It was only a week until Halloween, and Maine’s weather had finally decided to shake out of its funk and become more predictable.
Ridiculously out of place sunny and 70 degree days had been replaced today by 40, overcast, and windy. The way life was supposed to be this close to The Great Pumpkin’s arrival.
The cooler weather did not deter Holly and Aaron from claiming their usual places on their favorite bench that overlooked the Penobscot River. The only difference was that Holly wore a knit hat and sipped from a larger cup of coffee.
Unlike the Maine weather, Aaron didn’t change. He drank his Snapple, adjusted his Yankees cap against the wind, and acted like everything was exactly the same. Just the way he preferred it.
Aaron glanced at his wrist like he didn’t understand what she meant, and then he got it.
“I thought I was the poster boy for the joys of the introverted life,” he replied.
“It’s a big poster. Now where’s your FitBit?”
“It’s a long story…” he warned.
Holly shrugged. “That’s my favorite kind. The only thing more alarming than you without your FitBit would be you without that wretched hat.”
“Don’t hate on my Yankees just because your Red Sox got knocked out of the playoffs,” he advised.
“I don’t need a reason to hate on the Yankees,” she reminded him. “They always suck.”
Aaron didn’t want to waste time on basic Red Sox fan logic, so he simply smiled at his best friend and took a long sip of his iced tea.
“As you know, my FitBit has been crapping out on me lately. It never wants to charge, the battery drains way too quickly, and now it’s been turning off at random times. Just the other day, it died while I was on my way down here for a run. So I did three miles, and didn’t get credited with any steps.”
Holly made a pouty face. “Your life is very hard.”
He flipped her the bird. She chuckled.
“You’ve already stated that I hate change, but I also dislike not knowing what time it is when I’m at work. The damn thing kept dying during the day, and every time I’d glance down at my wrist to check the time, there would just be a blank watch face staring back at me.”
“Do you work in a casino?” Holly challenged. “Surely there must be clocks on the walls.”
“Hey, who’s side are you on?” he demanded.
“Whatever side elicits the more interesting tale out of you,” she quipped with a chuckle and then raised her enormous coffee cup, which blocked her beautiful face from his view momentarily.
“I was pissed, so I decided that was the perfect mood for calling FitBit Customer Service.”
Holly nodded her emphatic agreement. “I hope you busted out the Brooklyn accent…”
“You know me too well,” he assured her with a wink. “So I go into my whole angry explanation, which was only more tinged with grumpiness because the FitBit guy kept making me repeat my email address for him.”
“Exactly!” he almost shouted. “My theory is that they keeping asking you to repeat your email address as a psychological ploy to assert dominance. But I’m no fool. I knew exactly what he was doing, so I shouted it at him louder and louder, and then spelled it out nice and slow like he was a tiny child with brand new ears.”
Holly laughed. “I would never want to deal with you in a customer service situation.”
Aaron smiled proudly like that was an awesome compliment. “After all that, he determined that my device wasn’t working correctly because my phone was so old that I could not download the latest version of the FitBit app to sync the damn thing.”
Holly nodded because that made perfect sense.
“I’m always telling you that your phone is ancient. It’s like two steps above a rotary phone. I’m stunned when a text message from you makes it through to me.”
Aaron rolled his eyes and then pulled a shiny, new phone from his pocket.
“Look who just time traveled from the twentieth century to the twenty-first,” he bragged as he handed over the new device for her to inspect.
“This is awesome,” she had to admit. “It has a screen larger than a movie ticket, and a keyboard that will allow your giant fingers to actually type out a message that’s not littered with typos. That means I can stop acting like a World War II code breaker whenever you send me a text.”
“I’m sure you will miss the challenge,” he said with more than a little snark as he snatched away the phone and returned it to his pocket.
“So if you have a new phone, why aren’t you wearing your FitBit?” Holly asked in confusion. “Is it because you can’t figure out how to download apps? Give it back and I can do it for you while we are sitting here…”
She held out her hand, but Aaron slapped it away.
“I know how to download apps,” he growled. “I’m a socially awkward introvert, not a caveman. I put the app on the phone, synced the device, and all was well with the world. Change had seemingly worked in my favor, but it was foolish of me to believe such nonsense.”
While she enjoyed teasing Aaron about being set in his ways, she didn’t like to see him fail when he finally tried something new. Such setbacks would only make him retreat further into his shell, and she much preferred it when he was outside injecting her life with his unique brand of sunshine.
“It’s died four times since I bought the phone and downloaded the app,” he sighed. “Clearly, the goddess Nike does not wish for me to just do it. She wants me to sit around, become an obese version of my once fit and trim self, and die alone of heart failure…”
Holly scooted a little closer on the bench, and placed a comforting hand on his leg.
That immediately caused goosebumps to cover every inch of Aaron’s body, but he could not react and risk having her notice what happened when she touched him.
“I know you’re only joking, but there’s also some truth to your comment,” she said in her most soothing voice. “Higher powers are not out to get you, and The Machines are not manipulating you as part of their master plan to enslave mankind. You simply have a crappy fitness tracker, and we can solve this problem by buying you a new one.”
“I don’t want to buy a new one!” he snapped as he crossed his arms over his chest like a bratty child. “I already shelled out money for a new phone. I’m not going to give Big Exercise another penny of my hard earned money. We both know they can make trackers that last for decades, but they choose to make them flimsy so we have to fork over another two hundred bucks every two years for a new one. They’re not going to make a chump out of me, sister!”
Holly fought back a smile because she didn’t want to reward his immature behavior.
“Then how do you plan to keep track of your steps?” she challenged. “We both know that you’re addicted to running and increasing your daily step count.”
She stared at him, demanding he try to give her another wise ass answer.
“I was thinking we could go running together, and I’ll just use whatever number your FitBit says at the end of our run,” he answered with a sweet smile.
She wanted to be angry at him, but she loved the idea of running together. Anything to spend more time with him, and try to get through those walls he’d build around his heart.
“Fine,” she replied. “But if we’re using my FitBit, then I get to choose the route.”
“Fine,” he replied.
They both acted like they were angry, but inside, but were both thrilled with this plan.