I know… This is supposed to be a wedding series, and here I am talking about how I met my husband, and now our first date. But I feel like these are important stories in the development of our relationship, and they are things that should be discussed before I get into anything about the wedding.
It was a Tuesday night, and we had plans to meet at a restaurant not far from where I lived. I was so excited, I literally had to distract myself to keep from trying to start getting ready too early. I don’t think I had ever been as nervous or excited for a first date as I was for this one. Every guy I had dated up until this point had been someone I knew. Someone I had developed some sort of a relationship with before going out on a date with them. Earle was the first perfect stranger I had ever gone out on a real date with.
I mean sure, I had gone out with a few randos in the past, but never someone that I had been fawning over for months. Plus, he was absolutely the most handsome guy who had ever been interested in me. It was really exciting.
I arrived at the restaurant and just sat in my car for a while, trying to calm my nerves and get the courage to walk in. As I sat there, feeling as though my stomach was a gymnast training for the Olympics, I heard the text message tone from my phone that was specific to him. The tone that made my heart skip a beat every time I heard it go off. He was there, and he was waiting for me at the bar.
This was it. It was time to go inside.
I walked in and scanned the bar, and sure enough, there he was. Wearing a black polo shirt and a pair of dark-blue jeans. He was sipping on a rum and coke, and watching football on the TV. I approached, tapped his shoulder, and snagged the seat next to him. He looked at me and smiled. A smile that was so dreamy, but also conveyed what seemed like a look of relief, like he couldn’t believe I had actually come. Me.
We were both a little awkward at first, not knowing whether we should hug, or not. We didn’t.
I ordered my drink, and asked if he wanted to order anything to eat. He said he wasn’t hungry, and I was relieved, because I was most definitely too nervous to even think about trying to eat, (which is really quite funny, because later I found out that the reason he “wasn’t hungry” was actually because he was also too nervous to eat).
I was so nervous, that I had no idea what to say. Luckily, he seemed to be quite prepared, as he had a long list of “get to know you” questions ready to go. He would ask me a question about myself, I would answer, it would spark conversation, and then I’d ask him the same question in return. Superheroes, dinosaurs, sports, family, friends, childhood stories, work, relationships and drunken memories were among a few of the things we’d discussed that night.
We got to know a lot about each other over those hours at the bar, and I’m pretty sure we both realized pretty quickly that we just seemed to be perfect together.
The night went by way to fast, and before I was ready, it was already over. He paid for our drinks and we walked out together. As we made our way through the parking lot, I was telling him about a little fender bender I had been involved in. It had happened in the parking lot of the Publix where he worked, so I felt it was a fitting thing to discuss.
He walked over to my car with me to see the damage. I think I was just trying to do whatever I could to make the night last longer, to keep the date going, even if just for a few minutes more.
I pulled my keys out of my purse and fumbled with them as I smiled and told him I’d had a really nice time. He agreed and suggested that we go out on another date the following week. I smiled and nodded in agreement, and then we just stood there for a few moments, looking into each others eyes. (I know this probably sounds really cheesy, but it’s all true and it was so exciting and romantic). Finally, just as I was deciding to reach for my car door, he grabbed my hand, pulled me into him, and kissed me on the mouth.
I remember every detail of this moment so perfectly. How soft his lips felt against mine. The intoxicating smell of his skin. The placement of his hands on on the back of my neck and around the small of my back, pulling me into his strong embrace, squeezing gently, yet firmly at the same time. No space between us. A seed for love being planted. It was a perfect first kiss. The best first date I had ever had. And it lead to a relationship that has been more amazing than I could ever ask for.
When I got home, the familiar chime of my phone sounded and my heart skipped another beat. “You are so amazing, and very beautiful.”
I responded with a smiley face emoji, and thanked him for a lovely date and let him know that I couldn’t wait for the next one. And that night, I went to sleep with air in my chest, songs in my head, and a smile painted on my face.