Previously: The letter that not only brought me corporate glory, it brought me intriguingly closer to the man behind the ILM purchase orders. The co-workers’s face-to-face meeting with Cassidy and my new realization that he was real..and cute.
Sometime in April, Cassidy emailed me close to the 8pm workday about a rush order he needed placed that night. I wasn’t sure whether he wanted a quote first, or for me to just source the hardware and place the order for him. So I called him. We had never heard each other’s voices before. It was getting dark out already and I was fairly alone in my section of the office. My heart was literally pounding in my ears as I dialed his number. He answered pretty instantly, “This is Cassidy.”
“Hi..umm..this is Tamara? Tamara Klein? From (company name)?” Was my awesome first sentence to the love of my life.
He was warm and friendly, but slightly distracted. The talk lasted maybe two minutes. The order was placed 20 seconds after we hung up the phone with each other. My heart stopped pounding several, several minutes after that. Life went on but not for long. In late April, my newer Outside Sales Rep in Cali decided to pursue something else for awhile. Her accounts were once again in process to be switched. I was upset about it for several days, and even let Cassidy know about it at one point. My partner was leaving the team as well and the powers that be decided to let me handle only the Houston based sales rep and that was that. We tried in vain to fight it but it didn’t really make sense. So ILM wasn’t my customer anymore. On May 10, 2004 we got the official word on it and got really mad. I had laryngitis, which was pretty funny because I kept using my voice to plead with people to let me keep all of the George Lucas accounts. on May 11, 2004, Cassidy and I started talking about other things, and decided we were no longer mad. At all.
It was around 6:30 pm. I had an hour and a half left of work. After realizing we would no longer work together and that was that, he said:
“They just don’t want to rock the boat. I did send major kudos along to your boss, though. Keep in touch kid. Maybe we’ll work together again someday. 🙁 it’s always been a pleasure.”
Oh, my heart just broke at the finality of the statement. He was right. We had a work relationship that had been severed. Still, I wasn’t sure I could shut up and forget about it. We complained back and forth to each other for awhile. I told him that my partner was leaving too, which was what clinched the decision. I told him that my partner had other dreams for life. At that point, he asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I replied that I wanted to do something with Photography or Journalism, or a nice combo of the two. I said that I loved to smash around on my deluxe electronic keyboard but that I had never taken consistent piano lessons and so that particular potential gift would never be nourished. He told me to do anything at all, if it meant getting out of software/hardware sales. I told him that was always the plan. An hour after this back and forth started, famous last words were asked by him:
“have you ever seen a picture of me?”
My heart sped up. He sent me this picture, which really doesn’t show much!! He’s on the ground:
I sent him this picture, which I think shows a lot:
I was breaking out the big guns. Trying to impress him.
I wanted to leave him that night with an image in his mind of me. The mystery was unfolding. He knew what I looked like! 8pm quitting time came too fast after the picture exchange and I left, intrigued and wondering what the next day would bring, if anything at all. I’m not sure I slept well that night and I spent the next morning looking for new emails.
It took until mid afternoon to hear from him:
“You having a better day? How’s the voice? A couple beers and playing some rock and roll definitely did the trick last night.”
And thus the emailing courtship had not only begun, I knew it was going to be consistent. We talked about Jersey beaches and when I told him I lived in New Brunswick, without even knowing I had also gone to Rutgers, he replied, “Nice. Scarlet Knights territory, huh?” (BABY NAME SPOILER ALERT!) Then we talked about where we were from, where we have visited, and where we wanted to visit. We talked about blue whales and white sharks. Harry Potter jellybeans. I was bringing my “A” game. I know how to write descriptively and I knew I was a nearly 24-year-old hottie. (I miss thinking that) I had nothing to lose yet, and a whole world to gain. A few days passed and our emails heated up. We talked about waking life dreams and sleeping dreams. Music. Travel. How we both had sled dogs, so of course, many photos were exchanged. I also brought my Photography “A” game and sent forth a lot of my best 35mm work. We talked about our families.
Soon it was the first weekend since we had started intensely emailing. I learned to really hate weekends during the spring-into-summer of 2004. Long weekends, like Memorial Day, were the worst. We hadn’t graduated to phone or weekend emailing yet. We were still using our work email accounts! If anyone who worked the HelpDesk was reading my emails, they were probably getting an eyeful for months. Also, if anyone who was working the HelpDesk was reading my emails, thanks for never telling on me! Seriously. You rock. Especially around late May when we got awfully flirty. We still talked very abstractly about our own romance, if there was one. We talked about past relationships and current dating theories. We talked about relationships that had ended months ago (his) and were ending currently. (mine) One late afternoon I asked him what he “really” thought about Star Wars: Episode Two and he had to sneak into a conference room to call me and tell me. Cause, really? I thought Episodes I, II and III were complete crap. I admit it.
After the phone call, he sent an email with the subject, “That was nice..” Oh it was. Voice to voice! As we slowly got off email for the day, we got a little flirty and I got a little suggestive and so did he, but we were still being innocent, I swear! It was something to do with boredom and how to “compensate” but we were both actually talking about productive creativity and not like..masturbation..though it came out that way and I had to backtrack before I left to say I didn’t mean it that way! Early the next morning, he apologized profusely for thinking he said something offensive. I was floored that he cared enough to lose sleep over it and I instantly told him I hadn’t been offended at all. I liked that he was a gentleman.
Later that same day, he sent me the first clear picture of him that he had ever sent, after two weeks of emailing. I had to have him spell it out to me that he was the guy on the left, George Lucas unsmiling in the middle and his buddy on the right. Once I figured out who he was, a slow flush spread across my face and I called my good friend April over to see him. She gave me a grin and a thumbs up. I knew I was done being productive at work for the day:
Another picture followed:
And I said, “But I knew you’d have the kind of face and eyes that you (I) would smile at, or pause for a second to take in.”
He looked like the first guy I had a major crush on in high school mixed with a young Stewart Copeland from The Police. And I used to salivate over Stewart when watching videos of The Police. I still do. Cassidy was pretty much my 80’s childhood, 90’s coming-of-agehood fantasy come to life.
We talked more about love in late May. My recently ended relationship was still fresh but I thought I was beyond it. We mostly skated around the issue of our own “relationship.” It was clear we were falling for each other and we certainly flirted enough to prove it, but it just seemed so far away, so epic. The conversations we had would stop me dizzy in my tracks at what we had in common and what we talked about. It was so..deep. It was insane. Every time I forgot for a second what our chemistry would like, he would remind me so fast. As he wrote one late May afternoon:
“I only got 3 hours of sleep last night. I’m dragging juuuuuuust a little right now. spent a couple hours sitting on the back deck of a nice bar, watching the fog fly by above me. it was in North Beach, the Italian neighborhood in SF. I love North Beach. so many nice smells in the air. Sometimes when the front door opened I thought you might walk in. I thought I heard a pink jet above the fog. it could have been someone else’s pink jet I suppose. I wanted to take you out for midnight ravioli or something.”
Visions of California, which as of then, was a place that only existed in my wildest fantasies, but had never set foot in. And visions of seeing each other, being near each other, with each other. The delicious mystery separated by so many miles. I thought about what it would be like to walk into a restaurant in an exotic land (remember, I was from Jersey) and see him smiling at a cafe. My pulse quickened at the merest thought of it. And lastly, his mention of eating ravioli with me. Which is pretty much my favorite meal. And he didn’t know that then.
I’ll stop now, because the memories are making me dizzy and chill-ridden. Next up – pictures and more pictures. An inevitable plan for a meeting and the fate, karma, love and light that followed. Brace yourselves – it speeds up. Fast.