Story Sent in by Inez:
Carl and I were on a walk through a city park on the evening of our first date. He said, "I used to come here all the time with my folks. I loved coming here." He described the old playground that used to be there, the games he used to play with his friends, and so on.
Then, his voice dropped and he spoke in a whisper. He said, "I'd go back to my hideout tonight, if not for you."
"What?" I asked, intrigued.
He said, "There was an area up that way," he pointed, "near where those trees are, that I used to call my hideout. I played there by myself all the time when I was younger, and even in high school, when I needed a place to be by myself."
Carl had grown up the second youngest of six, so I could definitely understand that. He walked us in that direction, and I followed willingly, hoping that he would share more happy times with me.
"I kept a bunch of journals early in high school," he said, "I buried three of them here before junior year. I wonder if they're still here…"
We had planned to go out to dinner, and I wasn't prepared for a dig. I suggested, "Want to see if they're still here some other time?"
"No. I want to see if they're still here now."
We walked into a grove, ducked into the hanging branches of a willow tree, and he stopped and looked around. "Yeah, it was right around here," he said, then walked around the tree several times, pacing over the ground.
He then looked up at me and asked, "You don't have, like, a shovel or a spade in your car, do you?"
"No. Let's just do dinner."
He frowned, then snapped his fingers. "Right," he said, and he led me out of the grove and back to the sidewalk. I thought that we were walking to dinner, but instead he walked us into a hardware store, where he picked up a little spade.
"Do you mind?" he asked me, "It won't take a minute. I've been meaning to do this literally for years."
"Then can't it wait another day?"
He replied, "No. Someone might find them between today and tomorrow, and I've taken a big enough risk as it is, leaving them there for as long as I have."
We left the hardware store and I said, "I'm going to grab dinner on my own, then."
He turned to me and said, "Okay. I'm really sorry about this, but I've really been meaning to do it for a while, and now that I'm here and I have a shovel, I really want to get it done."
"I understand," I said, "Good luck."
"Thanks. I'll be in touch!"
He wrote me a week later to ask me out again. I told him that I thought it best that we didn't try for another date, but I did ask him if he had found his journals.
He wrote back that he hadn't. Oh well.
Story Sent in by Inez: