“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” -Muhammad Ali

My dear friend Zac is as practical and down to earth as they come. He looked at himself as just another average guy: average height, average looking, average life experiences. To me and my group of friends he was that subtle hilarious person that says the perfect one-liner at the right moment and gave advice like a sage of old. He was always a willing listener and would go to any movie with anyone…even chick flicks. With a successful job and the heart that treats every girl like a princess Zac was an extraordinary catch….but he didn’t even know it.

He had two best friends Tim, a fellow Star Wars and Volley ball enthusiast; and Sarah, well Sarah was the girl of his dreams. He and Sarah had known each other since they were children playing with barbie dolls and ninga turtles and mud. Over the years they had become closer and closer through countless hours and talking and laughing and blog writing. Sarah was beautiful with glossy light brown hair that was always well-styled and that ran past her shoulders; her eyes were small sea-green ovals that seemed to twinkle when she thought something was humorous. From many trips abroad and a Nikon DSLR camera she seemed so cool and so cultured to Zac. Where had he been that was cool? I mean, even the Air force couldn’t seem to help that out; he hoped to be sent to Hawaii or Florida or Germany…they sent him to Alabama! All said…Sarah was out of his league. Zac was certain Sarah never thought twice about romance with him….actually he was certain she never even thought once about it!

~

“You like Sarah, don’t you?” I asked Zac while sitting down over a cup bolba tea and a bottled water for him.

“She would NEVER think of me that way!” Zac said totally not answering the question. He scrunched his thick light brown eyebrows together and then took a long swing of his bottled water. I could tell he was deep in thought. He slid his long fingers through his buzz-cut ashen blond hair and bit his lip.

“I bet you are wrong! You guys get along so well; you run together, you see movies, you hike, you talk all the time…” I said and then took a sip of the Vanilla-rose flavored tea. I cringed a little as I drank it, wishing I hadn’t been to adventurous on my choice of beverage. Roses are delicious to smell not eat…or drink!

Zac shook his head and then waved his hand through the air, “It’s no big deal either, it’s just not like that between us! We are just great friends!” He said with nonchalant conviction. He took another drink of his water before saying, “I just can’t stand how Sarah doesn’t see how incredible she is! She told me on the phone that she thought she wasn’t that pretty and wondered why it was taking forever to find the right guy…” he shook his head distressed, “That is CRAZY! She is so beautiful. Any guy would be lucky to have her! And I know the man she gets will be amazing.”

I agreed with him.

~

Sarah glanced at herself once last time in the mirror. She curled her hair with a wide barrel curling iron that created waves a Victoria Secret Model would be envious of. Her brand new shirt from Express accentuated her slim and athletic build. She hoped Zac would notice. She had liked him for such a long time but she was about it just give up. A guy from the office was interested…very interested in her. He was sweet and kind too, maybe even perfect boyfriend material, but he just wasn’t Zac.

~

Zac’s silver jeep was immaculately clean and even though it was a year old it still had that new car smell. Sarah giggled at the thought of Zac owning a jeep of all vehicles when he hated things getting dirty. They were parked outside the Tinseltown Movie Theater with a good half-hour to blow before the next showing of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. A few snowflakes swirled in the frosty air outside. Zac burst open the driver’s door carrying a brown paper bag and two cups of coffee, a caramel macchiato for Sarah, black with one packet of sugar in the raw for him. The cold from outside instantly sucked out at least twenty degrees of heat making the car feel like a refrigerator box.

“Burr!” Zac exclaimed through clacking teeth as he handed Sarah the coffee. “I got it with extra foam and caramel…just like you like; even double checked it to make sure it was perfect.”

“Thank you! You are the best!” Sarah said clutching the drink in her hand. “And thanks for paying…”

Zac waved his hand and shook his head, “That’s what friends do.”

Sarah sighed as he said the word “friend”. He never would notice her, would he?

“Also, guess what else I got? A blue berry scone!” He said his eyes lighting up at the look of delight on her face. She looked simply stunning he thought.

“Yay!” She squealed opening the brown sack and reaching in to the divine goodness.

“You should feel very privileged too…because I would never let anyone else eat that crumb-maker in my car.” He laughed as he said it.

Sarah laughed and rolled her eyes, “I do, for a matter-of-fact.” They chatted back and forth moving effortlessly from one topic to the next. Finally Sarah’s love life came up.

“How about that guy at work; haven’t you gone on what? Four dates with him?” Zac asked with enthusiasm thinking of how he must be the friend Sarah needed.

Sarah stared down at the half-eaten scone that rested on a napkin on her legs. “I just don’t know about him. He’s nice and very gentlemanly to me but…” her words trailed off. She knew exactly why she didn’t want to start something with Jerry. She instead said, “There’s really no spark.”

“Sarah that’s great! What have I told you about the “spark”…its a scam…just a big lie!” Zac said even though he felt like he was on-fire, all-out twitter-pated when he was with Sarah.

“I know-he actually asked if I would be his girlfriend,”

“Really?”

Sarah nodded trying to read his expression. It wasn’t what she was hoping for. “You think I should just say yes then?”

Zac, using his fingers quickly pointed out the pros and cons Sarah had mentioned about Jerry. “So, what I am saying is you ought to give it a shot. If it doesn’t work out at least you tried right? And you don’t wanna pass up on a great guy.” As Zac said it he felt his soul screaming at him, begging him to just say, “No you shouldn’t date him…because I’m in love with you.” 

Sarah looked out the window so Zac wouldn’t see her eyes fill with tears. He really did think of her just as a friend. She pulled in a deep breath and said a solemn, “O-ok.”

~

Sarah married Jerry in May 2013. Zac couldn’t bring himself to go to the wedding.

~

My sister and Sarah got together with a few other friends for a girl’s night out. Sarah was so happy and so in love with her new husband Jerry. Her face glowed. Somehow the conversation turned to guys the girls had liked but things never worked out. Andrea suddenly asked Sarah, “Just out of curiosity, did you ever like Zac?”

Sarah nodded, “Oh my goodness, I was crazy about him! I liked him so much, he just never had those feelings for me.I finally gave up one day and ended up falling for Jerry!”

~

This was a true story.

~

A poem by John Greenleaf Whittier titled, “Maud Mary” has this powerful line at the end: “For all sad words of tongue or of pen, the saddest are these: “It might have been!” What’s worse than rejection?There are very few things..but regret…regret is worse. Take chances. Even though risks are risky…dare to risk.

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