Last Friday, anticipation of our second date sang through my blood, mingling with the terror of an upcoming professional experience: my first trade show appearance. It’s simple: you go, you haul a booth, you set up said booth, then you stand in front of it (or off the side, angled close enough to be attached yet far enough away that you’re not blocking the text that you’ve so carefully crafted) and smile and answer questions about your software.
So I went. I struggled over what to wear, but decided on a loose tweed skirt, black tights, black cardigan, black flats. (Black flats were the best choice. I’m tall to begin with, and wasn’t in the mood to have my double-jointed ankles falling all over the conference.) It was perfect. I looked professional, appropriate, and blended in exactly as I wanted to.
We set up our booth. The attendees wandered through the hall. I smiled. I networked. I talked about legal software and more legal software, and I was happy. I was comfortable, the nerves were gone. At one point, an attendee came over to my table and told me that she wasn’t interested in legal software, but she thought that I was absolutely beautiful. I glowed with pleasure at the unexpected compliment. I love that legal administrators are the friendly grandmother type. It eased the nerves. Now I am one hundred percent sure I can take on lawyers, which I’m surprisingly not intimidated by at all. (That may or may not be a lie.)
It was a good day.
But date night was even better! Second date nerves had me throwing things all over my room, unsure of what to wear. I googled it, and one of the results said that I should have worn jeans and a cute top on the first date then upped it to a dress on the second. I rolled my eyes. In the end, I was cold, so I decided on skinny jeans, combat boots, and a gray sweater.
It was cold, dark, and snowing. I was late, but only because he was early. We ate sushi at the place by my house, and I found myself chattering nervously. After dinner, lulled into our first real extended silence, I swirled my water around in my glass and looked up at him. “Can I tell you something?” he asked. Then he told me that I terrify him, but in the best way. He compared me to a t-rex. I raised my eyebrows. Smart man that he is, he quickly assuaged my fears that I somehow resemble a lizard-like – worse, prehistoric – predator. The opposite, in fact. He is under the impression that I am radiant, intelligent, and wonderful. I’m not going to complain.
I told him about my errand-rule: you can tell a lot about a potential relationship by running errands. If doing lame but necessary things together is enjoyable and positive, then the relationship has a better chance of surviving. As it so happened, he needed to run some errands in preparation for Halloween. I was overjoyed, of course, since I find the idea utterly romantic. (Yeah, I get that it’s weird. Whatever.)
Our third date was on Sunday – a day date complete with errands, pure heaven – and it started off with bagels. Then it was off to Target in search of Halloween decorations. Since he commutes for our dates, I drove. Oh god, my car! He saw my car and didn’t leave me right then and there, so that’s got to be a good sign. We drove, and when he didn’t say anything. I started to breathe again.
Pulling into the Target parking lot, he asked me, “Have you ever seen 50/50″? I said no, but I knew what he was going to say. The car scene. Long story short: The guy gets into the girl’s car and it’s got stuff all over the floor. She’s talking and he’s like, “Pull over,” and she does, expecting him to get sick, but then he grabs stuff off her floor and goes to throw it away. She stops him and retrieves her dinner from the pile. It’s cute. When Katie first told me about the car scene in the movie, she ended the story with, “There’s still hope for us!” meaning that someone would still love us even though our cars are messy. She was right.
After two different Targets (when you need a furry spider with orange lights for your wall, you NEED a furry spider with orange lights for your wall), plenty of Halloween decorations and a pair of socks, and a viewing of the movie “Frankenweenie” – during which I cried twice because dogs and kids get me every time – we found ourselves in City Park, wandering.
Autumn in the park is beautiful. He gets credit for this photo, since I am nowhere near that talented a photographer. I wish he’d gotten one with my actual smile instead of my satisfied-but-haven’t-yet-broken-into-a-smile smile. But alas, the more I look at this picture, the more I like it.
This feels different, but in a good way. It’s intense and familiar. I know that I’m prone to leaping into things with both feet, but this is something I’m simultaneously leaping into and dipping just one big toe into. I want to make sure it’s right before going any further, except the more we discuss, the more I find we share. I am examining our motives for seeking out the companionship of another, questioning everything, basking in the newness of it all, and glowing, for no reason other than sometimes you just need to let the light through. The only way to know if it’s right is to forge on and build fierce memories. Fierce, like a t-rex.