rise and fall of his chest under his GQ look.
Felt the warmth of his body; caught the scent of his cologne.
When the door opened, I prayed to the heavens above.
Please don't let him go. Give me more time to be alone with him.
Slow down elevator and give me the chance to look into his eyes.
No, my own eyes would betray me and he'd know.
I could hardly control myself - fantasies blossomed in my head.
I wondered to myself about this man; such a mystery.
Who was he? Did he have a love? Would I ever see him again?
So many questions... could there ever be a chance...
Slow down elevator. Past 8. Past 9. Then up to 10.
More people entered and he inched ever closer.
Could he feel my heart beating or sense my breath uncontrolled?
Faceless nameless people left; while other people came.
I longed to be alone with him - such a fantasy! I laughed out loud.
I hoped he didn't hear that. I knew not even his name.
Slow down elevator. Ten had come and gone.
Eleven was the dreaded floor. The angry monster "11" had swallowed him whole.
Alone to the 12th, my thoughts wandered to things unattainable.
I had lived out a lifetime with this wonderful man in 5 short floors.
My heart was broken. But why? He wasn't mine. I blushed.
I choked out "goodbye" as the 12th slowly opened its doors.
Hurry up elevator and find that man,
that my heart may skip another beat again.
Lesa Cole 1998
So, we formally met on the 7th floor of the building. Well, no, I take that back. We didn't formally meet just yet. On the 7th floor, yes - met, not yet. I was sitting at a picnic table in the only outdoor area of the building. Loren was a short distance away, chatting with someone. I had overheard Loren talking. Straining, I heard the words "court" and "prison." Loren was decked out in jeans, a Grateful Dead t-shirt and had long hair. That was when my heart sank.
I drew back into my thoughts about having seen him in the elevator - dressed in a suit, he was, when I first "fell in love." It all came together - he was a criminal. At one point, he was going up to visit an attorney - probably for a court hearing or something. That was the reason for the suit. How sad. So cute and so wrong. I motioned in Loren's direction and remarked to a girl, Anita, sitting near me, "he's really cute. It's just too bad he's a loser." "A loser? No, he's a lawyer," she replied. I can't tell you how stupid I felt for having jumped to the wrong conclusion and how relieved I was.
Anita later played matchmaker for us - just like two middle school kids. Our first date was August 12th, 1998. And seven years later, I love him more than ever.