Hello and good day!
His deep, vibrating, baritone voice caught my ear as I walked by. "It was really nice to meet you. Hey, you know, maybe we could get together sometime," he said.
"I'd really like that," said the young lady. She had a young woman's clear high-pitched voice I could hear from her tone that she was pleased.
I admit it. I was secretly listening in on somebody else's conversation. But I claim a good reason for it. I'm trying to improve as a writer, and I find myself wanting to hear how people talk in different situations. What you call eavesdropping, I call field research.
I was walking by a grocery store when I heard the exchange.They were standing in the cart area near one of the entrances. I couldn't see them, so I peeked around the corner of a concrete column to get a look.
The young man was strapping. Young. Muscular. Tight shirt showing off his big arms and big chest. Basketball shorts. Nice full head of young man's hair. Clean shaven.
The young lady was tall and lean. Athletic. Wearing running shorts. Long brown hair tied into a ponytail hanging down her back. Work out sweatband on her forehead, wrapping underneath her ponytail.
"How about if you give me your number and I'll call you and we can set up a time?" said the young man in his deep voice. "Okay. Are you ready?" said the young lady. "Yeah, just give me a second," said the young man. "Ok, go ahead."
And then from the parking lot. "Grasshopper!" shouted another young woman's voice. Grasshopper. She had a pet name for him. That was the saddest part of all. When she drove by to park, the second young lady saw her boyfriend standing in the cart area. But she didn't see the other young woman who her boyfriend was trying to pick up.
She didn't realize that her man was in the process of trying to cheat on her. She seemed to think that he was standing in front of the grocery store waiting for her so that they could go shopping together. When she yelled out, her voice was full of joy and enthusiasm. She was so happy to see him. She loved him. It was obvious.
When the girlfriend got out of her car and came walking towards the store, there was silence from the cart area. The man didn't know what to do, I suppose. I couldn't see him, I could only hear him, and he was silent.
The other young lady, the one involuntarily dragged into this mess, was silent as well. If you've never seen a person go from ecstatic to heartbroken in the blink of an eye, you are lucky. It's the saddest thing in the world. She put her hand over her mouth. Wrinkles etched on her forehead. Tears welled up. "Grasshopper?" she asked in the most pitiful voice.
She turned and ran back to her car. The young man went lumbering after her. I don't know what the other young lady did. She must have gone through the store and left from the other side. I didn't see her again. Grasshopper and his heartbroken girlfriend stood on the far side of the girl's car, talking. I moved along. I didn't want to stand there staring.
When I was fourteen, my parents divorced. Thankfully, it wasn't due to infidelity. My parents had a happy marriage for a good many years and they have remained very close and dear friends up through the present.
From my understanding, there were two primary causes for the breakup. My dad had to declare bankruptcy and walk away from a business he'd spent 15 years building. A crooked investor broke the law and stole the business from my dad. That sent pop into a deep depression.
Around the same time, the son of one of our family's best friends was murdered by a 14-year-old gang member. Mom and dad became our friend's emotional crutch and the strain of that took a big emotional toll.
From age fourteen until age twenty-one, when I met my wife and married her, I was a heavy substance abuser. Weed every day, multiple times per day, and binge drinking several times per week. I highly recommend that young people avoid this regimen. It makes your problems much, much worse, not better.
And boy was I a terrible student in high school. To graduate, I had to put together a senior portfolio. The idea was to collect your best work from your four years at the school. Mine was thin and paltry.
Years later, I found my senior portfolio in my mom's garage. I looked through it and my work was mostly haphazard and embarrassing. I should have been better. But you can't change the past.
However, I did find one essay that I liked a lot. There was a note at the top of the first page in red ink. "Adam, this is your best work to date. This was very thoughtful and well written, and I am proud of you for expressing yourself. However, it has nothing to do with the assignment, so I have to give you a D." That was young Adam for you. I had to include a D in my senior portfolio.
The essay was about marriage. In it I argued that a marriage should be for life. Two people made a deal, and they should honor that deal. My view is slightly more nuanced now, but I do believe in the sanctity of a deal. If you promised to do something, if you made a pledge, you are morally obligated to adhere to your promise.This is especially true if you make a promise to another person.
If you break a promise to yourself, that is one thing. But if another person has made their plans and is living their life on the assumption that you will do what you said, and you mess up their life by not living up to your end of the bargain, you've done something very unfair.
In the case of my parents, the breakup was more or less mutual.
In the case of Grasshopper, that didn't appear to be the case, although I am not privy to the details of the agreement.
In the case of our chocolate business, we've promised to buy from our cacao farm partners at premium prices indefinitely. We've also promised our customers that we'll always make the most delicious products we're capable of making.
As I look at my life to date, my proudest achievements are the long term promises that I've kept.
I'm not a perfect person by a long shot, but I haven't intentionally fudged on a deal, in my business or personal life, in a very long time.The idea that people can count on my word gives me a lot of pride and confidence.
A deal is a deal is a good rule of thumb.
Thank you so much for your time today.I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
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