"Are you texting her again?" asked Brett.
"Yeah…She's got this huge literature exam today; she sounded pretty stressed when we talked a couple of days ago. So I'm just wishing her good luck," Gavin said as he pressed down on his phone.
"I'm surprised you guys haven't planned to see each other yet, it's only a two hour drive. What are you waiting for?"
"I have a commitment here… I wish I could just pick up and leave bro, but I can't. Plus she's crammed with her classes and stuff. "
"Just face it Gavin, it was your first Spring break, one night stand… or something like that."
"No," Gavin shook his head, unwilling to believe what his friend was declaring. "That was something unlike anything I've ever experienced or heard of. I felt a connection with a complete stranger. That doesn't happen to just anybody."
"Alright, we've talked about this way too many times… I never seem to convince you otherwise. I gotta go meet Vanessa. Are we still on for Friday night?" Brett asked.
"Oh, the movie? Yeah, sure thing man."
It had been almost a month since Gavin's stay in Los Angeles. His first week was quite a struggle; between jet lag, memorizing new drum fills and still starry-eyed from his flight with Dianna. He felt pressured to perform well, considering that his sponsors had paid for his trip over to California in the first place. Therefore, his chances of seeing her were slim, at least for now.
Gavin did have his evenings free, but after attempting to visit Dianna a couple of times, with her day and night classes, he had given up. It wasn't worth traveling there for only 20 minutes to be with her. He had told her he didn't care, that he would do it. She on the other hand insisted for him not to. He was sure that she was only saying that to be courteous.
Gavin was at the Bottomless Cup coffee shop on Melrose Ave. His friend Brett, had met up with him to go over some editing tips for their music video. Gavin was helping in editing, production as well as the fill-in drummer for the band Stereo on Fire. He pretty much lived on their schedule.
He finished shutting down his lap top, putting away his things in his black computer bag by his chair. Done for the day, he enjoyed his last drops of his now cold coffee. He suddenly heard a song that he knew and liked, coming from somewhere, that wasn't the shop's speakers. Tracing it two tables across, he saw a girl rummaging through her papers on the table until she found her cell phone.
He was absorbed by her reaction when she began to talk on the phone. Her face was glowing, as he could tell it was someone very special. It reminded him of Dianna, as he wondered if she reacted the same way when he called. Somehow, watching this girl, brought comfort to his loneliness.
She had a lovely smile, in his opinion. Until strangely he saw it …die. He sat up afraid of what he was witnessing. Her face grew noticeably pale; it looked as though she had forgotten how to breathe. In an instant, the light in her eyes became dull, and began to drown. His heart now burdened by the sight of her weeping, he watched her mumble something and place the phone down.
Gavin wasn't the type to pry into other people's business, but he strongly felt this had to be an exception. The look in her eyes was frightening; he did not know how grave the situation was. He followed his impulse to walk over to her, unsure of what he would say. As he drew near he was taken aback by her loveliness that was disguised in pain.
"Hey...are you okay?" he spoke softly as she gave him an odd glare. "I'm sorry I couldn't help notice, from where I was sitting, that you... I just want to make sure that you're alright," he asked with great concern.
"...There are some good people left in this world," she verbalized in amazement.
He could tell she was very skeptical of his intentions. How could he prove he was being sincere?
"I'm sorry; I didn't mean to bother you..." Gavin began to step backwards, to leave her alone.
"No wait..." she said doubting if that was the right thing to do or not. "Do you have a couple of minutes?" she asked hopeful.
"I have the whole day," he smiled.
Eager to help her, he quickly grabbed his things and sat across from her. He desperately hoped that she hadn't been notified of a death, as he didn't know how to handle that; but he would try either way. He was ready to be the perfect listener. She however looked like she was trying to get emotionally comfortable, given the unusual situation.
"I'm sorry, this is just so weird. I can't believe you would want to listen to some random person's problems."
"I'm glad that you're open enough to tell me. Believe me, I'm not shy when it comes to talking to random people...,"he grinned to himself. "Let alone if they could use my help."
"Umm...well, it isn't anything that devastating. Although I don't believe that I over reacted," she held her phone, gazing in bewilderment.
"If you are not up to talking about it, that's okay..." he insisted.
