He asked me if I was ready to eat, motioning to the dining room.
“I think our table is ready,” he said.
We sat down, and our waitress (who had the look and name of a mermaid) greeted us. She had no menus.
“I heard from the chef you guys are doing ‘the experience,’ tonight?”
My date, D, nodded and ordered a bottle of wine, “The Prisoner,” he said. The waitress raised her eyebrows and left, returning with the manager, who uncorked our bottle and decantered it for us. I didn’t know what “The Experience” was and I’d never ordered a bottle of wine so nice it demanded additional attention.
“I hope you like the menu they have planned for us,” he said. “Are you a picky eater?”
I said no, and we got to talking. He was a year older than me, still trying to finish school, while working as a server. He was divorced with a 5-year-old daughter named Emma. He said he got married too young, and the split was amicable. His phone was full of pictures of Emma, who he took on “Daddy-daughter dates” on Tuesday nights.
Course by course, our food arrived. We had soup, an appetizer, braised pork, muscles and pasta, and dessert. And two additional bottles of wine. The tables around us cleared, the bar was empty. We made friendly with our waitress and the manager, after the chef came out to our table to ask us if we enjoyed the meal.
With the permission of the staff, we stayed while they cleaned, dancing right in the dining room (where I actually fell, like a drunk ass). When we were both too tired and drunk to continue, we walked outside, and shared our first kiss.
It was nice. It was definitely one of the best dates I’d ever been on.
In the days after, I heard from D, but usually late at night. He was kind, said he missed me, but only asked me to hang out in groups, not for a second date. Eventually, I stopped hearing from him.
Over the course of the year, we would text occasionally, if something reminded us of each other. On Valentine’s Day this year, I was talking with a friend at work who said something that made me think of him. I decided to go for it, send him a text and let him know.
“Was just thinking about you, Happy Valentine’s Day, D!”
D: Crazy thing, I thought about you the other day. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too, Lucky!
ME: Aw, I hope it was a good thought?
D: Always a good thought when it comes to you.
We chatted some over the next few days, mostly just friendly chat. The following week, it started to get a little flirty, texting almost all day everyday, until he asked if he could call me one night. Of course!
We had a nice chat, clicked just like I remembered, and I asked him why he didn’t ask me on a second date if he supposedly had just as great a time as I did?
“I had an amazing time with you, but I wasn’t in a position to date. I hit a slump in my life, had to move back home for a little but, and was embarrassed. I was intimidated by you and didn’t think I had anything to offer you.”
TO BE CONTINUED…