The Most Awkward Date Ever, Part 3

                “You wore your hair up yesterday,” Mama said as I came out of the bathroom. She struck a pose, fluffing her own luxurious long hair. “Micah needs to see it in all its glory!”

                I can always depend on my Mama to make sure I put my best foot forward. I followed her advice and took the necessary time to blow-dry and style my waist-length hair. I don’t remember what I wore that day, but I know I looked good. When Micah came through the front door, I caught an expression on his face that I hadn’t seen before, and I swear there were flames in his eyes. It was just a moment, but it was enough. I felt the smug smile wash over my face. I had his attention. For some reason, he just didn’t want to show me. The most he would say was, “You look nice today,” as he opened the car door for me.

                After church, I changed into something more practical, and we went to town for a walk again. I took him to one of my favorite thinking spots- the baseball field up on the hill. It’s almost always lonely and quiet. You can hear the wind through the trees, and the birds on the hills across town, but nothing else.

                We talked easily again, about anything and everything. As we were walking up the hill, a particular bird called out, and Micah looked around, grinning. “That’s awesome! I saw quail in the road this morning, and that was a chukar just now!”

                “What’s the difference between a quail and a chukar?” I asked. “I know they’re different birds, but I can’t tell them apart.”

                “Well,” he said, “A quail is the smaller one, and the males have the little feather on top of their heads. Chukar are a little bigger than quail, and they run really fast with their heads forward, like this.” And then, the six-foot-four-inch man did an excellent impression of a chukar. For about three seconds. When I giggled, he straightened up and looked back at me. “And there is no reason ever to tell anyone that I just did that.”

                We sat in the grass, just listening to the sounds, enjoying each other’s company. It was one of those lovely early spring days where the air is fresh and warm. We sat about as close as we could without actually touching. Everything felt so natural, and I wanted him to put his arm around me, to hold my hand, to whisper in my ear, and maybe steal a kiss. My mind wandered along this path constantly, and I kept having to remind myself that we were STILL ON OUR FIRST DATE. It just felt like we’d been like this forever.

                He scooted a few feet away from me, and lay back in the grass, closing his eyes. Then, I tackled him.

                No, not really. I just sat there and wondered if he had heard my thoughts and freaked out.

                “I have a confession to make,” he said suddenly.

                My stomach plummeted. “Okay.”

                He turned and looked at me. “It was great meeting your family. They’re awesome. I just… I haven’t told my family about you yet.”

                I frowned. I supposed it was understandable. I lived at home, and he didn’t. It was easier for him to leave out certain details of his life. Still, it bothered me a little. “Why not?”

                “Well, it’s silly, but I thought they’d make fun of me for meeting someone from the internet. I kind of figured I’d wait until I’d met you in person. Till we had something more concrete.”

                I hesitated. “Are you going to tell them soon?”

                 “Yeah.” He grinned at me. “Yeah, I am.”

                Micah stayed until the sun began to set. He had to work in the morning, and it was a four-hour drive back for him. I walked him to his truck, and he gave me another hug that felt like so much more. He looked like he wanted to say something, but he finally just smiled and said, “Well, I’ll call you when I get back.”

                I nodded, feeling a heaviness come over me. I didn’t want him to go, but I felt dumb longing for him to stay. You just met the guy. Calm down.

                I went back inside. I checked my e-mail, I tried to play my guitar, but nothing sounded right. About an hour later, my phone rang.

                “Hey,” Micah’s voice came through the phone. I could practically hear his smile.

                I laughed. “You can’t possibly be home yet.” I was grinning so hard, it hurt. I missed him already, darn it.

                “No, but I couldn’t wait any longer to call you. I’ve been talking to my parents on the phone. I told them everything about you, and they can’t wait to meet you.”

                I thought my heart would explode. When I could speak, I asked, “So, I take it you liked me?”

                “Oh yeah. Are you kidding me? You’re amazing! The only reason I’m going home right now is that I need to work to make money so I can come see you again as soon as possible. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have left. I think I’m crazy about you.”

                I sat there smiling like an idiot for several moments before I remembered he couldn’t see me. “I really liked you too. I’d love to come over and meet your parents soon.”

                                “I’m sorry I was a little standoffish today,” he said after a while. “I didn’t want to be too forward and scare you. I wanted to hold your hand all day. I wanted to put my arm around you when we were at the baseball field. And I almost kissed you before I left tonight. Just so you know, if you expect me to wait a while to kiss you, you can’t look at me like that.”

