The Sneeze

She was blonde. She was tall. Legs like sunflower stems. I caught her eye briefly, but she just smiled politely and continued to walk past figuring I was another average customer. She had no idea what the day had planned for her in that obscenely crowded Apple Store on the Third Street Promenade, her place of employ.

But I had it all figured out already. The second I saw her I knew how it was going to go. I would start simply and say, “Hello.” She would be a bit shy at first (clearly intimidated by my handsome moustache and calm, yet direct demeanor) but after a few clever jokes and a few insightful observations, I’d be in. Then I would take her out for sushi on Friday, kiss her gently in my car in front of her apartment building next Tuesday, get down on one knee while vacationing in Hawaii next April, and marry her in front of our families and closest friends on a beautiful southern California day in June of 2013. Or failing all that, I would at least ask for her phone number.

I had been admiring The Future Mrs. Molter’s grace and humility while contently waiting to hear her angelic voice call my name: “Steve Molter next at the Genius Bar.” Man, I couldn’t wait! But as I did, I watched her wiggle between tight crowds of customers and smile patiently at others while she artistically and elegantly chewed her gum. In between periodic glances at the Genius Bar schedule on her iPad, she giggled daintily with co-workers. The kind of giggle that makes your body joyfully quiver and squirm; almost a physical imitation of her adorable vocal expression.

The Future Mrs. Molter’s co-worker Ben had checked me in for my appointment. I did my best to position myself in line so as to end up face to face with my future wife, but no luck. Ben got to me first. Nice guy and all, but clearly he didn’t catch my subtle eye dodging and head turning when he attentively tried to flag me down. “Sir, I can help you right here,” he said over the clicking of keyboards, the swooshing of sent mail, and the pitter patter of Toms shoes shuffling through the store.

After check-in, I stood near the glass divider by the Genius Bar. A veritable crows nest protecting me from the swells of customers, I was able to keep my gaze locked on the shores of my future wife and best friend.

I watched her assist an older couple of about 60. The three were just out of earshot, but The Future Mrs. Molter was clearly dazzling them with her vibrancy and luster. She laughed as they made small talk; they smiled widely as she assisted with their questions.

But then, in an instant, The Future Mrs. Molter was dealt a most interesting hand. As she spoke, a sudden wave of sneeze overcame her. The wave was a surprise, but her sneeze was one of those delicate sneezes that sounds like a kitten’s. And before she could respond to the surprise attack by pulling her inner elbow towards her face, a projectile flew out of her mouth and – thwack – hit the floor at an incredible rate of speed next to the 60 year-old woman’s shoe.

The Future Mrs. Molter’s gum now was exposed – naked and alone – in the middle of the floor in the Apple Store on the Third Street Promenade. Far from its comfortable home inside her mouth.

But The Future Mrs. Molter bore ahead. Without an embarrassing flinch or rosy-cheeked apology, she excused herself, bent down, picked up the gum, walked it to a trash bin nearby, came back to her customers, and finished with their questions.

Steadfast in the face of potential social embarrassment, ladies and gentlemen, The Future Mrs. Molter!

Ben finally called my name to see my Genius Bar Genius. (Ben. Sheesh. That guy can’t take a hint.) I quietly laughed to myself about watching the gum dive bomb the floor and in no time my computer’s issue was resolved. But as my appointment wrapped up at the Genius Bar and I prepared myself to woo The Future Mrs. Molter, I turned around and she was nowhere to be found. She vanished. And with her, our sushi dinner, our Tuesday night kiss, our Hawaiian vacation, and our Summer ’13 wedding.