So, where were we?
Ah yes. Our first date. After dinner, out on the sidewalk, hands held, and the overwhelming desire to make all time stop. Right there. Right then. With us out there in the warm evening. Together.
But, time doesn’t freeze, does it? And the world around us was moving about and felt distracting, chaotic. The street fair was dismantling. We had to walk around people and things being taken down and put away. I don’t remember who asked what next. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was him. I remember agreeing that we weren’t ready for the night to end. And, if I recall correctly, he asked if there was somewhere we could sit together and have a drink.
I knew there were places. Some that I’d been to, others I’d just seen passing by. But my head was full of electricity and excitement, my stomach still full of flapping, fluttering butterflies, and I could not think of anything. So, we walked. We crossed the street. We spotted London, a pub type place that I’d heard about, but never been inside. I was hoping for something akin to an English pub, as it seemed to look, and as the name suggested. Or even a dive, preferably half-empty (or more), and dark, with good music. It was none of those things.
The music was dance-pop bad. It was crowded and loud. But, we were there and at least there were places to sit outside. I excused myself to the bathroom as he went to order us drinks. Two rum and diet cokes. A favorite drink of mine since I first started ordering drinks. In the bathroom I sent a quick text to my oldest daughter, telling her how wonderful the date was. How wonderful he was. Kind, funny, interesting. And, how I didn’t want the night to end. She responded back quickly with “awwww”. I sent off another quick text to a good friend who had sent a message to me earlier in the evening, asking about our writing group the next day. I told her I’d see her then and that I was actually out on a date, something unexpected had happened, something amazing. She also responded back quickly saying that she wanted many details tomorrow.
My nerves were back, but not as extreme. These were more of the excited kind, with desire and hopefulness weaved through in a myriad of colors. I felt like music (and not the bad dance-pop type) was spinning through me. I couldn’t wait to be out there with him again, but I needed to catch my breath. I told myself to slow down, to not get carried away. I reminded myself that timing was not great and that I’d just gone through something that ended badly. That I was still hurt. That I should be cautious and careful. But, as I turned to go back out the door a bigger part of me said “fuck it. I want this” and an overwhelming “this feels right. More than right. This feels like everything”.
Slowing down was something that would never happen with us, and I think at that moment I knew that for certain. And, even though I was scared, I welcomed it. I wanted all of it. I wanted him and us.
“Heroes” by David Bowie
“And we kissed,
as though nothing could fall.“
We made our way outside, finding a table, and taking seats across from each other. It felt to far from each other. After that first kiss, and a few others on the street, and after holding hands, I wanted to be closer. I didn’t like not being able to touch him. But, I stayed where I was, basking in the fact that at least I could look at him. See his eyes. Watch his lips move as he talked. And let him take my hands in his every so often.
I barely touched my drink. Like the food before, it seemed to be the last thing I wanted. But I took a few sips here and there. I remember it was strong, but not strong enough to cut through the way I felt. We talked about music. The conversation seemed to flow easier as our nerves unfurled. It felt more like the ease of our texts, even easier at times. Nick Cave was discussed. Favorite albums and songs. How we wanted to see him live sometime. Maybe together? We talked about the upcoming X show he’d asked me about in one of our first text exchanges. We talked in a way that seemed like we’d known each other for much longer than we had like we’d been dating for months. It really didn’t feel anything like a first date anymore.
Before we were ready to even think of leaving a security person came by and said we had to take our drinks inside. I think he gave a reason, but I didn’t hear. Like the hostess and the wait staff that kept interrupting us at the restaurant, his presence felt like an intrusion. I really wanted everyone but us to just go away. I never remember feeling that way before. With anyone. All I wanted was just to be with him, and nothing else.
We abandoned our drinks. I think he finished his. Mine was still halfway there. I honestly didn’t care at all. We walked back out on the sidewalk and I exhaled happily, like in relief, that I got to be close to him again. That I could touch him again. We still were nowhere near ready to leave, but where could we go now?
I vividly remember thinking that if he asked me – right there – to hop in his car and run away with him to anywhere, that I would have said yes.
My car was parked about six blocks from the downtown street we were on. By a park. I hadn’t thought much that it was there until right then. It is a small park, with a gate around it. A park that always seemed private. I remember when my kids were small I’d take them there and we’d always be the only ones. Never another kid. It always seemed like a secret park we’d stumbled on. I mentioned it and asked if he wanted to walk to my car and sit in the park for a while together.
We made our way there, to the secret park, hand-in-hand. We talked excitedly. My heart was pounding crazily in my chest. As we neared the park he said that what he was going to ask me might sound crazy and then he asked if he could call me his girlfriend. That crazily pounding heart of mine? It skipped about eight beats and nearly burst out of my chest. At some point, I swear I’d turned into a swoony teenager who just had the boy she liked ask her to prom.
I said yes. Of course. And said something about the fact that we were getting married tomorrow anyway, so it only made sense.
(Flashback to when he’d texted me about getting married, and I said we should have dinner first – well, we’d had dinner)
I vividly remember thinking that if he’d asked me again – to marry him – right there, outside of the secret park, I would have said yes.
We found a picnic table type bench to sit at. Close. Close enough to touch. To hold hands. To kiss and kiss and kiss. I had to keep touching him. My hands had to be on him at all times. On his hands. His chest. His arm. His leg. We talked, but I don’t remember about what. All I really remember was being that close. To how perfect it felt. How this felt like a dream, one I’d had since I was a young girl, but never thought was possible to feel with someone. I could feel years and years of hurt, of pain, of disappointment, of loss, of loneliness start to fall off me. Pieces flying off into the night. And the wall I’d built around me for all those many years, and more…I could feel it cracking.
I looked at him. Those kind eyes I’d noticed when I first saw his picture. All these spots on his face that I already adored and wanted to touch and kiss. I heard his voice and felt his fingers lacing in-between mine. I felt his lips on mine. The passion there. The heat. The unmistakable pull. And right then I knew it for sure. How I felt.
I could see us in the future. Age and time having their way as age and time do. Some thirty years from that moment. I could see us still sitting close together. Hands entwined. Talking and not talking. Being happy together. Being us.
I knew I wanted every moment I could have with him. Every single one. As much as I could get.
I knew, without a doubt, that I loved him. That I had completely fallen in love with him.
Told you there was no slowing down.
It was far too late for that.