Gas Station Hugs

March 7, 2018

The texting continued. We didn’t know where this was headed, but it sure was exciting. During one of our texting bouts, I boasted to Joey that I’d been told I gave the best hugs. He told me he’d like to see if that was true. How clever of him!

As new graduates, we were enjoying our summer and spending our time working. For Joey that meant cashiering at the local gas station. For me it looked a lot like eating pouring ice cream cones and mixing Blizzards® at Dairy Queen. One night we were both working. Sneaking in texts whenever we could. The night was slow at DQ. Not many people were coming in and Joey had piqued my interest. You should come visit me after work and maybe give me one of your hugs. Going anywhere after work besides home was not my style, but for him, I was considering it.

My shift finally came to an end. I locked the door to the DQ and walked to my car. I got in and settled in my seat. The smell of old ice cream on my shirt filled the car. I was going to do this. I put the car in gear and drove the short few blocks to the gas station, parked and turned the ignition key off. The night was dark all around. Only the gas station lights lit my way into the building. I pushed open the glass door and entered. Joey’s head popped up from behind an aisle. He told me to come on in. This is so weird. Though I’d been texting Joey for some time now, I’d rarely spoken to him in person.

I walked over and stood awkwardly in front of him. He had mop in his hand. The bucket of dirty water sat behind him. I can’t remember what was said. I reminded him of the purpose of my stop: to show him just how good my hugs were. We stepped closer, just inches apart now. I wrapped my arms around his waist and he wrapped his around my shoulders. We pulled each other in so tightly, my head rested on his chest. It was one of the most comforting, warm hugs I’d ever received. We stood there for what seemed like ages. When our embrace broke, I stepped back and probably said something even more awkward before exiting the gas station.

“We could never date.”

A few nights later I joined Joey at the gas station again. This time he stood behind the counter and I leaned in over the counter. We talked about so many things. Our conversation eventually led to beliefs. I told him how strongly I felt about certain lifestyle choices and how I didn’t think his views would ever align. “We could never date” I told him. It seemed we were both just too stubborn and set on our ways. He’d have to change how he thought about things, because I certainly wasn’t going to budge. After our conversation we hugged goodnight and I left the store.

Boy, was I wrong!

Catch up on the rest of the story:

I: Middle School Band, Day One
II: He likes me, he likes me not
III: Summertime Crush
IV: Royalty and Selfies
V: Cookies + Texting
VI: Gas Station Hugs

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