Posted by: shelliejelly | May 10, 2008

Date No. 1

After O. and I talked on the phone for a few nights, we decided that we’d get together. He was living in the suburbs at the time, and so was going to be taking the train in to the city, walking to my house. I can still remember what I was wearing as I stood by my windows — they faced the courtyard — and waited for him to open the gate and walk toward my door.

I am a nervous creature, so I nibbled at my nails as I paced around the room. Anxious, but not entirely so. Excited by the opportunity to sit with him alone and talk. When he finally came through the gate, he had on green corduroys and a gray sweater. A bag hung from his shoulder, and just before he got to my door he looked up and saw me looking down on him, his hand going up in a quick wave, a small smile visible.

We decided to go to a bar and have a drink. I hadn’t eaten, assuming we’d get dinner. Once we got to the bar, however, I realized they didn’t sell food, and since O. hadn’t mentioned anything, I sat down to a beer and kept my mouth shut. I bought the first round, he didn’t object, and we sat and shared our histories with one another, leaning in close and talking about a whole host of topics.

One of the things I first noticed about O. was how interesting I found him. He seemed to have a story for everything, an experience no matter what you mentioned. He seemed smart and well-spoken and interested in hearing me talk. As the night went on, I learned about how he had studied to be a priest when he was younger, had been arrested for drunk driving and had attended the University of Illinois on a boatload of scholarships.

I was smitten.

And also very drunk.

My first mistake was not admitting that I hadn’t eaten; and perhaps that was my only mistake, because my empty stomach is what got me in trouble. His friend, A., ended up coming at the end of the night. To this day I believe O. told him to show up, just in case things were going poorly. While driving us home, I started to yell at A. about his driving, and he promptly pulled over and told me to get out of his car.

During my cab ride home, I wondered if I’d ever see O. again. To my surprise, he was standing at the corner, A.’s car pulled over to the curb. My heart fluttered as we sat down outside and started to talk again. Then he looked at me and said, “Are you going to throw up?” and I said “Yes” as I bent over, too sick to care what he might think of me.

The next day we laughed, me with a blanket of crimson covering my cheeks, both of us wondering how one of the worst first dates could be one of the best nights of our lives.

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  1. […] The first date between O. and I was, for all of its ups and downs, strangely tender. I can still remember how I […]


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