                I laughed for a long time at that, feeling all the tension and worry and insecurity melt away. This was brand new territory for me, and I knew I was going to enjoy every moment.

                So, there you have it. The Most Awkward Date Ever. Like a fairy tale, our romance blossomed very quickly. Within five months, he had relocated to my town and we were married. It might sound a little crazy. Heck, it might BE a little crazy, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

                I’m VERY glad that I’m not so awkward around my husband, seven years later. I hear people talk about a seven-year-itch, or about how they feel like all the newness has worn off. While I know what they mean, and it’s definitely different, I have waited a long time for the security and peace that comes with knowing someone so well that you can see his heart in everything, and you know he sees yours as well.Image

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The Most Awkward Date Ever, Part 2

                This is so stupid.

 

                Not a common thought for a first date with someone you really like, I suppose. As I sat across from Micah at the little diner I’d chosen for lunch, that was the loudest thought in my head. My cheeks were hot. I could not maintain eye contact to save my life. Micah watched me, an easygoing smile on his face. My stomach flipped and churned, and I could barely eat a thing. I hated people watching me while I ate, especially good looking men who can’t seem to stop staring.

                I made a face, which elicited a burst of laughter from my date. “Not what I was expecting you to do!” He flashed his dimples, shaking his head in amusement.

                I wanted to bash my head into the table. Was I always this awkward? No! Never! (Don’t ask my siblings to confirm that.) Maybe I should explain my brief dating history, so you can understand just how demented this was for me.

                It was brief. I didn’t date a lot. I’d had one “serious” boyfriend, and only one other that I would consider admitting we’d been in a “relationship”. Both had pursued me. I’d had a few people that I’d gone out with a few times, but we didn’t really have enough in common, and they all fizzled out. I had been the one to initiate a conversation with Micah. This was very odd for my shy, introverted self, and now that I had him, I didn’t know what to do with him! Not to mention, my usual icy mask that I kept in place with people I didn’t know very well had melted off the first moment he smiled at me. I felt exposed and vulnerable, and like the ridiculous amount of attraction I felt toward him was written across my forehead. Maybe that’s why he was staring at me.

                “You can’t stare at me while I’m eating,” I blurted.

                Micah raised his eyebrows. “I’m sorry, does it make you uncomfortable?”

                Great, now I’m scaring him off. I nodded, feeling my cheeks burn again.

                Micah just grinned at me. “I’ll file that one away for later.”

***

                To this day, hearing music from Fiddler on the Roof makes me feel nostalgic at first, then wildly uncomfortable, and finally I start blushing and fidgeting. It was probably the best idea for this particular first date. It gave me a chance to sort my thoughts and get more comfortable being near Micah. I still don’t know what it was about him. Maybe his vast height, or maybe his intense gaze. Whatever “it” was, being close to him made me feel positively electric. I didn’t know whether to run away screaming or throw myself at him.

                Throughout the show, he would lean over to ask me a question or comment on the production, and over the course of three hours, my pulse settled down to a more manageable rate. By the time we left the theatre, we were laughing and talking easily. We still had a little time before dinner, so I led Micah on a brief tour of my little town. He told me about bird hunting with his dad nearby, and how he’d often thought of relocating to the area. Being from the rainy side of the state, the idea of much less rain was appealing to him.

                While everything seemed to be going wonderfully, I couldn’t help feeling a bit discouraged. We had exchanged emails, chats, and phone calls almost daily for two months. We had talked constantly about things that mattered to us, asked questions, even talked about the future. Neither one of us was looking at this meeting as a possible new acquaintance. We had shared very personal information, and most recently, there had been quite a bit of flirting going on. Today, though he was the absolute definition of kindness, Micah was being positively platonic.

                That’s it, I thought. He thinks I’m insane. He’s probably going to leave in the middle of the night and change his phone number.

                The thought made me really sad, because I REALLY liked him. Not only was he fun to be around, kind, and ridiculously handsome, but I also knew that his values lined up with mine completely, and that was a very rare find. This could be a match made in heaven…if only he felt the same way.

