I was nervous. He was nervous. There was this moment post-hug where our faces were so close I was tempted to kiss him. I wanted to. But, I didn’t. I remember wanting everyone around us to disappear. In a way they had. In a way it felt like it was just us standing there, walking in the door of the restaurant, standing inside. We spoke, but I couldn’t tell you what we said. All I really remember is how it felt standing next to him. The way all the hair on my arms stood up, like when you hear a song that moves you, how my stomach was in flips and flapping butterfly wings, and how my hands, and voice, were shaking. I wanted to touch him. I wanted more contact. The hug wasn’t near enough.
I was slightly annoyed when the hostess asked “how many” and led us to a table. I really just wanted the world to go away. But, we were in a restaurant, on a Friday night, and it was busy.
We sat across from each other. Talking. Nerves still electric between us. At least we both had them. I wished there was something to do with my hands. Chips. Salsa. But I had no appetite. My stomach was too topsy-turvy. And, any bite I took stopped me from talking, and I wanted to keep talking to him.
He was so beautiful to me. So handsome. His eyes, that had attracted me first, were warmer and more expressive than I could have imagined. Even kinder than I’d first thought. I wanted to touch him even more. It felt almost torturous to have this table between us.
“That’s How Strong My Love Is” by Otis Redding
“I’ll be the ocean so deep and wide,
and catch the tears whenever you cry.
I’ll be the breeze after the storm is gone,
to dry your eyes and love you warm.
That’s how strong my love is.”
We sent the waiter away without our order multiple times. Really, couldn’t everyone just go away? We did finally order, though I could have cared less about eating. All I wanted to do was sit there and look at him, and tell each other things. All I wanted was to get to know him more.
Big things, little things, all kinds of living things we talked about. There were some heavy moments, and the things we shared that were personal and weighty. I felt from the start that I could say anything to him. The walls around me were chipping and falling off with every moment that passed, and with every bit of ourselves, we shared.
The time sped by in an eyeblinks time. All of a sudden it was closing time. We’d closed the place down. Together. Talking. Laughing. Losing ourselves in each other. Though I didn’t want the night to end yet, I couldn’t wait to not have a table between us. I really just wanted to find somewhere to sit next to each other, close enough to touch, even if it was just a brush of an arm or leg.
As we stood to go I was overcome with the desire to kiss him. Its all I could think of. Or maybe I didn’t think at all. I just felt it. The want. And so I leaned in, CLUMSILY, and kissed him. Electricity. Even in the clumsiness, there was so much spark between us. We kissed again, straight on, less haphazardly. Again I wanted the world to disappear. I wanted it to just be him and me, kissing.
But, the restaurant was closing. We had to go.
I kept thinking, repeating to myself – I’m not ready to leave you yet. I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready to leave you.
He asked me if I had to go. I said no. We decided to get a drink. Down and across the street. He took my hand. HE TOOK MY HAND. It may have been a small gesture to him, but it was everything to me. I couldn’t remember the last time someone held my hand that wasn’t a child of mine. Not in years and years.
Could we just freeze time, there on the sidewalk, holding hands and kissing. I didn’t think it could get any better than right there, right then. Us.