"I just received a phone call ... from my boyfriend, who just broke up with me. He and I … had been dating a couple of months now and I thought it was … well pretty serious."
It was as though the more she spoke and heard it aloud, the easier it became to process.
"He said he loved me because I was different. He told me because I refused to sleep with him, that I wasn't like the rest of the girls he had been with. He respected that about me, but he couldn't deal with it I guess. So he confessed ... he had been sleeping with someone for a several weeks now."
Gavin saw how much this was hurting her that she must have felt like she wasn't good enough. She looked up at him, waiting for his turn to encourage her; relying on his next move. He inhaled deeply as he searched for the correct words.
"He clearly didn't deserve you. And he knew that, or else he wouldn't have admitted to his fault. ... It's hard to accept that we can't change a person, unless they genuinely want to. Not that you were trying to do that! I feel like you, out of good faith, gave him an opportunity but he didn't know how to treasure it."
He was interrupted by a curious look on her face, making him feel insecure about what he was saying.
"You aren't from here are you? I can't even make out your accent," she stated.
He chuckled as he tried to explain, "Oh yes, my accent. I'm from Cape Town... South Africa."
Her face changed in utter surprise, no longer interested in her own dilemma.
"But I wanted to finish by saying... that it's better for you to find out now then later. Even though it will be hard to see him in the street..."
"Oh no, I'm not from here. He's back home. Another reason why I'm so devastated... I'm here completely alone on a temporary basis," she declared.
"Well... that makes things easier, so to speak. Do you mind if I ask why you're here in L.A.?"
She hung her head, as though ashamed. He didn't want to impose in on her private life. In fact he wasn't sure where to draw the line, as he was being told personal things but didn't know any basic details like her name or age.
"Please don't laugh at this. I told everyone back home that … I wanted to take an important course here in UCLA. So they think I'm here, studying Computer Science. But I'm really here to ... audition for a musical?"
"Are you serious?" he asked astonished.
"Yes..." she said shyly.
"That's fantastic! Are you kidding? Why wouldn't you tell them that?"
"They wouldn't take me seriously. I'm a small town girl from Arizona; they don't understand what it is to daydream of bigger things. My boyfriend didn't understand either; he doesn't know how much I love to sing. I'm such a mess."
He felt so much sympathy for her; watching her sulk, as she rested her cheeks in the palms of her hands. He recognized this new and fearful road she was taking, having himself been in her position. Luckily, he had amazing support from his friends and family. He looked down at her pile of loose pages and noticed it was a copy of a play script.
"I don't think it's a coincidence that we're talking today. I've been where you're at right now, and it's crucial to have that support ... I did. If not, it pretty much feels like you against the world. I want to be that supportive friend for you... if you'll let me?" he offered.
"What do you mean you've been where I'm at? What do you do?"
"I came here to continue pursuing my drumming career. Right now I'm filling-in for a band member. We're in the process of making a music video, insane right?"
He was so excited to share his news and felt her enthusiasm.
"That is so amazing. So did you come here straight from South Africa?" she asked.
"Well I was in Australia for a couple of days. I got asked to be a guest on a drumming channel. I feel so blessed, everywhere I go I keep meeting people that have all these connections. Then one day I get a call and I'm somewhere else the next day. But I don't want to bore you with this... I meant to listen to you not talk about myself."
"Oh I much rather talk about this," she smiled, inspired.
"This is going to happen for you. Everyone starts somewhere; and this is your first step, although scary. I know!"
Gavin could tell she was starting to feel better. Not that she would immediately forget about her heartache; at least their talk was helping her keep her mind off it. He saw her smile slowly fade as she looked back down at her phone. He knew she was in a fragile state.
"Thank you... for being so kind; taking the time to talk with me. I would really like to hear more about your drumming stories. And any advice or tips you can give me to point me in the right direction would be great. But ... I don't feel so up to it right now."
Gavin completely understood where she was coming from. He took his cell phone from out of his bag's front pocket.
"Would you want to maybe get together again sometime?" he suggested, holding his phone in his hand.
She gave half a smile and answered, "Sure... 520..."
Once he finished typing in her number, he looked up from his phone at her and paused.
He raised his head to share a warm smile. He then held out his hand to shake hers as he introduced himself.
"I'm Gavin. See, your luck is already beginning to change. You've just made your first friend here."