                ***

                I took him to meet my parents on the very first date. Oh yes I did. If you think about it, with all the communication we’d had, it was not REALLY a first date, and we didn’t know when the second date would be, but it was still a little nutso. It was very important to me, however, that I keep my family in the loop. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just running away with my feelings. We had dinner with my parents and my baby sisters, and everything was great. The only problem was the food, as always. My dad had prepared a delicious steak dinner. For some reason, I’d always had trouble with steak knives. I had never really figured out the mechanics of cutting meat. At home with my family, I didn’t think twice about stabbing it with a fork and just eating it however. But what was I supposed to do now? The last time I’d tried to cut it, I’d ended up flinging a large hunk of meat across the table. Thankfully, my dad got the message when I shot him an anxious look across the table. He grinned, taking my plate from me, and cut up my steak into bite-sized pieces.  Because I’m in kindergarten.

                Micah got a chuckle out of the explanation, but at least no one was injured during dinner, and I got to enjoy the yummy steak!

                After dinner, we decided to watch a movie. “You and Micah can have the loveseat,” Mama said, grinning wickedly. Ha. Ha. Ha.

                It would have been fine if it were not for the fact that Micah was about twice my size, and there was no graceful way to keep gravity from making us snuggle. I kept slipping closer and closer to him. I was NOT going to snuggle with him for the first time in front of my giggling sisters, especially with the whole ‘We’re just friends’ thing he had going on. I spent most of the movie clinging to the arm of the loveseat to keep from rolling into him.

                After the movie, Micah got ready to head for the hills his hotel. I walked him to the door and used the awful cliché of “I had a great time”, wishing that just for a moment, I could act like a normal human being. He responded by pulling me into his arms for a hug. It was decidedly not a platonic hug. He stroked his hand through my hair and rested his cheek against mine. “Me too,” he whispered. Then he turned and left me standing there, feeling like I’d just been given the most passionate kiss of my life. Maybe he’d still be there tomorrow after all.

***

The Most Awkward Date Ever

I found this document while organizing some files today and had a good laugh. And yeah, it’s from my real life, but obviously, writing about my fake life is just not all that inspiring. 😛 Enjoy.

***

    Tomorrow. The day that I’d been looking forward to for over a month was upon me, and suddenly, I was more terrified than excited. I stood in front of my closet, rifling through my clothes, tossing possibilities on my bed. Normally a jeans-and-t-shirt kind of girl, I had no idea what to wear on my first date with the man I’d been exchanging emails with for the last six weeks. Not a dress. It was too cold. Jeans and t-shirt didn’t seem right either.

    There was a soft knock on my door.

    “Yeah,” I called, the stress evident in my voice, even to me.

    Mama opened the door and came inside, her eyes dancing with the excitement I should have been experiencing. “So, what are you going to wear tomorrow?” she asked, sitting down on the edge of my bed.

    “I don’t know!” I groaned. I blinked back tears of frustration. “I have no idea. It’s not a fancy date, but I want to look nice, and I just don’t have anything in the middle!”

    Mama gave me a sly smile. “Well then, I think we had better go shopping tonight. My treat.”

    I sniffed and gave a tearful laugh. Oh, mothers. They always know how to make it better.

 

***

    The next day, I stood in the middle of my studio, staring into the wall of mirrors. He would be meeting me here. He had just called to tell me that he was about ten minutes away. I checked the clock. No! That was ten minutes ago already! I stepped closer to the mirror to make sure I hadn’t smudged my mascara in my panic. I was happy with the outfit Mama had helped me choose. Nice-fitting khakis, a turquoise tank, and a copper slouchy sweater. I’d wound my long hair into a bun, and tried on about six different earrings before nixing them completely. Just a hint of sparkle graced my eyelids, which was perfectly in line with my one of my Grandma’s favorite bits of fashion advice: “Just a little glitter. Not too much, or you’ll look like a hooker.”

Simple, but cute. I drew in a deep breath, letting it out slowly. I was calm. I was cool. This wasn’t my first time on a first date. I could be cool. Noncommittal. Borderline icy. I had to be, because in my experience, if I let a guy think I was really interested right away, he’d think it was a done deal. Nope, can’t have that. I practiced my expression. Smiling, but smart. Guarded. You can’t win me over with flattery, saying all the right things. I’m done wasting my time on something that’s not real.

    I jumped at the sound of my phone ringing, then accidentally hung up when I saw his name on my phone’s screen. Muttering to myself, I redialed his number.

    “Did you just hang up on me?” The teasing voice asked.

    My heart leapt to my throat at the sound of his voice. Calm down. “Um, yeah. Are you lost?”

