I decided to share this story on the heels of the last post, since I hinted that there was a story to tell that was connected to the hot air balloon ride.
Way back in 1997, when I was working full time in the restaurant, this guy started coming in with his parents, who were regulars, and then a date or two occasionally. I’ll call him Dan. He was charming and friendly. He loved my kamikazes.
At some point he came in alone one night, sat at the bar, and chatted with me. We got on famously. His family owned a hot air balloon company, and he was one of the pilots. We talked about his job and the fact that I’d never been on one before. He asked me out to dinner before he left.
He suggested I pick the place, so I chose a trendy place down near the city. Conversation seemed awkward at first, but we soon relaxed into our table and then it all just flowed. I had a good time and thought he was a really nice guy. For someone else. There were no sparks, no touching or kissing at all. Something about him reminded me of someone else – he seemed familiar in some way. We spoke by phone a couple times after, including one time when he asked when I was going to go on a ride with him. I joked around a little, but ultimately said I had a fear of heights and a hot air balloon wasn’t likely.
Fast forward three years. I was now married and had been working as an administrative assistant before giving birth to my son. Dan’s parents came into the restaurant one night. My mom chatted with them, as they hadn’t been in for a long while. Dan’s mom asked how I was. My mom beamed and said she’d recently become a grandmother and gushed about her little grandson. Dan’s mom was thrilled of course, and asked when he was born.
Mom told her the date and watched the color drain out of Dan’s mother’s face. As it happened, Dan was killed in a car accident the very day my son was born.