Thirteen years ago I was sitting at my desk at work very anxious for tonight. I was 24. I was single. Just couldn’t find the “right” guy. I felt like time was running out (yeah right) and I so badly wanted to find that guy. Tonight I was going on a blind date. It was my third blind date ever but the one I was most hopeful for. I had met this guy’s brother at my brother’s wedding and I thought, “how different could brothers be?”. The brother was funny, nice, cute, and most importantly, normal. My other blind dates hadn’t been so normal. One of them talked about his house in the Hamptons for most of the date and just couldn’t understand WHY I didn’t have one or why I wasn’t interested in getting one. He also told me everything I was interested in or liked was trite. I left the date totally insulted and feeling, well, trite. My other blind date suggested going to a “champagne lounge” for drinks but told me when we got there that he despised champagne and wanted to get sparkling apple cider instead. That was fun. And I ended up paying for it which was less fun. Needless to say, I was very hopeful that this blind date would be different. Better.
I sat at my desk and planned out my outfit. I still actually have the outfit. I can’t get rid of it (have I mentioned I’m a hoarder?) because it’s one of those memorable items that will forever sit in my closet. That fuzzy light blue sweater from Ann Taylor. My date told me it was soft that night. I tried to come up with an idea for where we should go. We had agreed on just drinks (an easy out if things didn’t go well). I imagined what we might talk about. I thought about what he might look like, sandy hair and blue eyes like his brother? Tall like his brother?
I rushed home from work, went for a manicure and got home to quickly change into my planned outfit. Black pants, fuzzy blue sweater, black boots. My roommate told me I looked pretty. I felt pretty. The buzzer rang to my NYC apartment and I pushed the intercom to let him know I’d be right down. (He later questioned why I didn’t invite him up. Was I embarrassed? I tried to explain that no girl (in her right mind) lets a stranger into her apartment on a first date.) The seven floors down to the lobby took forever. Where would he be standing? Would there be other people in the lobby so I’d have to guess which was him? My heart pounded as the doors to the elevator opened. And there he was. Standing behind the locked doors looking in. He was doing the “cool guy” stance with one knee bent, foot up against the wall behind him. Hands in his pockets. Dark, dark hair, dark, dark eyes. Not tall (but not short). Nothing like his brother. I smiled to myself because I liked what I saw. I opened the doors and shook his hand (awkward).
“Where should we go?” he asked and I told him I was up for anything. We decided on a pub. Pete’s Tavern, a cool downtown spot for drinks. We chatted the entire walk to the pub. Bumping shoulders here and there with easy conversation.
We arrived and the host asked us how many. “Just two of us” he said. And he added, “It’s a special night for us, our anniversary, so if you could please give us a nice table that would be great.” I laughed at his easy sense of humor. I’d later come to realize this was never an act. It would be what I would first fall in love with. We were seated at the window of the pub. A nice, quiet table amid a flurry of busy, drinking pub goers. We talked about our lives up ’till now. Our upbringing, our schools, our friends. We discovered each others basic interests and passions. Hours passed and we decided to get dinner as the beers were going down a little too easily. I remember laughing, a lot. I remember wondering if this guy was for real. He was so nice. He was that guy who inserts your name mid-sentence to emphasize that he’s interested in you. I liked him. I liked him a lot.
He walked me back to my apartment and led me into the lobby. He kissed me. Just a nice not too long, not too short kiss and said he hoped we could get together again soon. Me too. I went upstairs and sat on my bed. Happy. Relieved. Hopeful.
I called him the next day to thank him for a wonderful night. I wondered if he’d be ok with that. I wasn’t following the “rules” of waiting to call or waiting for HIM to call but I didn’t care. I wanted to hear his voice. I wanted last night to be real. I wanted another of last night.
Thirteen years. So many memories. Fantastic vacations, memorable dinners, quiet romance, hysterical laughter along with devastating sadness, confusing decisions, disagreement and some anger. Thirteen years I have loved him. He was that guy. He IS that guy. And I might know now that he isn’t THAT normal but he’s MY not-normal (who needs normal anyway?) guy, the perfect match for this not so normal, very tired, sometimes cranky, not-so-quick-to-give-it-up, but pretty cute (maybe?) girl.
Then (1996 – not sure why pic says 1994) and yes I’m wearing overalls