Pasta for One

They say you’re given signs in strange ways to let you know you’re on the right path.

For me, apparently, all it took was a box of $1.50 pasta.

Going into this journey, I wasn’t sure if the process would work. I knew I could write about it. I knew I could talk about it. I knew I could actually do it (or I at least hoped) – but for the whole idea to produce results…I had no clue.

Slowly and gradually, I’ve noticed subtle changes in the way I think and the way I talk to myself. I’ve noticed a little bit more confidence and a little less negativity. I’ve noticed different feelings and different approaches and a kinda-different me.

But yesterday, I noticed a sincere transformation…without even trying.

After a very wonderful 40-minute run at the gym (beat my time!) and a lovely nighttime talk with my parents, I headed towards my neighborhood grocery store to buy what I had been thinking about all day: spinach and garlic pasta. Smothered in butter, garlic, and olive oil. Yummm.

I admired the sight and the smell of the barrels of apples on the way in (amazed they put them outside), took a sample of a cheesecake as I passed (hurried actually) by the bakery, and then headed down the escalator for some pasta and spinach.

I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was doing, stopping to smell the flowers on the stand, taking a double look at the produce, and as I approached the spinach – I about ran right into a handsome stranger reaching for the leafy-greens too.

We both said “Excuse me!” and smiled, and then continued studying what we would like. I figured out which one fit my fancy before he did and I politely scooped past him to head to the aisle over. I didn’t really think too much of the encounter (I did turn around to check out his backside…just because I could) and quickly got distracted by the cookies calling my name.

As I was deciding if I wanted cinnamon, chocolate chip, or sugar, I noticed the same guy walk by out of the corner of my eye as he passed the aisle. Again, I didn’t pay extreme attention to his presence, but then, he stopped and came by the aisle just as I was reaching for my cookies (I went with cinnamon, if you’re wondering). We both laughed and shared a smile as he went by me. He turned red, grabbed a box of something, grinned again, and walked away.

At this point, I’m flattered and intrigued, but not too worried about it. I continued my shopping and then headed upstairs to checkout. I crossed by the sushi bar and again, barely out of my sight I saw the same dark haired, dark-eyed, and handsome stranger in the green jacket buying some meat in the deli.

I got in line and then looked back at him again. My mind started to read into things a little bit, “He is very cute. He is in my sight. I mean, basically he is right in front of me. We ran into each other twice. Not just once, but two times. That means something…maybe? That’s a romantic way to meet The One, right?”

I looked around at the line, which was quickly wrapping itself around the middle of the floor. “If I get out now, how long will I have to wait? I still have Dancing with the Stars and Desperate Housewives to catch up on. And my spinach pasta! I mean…I’m in workout clothes. But hey, it’s spandex. And he is cute…”

I tried to think about if I had business cards or what I would say. I didn’t really need any meat, but should I pass up on this opportunity? What if I never see him again?

And then, I snapped out of it. He’s just a guy. He’s a guy I’ve never heard his voice before. He’s just some guy getting some groceries. He isn’t worth losing my spot in line, delaying my pasta, or making me nervous.

So I didn’t do anything. I turned right back around, waited in line, and bought my groceries. I hit the streets and didn’t look back once.

As I walked home, I realized that I had taken the pressure off myself in an instant. I talked myself back down to reality, out of the love-addict mentality, and moved on. I wasn’t upset or disappointed (as I shouldn’t have been) that he didn’t come chasing after me – I just accepted the random multi-meeting as just that.

When I returned to my apartment, I was so at peace, so excited, and just content with where I was in my life. Of course, my apartment is smaller than most Manhattan cubicles and I’m not living in luxury – but I do have myself. And this gal is making some progress in her love-seeking madness. And this gal is fine – regardless of any handsome stranger or chance encounter happens or not.

After all, sometimes, pasta for one just simply hits the spot.