It is our second date.
Our first date after our coffee date. So, in my mind, this is our first real date. I am wearing my favorite gray Calvin Klein dress. It’s just short enough, but not too short and hits mid thigh. To keep off the Fall chill I’m wearing my light brown suede jacket and–because I can–my pre-Benjamin stiletto booties.
I am proud of myself for picking out an outfit so quickly, considering how daunting it had been to get dressed before the coffee date.
He texts me that he is parked around the corner, behind the bushes, where I know Benjamin can’t spot him. I kiss Benjamin good-bye, wish the sitter good luck and dash out the door. Per the sound and logical advice of my girlfriends, we have waited four days to see each other again. But, it has felt like weeks. Typically four days would be nothing for me, a splash in the water, nothing. But on each night we’ve spend hours on the phone talking and each night, I’ve woken up at 3:00 or 4:00 AM wide awake with anticipation.
“This is nuts,” I tell myself every morning when I wake up, not even tired.
“This is crazy, isn’t is?” says Meg Ryan.
“No, that’s what’s so crazy about it,” says Rosie.
That line from Sleepless in Seattle makes sense now and every obnoxious jilted love song on the radio doesn’t. What are those people even wasting their time on? It should just make sense from the start and always.
One night I tell him, “I haven’t talked to a boy on the phone for this long since middle school.”
He laughs. I love his laugh and notice that I can produce it easily. But then I wonder, does he talk to all of the girls this much? When I ask him this he pauses, taken aback, and says, “No. I don’t talk to all of the girls this much.”
Suddenly, I feel ashamed for asking in such an accusatory way and realize that was my baggage speaking for me. I make a mental note and in the future, when the time is right, I apologize to him. His response is completely accepting, “Sweetheart, that’s okay – you have every right to be cautious, you’ve been hurt before. You don’t owe me any apologies.” He accepts me, baggage and all.
In this moment as I’m walking and not trying to run, as I’m trying to look cool and calm and not utterly petrified as I turn the corner into the bushes, I try to forget about my baggage. When I see his face, it all melts away. My nerves, my anxiety. The only thing left is a peaceful contentment.
“Hi,” he says with a smile before he scoops me up into a hug, “How are you?”
“Better now,” I say.
He pulls the door open for me. I thank him quietly, feeling awkward, as I always have when men show me chivalry. When we start driving I look down at my hands and they’re shaking in my lap. The nerves are back.
“I’m sorry,” I say, “but I’m so nervous right now. I go out on a lot of dates. This is not like me, at all.”
“Me, too!” he says, “I’ve been totally nervous all day. And no, I’m not normally like this with all the girls.”
We laugh and then I snap my head into the back seat. Something has caught my eye. Something pink. With a full view, I see it’s the pink arm of a car booster seat. And then I see the other blue seat on the other side. Two car seats. Empty, of course, but I can imagine them there while he’s driving. Their awesome dad with his great big smile and his great big laugh and his great big heart.
Finally on the other side of the dating single parent spectrum, I blurt out, “Now, that is hot.”
He laughs again and I say, “No, really, you have no idea.”
“Oh, I definitely do.”
On another night three months later, we were still laughing just like we were on that first, second date… and taking goofy pictures.
Still haven’t decided on a name for him, but your feedback is simmering and baking. Thank you for that and for sticking with my totally boring blog, as it has become a love nest. But, hooray for love and damn the torpedoes.