The day was here. Finally here. Nervously here. Slow as molasses day dragging by here. I was constantly clockwatching that day. My brain in a constant pace, back-and-forth, wearing grooves into the floor of my mind. The only thing that kept me from letting my nerves completely take me over was the fact that we kept talking. All day talking. Texts that were more like conversations. And, all the songs traded, from him to me and from me to him.
I left work early. The drive home was full of unwanted traffic, the streets moving even slower than the day had. I thought I’d given myself more time to get ready. I hadn’t. Maybe that was a good thing though. Less time to think and stress and worry, not that I still couldn’t do that in a rush.
I chose my lucky black dress, the one I’ve worn to see so much music. The one I wore in San Francisco when I went to see my friend, and see music together. The “little black dress” is cliche, but some things are cliche for a reason. My oldest daughter had advised wearing something that felt comfortable, but still attractive. I was hoping this was it.
Make-up and hair. I wondered if he was nervous, too. I heard Iona’s voice saying “wishful makeup’ing” in Pretty In Pink. I was certainly wishing. Wishing we’d feel the same, if not more when we finally met. Wishing that he’d like me in-person. Wishing that we could be there already, maybe a month in, already an “us”.
I already felt like an “us”.
I was so glad I’d met him, and I was so nervous to meet him.
“Fidelity” by Regina Spektor
“Suppose I never ever met you.
Suppose we never fell in love.
Suppose I never ever let you.
Kiss me so sweet and so soft.
Suppose I never ever saw you.
Suppose you never ever called.
Suppose I kept on singing love songs,
just to break my own fall.”
All day I’d wanted to ask him if I could hug him when we saw each other. I wanted to ask if I’d get to kiss him. I wanted to say “I think I’m already in love with you”. But, I couldn’t say any of it.
All dressed and ready to go. My stomach was butterflies who joined the world wrestling foundation. My head was dizzy and my hands were shaking. I wanted my younger daughter to come out of her room and tell me how I looked. She was too busy. So, I opted to drive to where my oldest works to ask her. As I was leaving my younger one came out and joined me, not once looking at me nor commenting on how I looked.
Five minutes at the coffee place my daughter works at I got her thumbs up, as well as confirmation from her coworker. My other daughter finally noticed an said I looked pretty. None of it settled my nerves though. If anything, they were escalating to critical mass. I was at Defcon 1 million gazillion, and about ready to implode.
Traffic was still slow. And the street fair. How had I forgotten the street fair, and Summer, and Friday, and no parking anywhere. I parked and walked six blocks. I found a space by the park that I used to take the kids when they were little. Where I read so many books while they played. I had two books in my purse, brought along to make me feel better. Just like the music I listened to on the way there. Music and books are my totems, my magic, my means to breathe.
I finally saw him standing outside of Rudy’s. I wish I had a picture of him standing there. “Is it ok if I hug you” was on repeat in my head. I got closer until we were standing there, on the sidewalk, finally face-to-face.
He hugged me.
I didn’t want to let go.
I knew right then, for sure, that I was definitely, undoubtedly, completely in love with him.