(because that sounds more impressive than “at the request of three people”…)
I bring you: the first date story.
Hubby and I “met” on an online dating site (shock! horror!). This was eight and a half years ago, before the “one in five relationships” a certain dating site now proclaims start that way. Hubby had been trying his hand at this particular form of dating for quite a while, only to be disappointed time after time. I had tried online dating a year before, shortly after moving to a new city. I think I had had three first dates at that point. And zero second dates. But I was willing to try again for one very specific reason.
I had recently had my heart broken. Again. By the same
man boy who had done it to me so many times before. He had been in and out of my life, passing through like a ghost each time, leaving no trace afterward, no evidence that he cared about me at all. This last time, I thought we had really connected, that we had grown, that this time was different. I had been there for him as he took care of his dying grandmother. I had fallen in love all over again. But he dropped off the face of the planet yet again, and I was crushed.
That was in July. By October, I was just plain pissed off. I wanted revenge. I wanted to prove that I was over him. I didn’t know that, instead of a rebound, I would find my forever love.
Hubby sent me a message on a whim. He later told me that he thought my profile was too good to be true, and therefore, must have been a fake. Admittedly, the picture on my profile was the best photo of me ever taken. But it was me. The message included his email address and instructions to contact him there, as his subscription was about to expire. In fact, it was the last day of his paid subscription, and the end of my two-week free trial. It was our last chance to connect.
And connect we did. We emailed each other daily for a couple of weeks. Hubby was taking a three-hour long evening class, and at every break, he would run to a computer lab to check his email. To see if my words were waiting for him there. I’ve always been better at written communication than in person or, my least favorite, on the phone. But after those first two weeks, Hubby wanted to meet. He asked for my number so we could work out the details.
The first time I heard his voice. His accent. It wasn’t love yet, but it was something.
We made plans to meet at a bookstore, in the cafe. I showed up early, ordered my coffee, and waited. As the time of our meeting approached, I became more anxious. I looked around the cafe, but I didn’t see any tall, dark-haired men with glasses. So I stepped outside, and there he was, leaning a bit awkwardly against a low wall, waiting for me. He beamed at me, and I felt my whole body blush.
We went inside, he ordered his hot chocolate, and we talked for the next three hours. I loved how excited he got when talking about his field of study and his research, his crooked mouth. We talked about my work, our families, books, chess (because there happened to be some people in the cafe playing–I didn’t know how to play, but Hubby did).
That was the first time we met, but to this day, I’m still not sure whether or not to call it a date. Or maybe it should be called “First Date, part 1”. Because later that same day, we had a real date. He picked me up (I think he even brought me flowers), and we went to a movie. It was a movie theater near my apartment that played independent and foreign films. It has since been swallowed up by the car dealership next door–so sad. In the lobby, not only could you order sandwiches and lattes at the concessions stand, but they had tables set up with board games you could play while waiting for your movie to start. Including a chess set. So Hubby and I sat down, and he attempted to teach me to play chess. After he explained which pieces can move which directions, we played. Which consisted of my hand hovering over the board and Hubby nodding or shaking his head to direct my moves.
After the movie, he drove me home. We sat in his roommate’s truck saying our clumsy goodbyes. I don’t remember what was said, but Hubby smiled, and I just leaned over and kissed him, right on the corner of his mouth. Which made him smile even more.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing from there. My stupid heart almost fucked everything up, somehow wanting to leave an opening, in case the other changed his mind and showed up at my door. Hubby was unbelievably patient and understanding. Because he was the one. It just took me longer than him to figure that out.