    “Nope. I see your studio. Just pulling in. I’ll see you in a sec.”

    I hung up again, closing my eyes. There is absolutely no reason to be nervous. You’ve talked to him every day since Valentine’s Day. You know him, you’ve seen pictures. He’s just a regular guy.

    I saw the door swing open in the lobby, but I was rooted to the middle of the studio. When he came through the door and smiled at me, my knees just about stopped working. He was ginormous. He had to duck his head to walk through the door. He wore blue jeans and a black fleece pullover with the Search and Rescue logo on it. My hero. The thought surfaced before I could push it aside, and I groaned inwardly. Pictures had not done him justice. I was always a sucker for a ruggedly handsome face, but really, I’d never felt so attracted to anyone as I did in that moment. And when he smiled, the dimples his pictures had only hinted at came into full view.

    I was done for.

    Calm down. Cool and smart, remember?

    I managed to unstick my feet from the floor and crossed the room to meet him, a shaky smile pasted on my face. “Nice to meet you, Sir,” I said teasingly, extending my hand to him.

    He grinned and took my hand, but only long enough to pull me against him in a hug. I found my face buried in warm fleece below his chest, my hands brushing over rippling-

    Well, I never found out exactly, because I giggled and disentangled myself from his arms as quickly as I could. He smelled like sunshine and a windy hilltop. I shook my head, trying desperately to regain some semblance of composure.

    “Want a tour?” I blurted, louder than necessary.

    He grinned again. Kill me now. “Sure! This is a cool place!”

    I returned the smile, then spun on my heel and headed toward the back of the studio, babbling on about who knows what. Filling the air, most likely. I don’t even remember what I was saying, because all I could hear was the pounding of my pulse. This was ridiculous for me. I was always the cool one. I was always the one in control. It’s the only way it ever worked into something that wouldn’t break my heart or damage me in some way in the end. I was losing, and I was losing fast. Air. I need air.

    “Ready to go?” I asked when I found myself back in the middle of the studio. “We could grab some lunch before the play.”

    “Sure.”

    We walked side by side out the door and onto the red brick sidewalk. “Where are you parked?” I asked, bouncing on my toes. No one else in sight, but I wanted to get out of town as fast as possible. In this town, it’s hard to go anywhere without seeing someone you know, who will then mention it to your grandmother (Who you purposely didn’t tell about this weekend’s date), who will then tell everyone else that you were importing a husband from the other side of the state.

    I didn’t hear his response, because my eyes caught sight of an elderly woman emerging from the shop just a few doors down. When I saw her bright burgundy puff of hair, my stomach dropped to my knees. Oh sweet Lord.

    The woman turned, and an expression of surprise, pleasure, and curiosity flashed across her pretty face. Her red lips parted as she smiled. “Well hi there!”

    I sighed and grinned back at her. “Hi Grandma!”

    My grandmother started sauntering over to us. Don’t ask me how. Even at 72 years old, the woman could saunter.

    “That’s your grandma?” Micah whispered.

    “Yes. Um, don’t take anything she says too seriously.”

    “What?”

    I didn’t have time to answer, because my petite grandmother stood in front of us, holding a basket on her hip and giving me a look that clearly said, “We’ll be discussing this later, my dear.”

    “Grandma, this is Micah.” I said, offering no other explanation.

    “Betty,” she said, taking Micah’s extended hand and giving him a once over. Twice.

    “Nice to meet you, Betty,” Micah said warmly.

    “What are you two up to?” Grandma asked.

    “We’re going to a play,” I replied. “What are you doing? It’s your day off.”

    She reached into the basket and pulled out some unfinished embroidery. “Oh, I left this here yesterday. It’s a baby blanket.”

    “Oh! Who’s it for?” I asked. I instantly regretted it when she turned up the corner of her mouth in a teasing grin.

    “It’s for you, if you’ll ever hurry up and get married!”

    Seriously. Kill me now.

    I started laughing before she’d even finished the sentence. “Well, Grandma, we need to go or we’ll be late.” I hugged her, then turned with Micah to cross the street.

    “Come in and see me on Monday!” Grandma called after me. “Still need help with that computer thingy!”

    “You bet, Grandma!”

    Micah opened the door of his tan truck for me and I climbed inside. At least Grandma had broken the ice for me. I was positive that nothing more terrifying would happen for the rest of the day.

 

***