She glanced up at the clock – 11:22pm… only an hour and a half left. Of course, the last few tables of the night sat in her station but everyone was well-behaved and low maintenance and while she could add up her total expected tips from both tables on one hand, she still smiled, knowing that in just a little while, it will be 1:00am and time for them to meet.
The emails had been unbelievable. The thought, complexity and openness that had already been shared between the two of them make her just a little nervous but mostly excited. At least in the corresponding aspect, she had never encountered this man’s equal. She liked his initial response to her profile, sharing about himself while making it obvious that he had thoroughly read through her requests and desires. His first connection was not one of desperation nor did it have a “pick me” feeling about it. It was well thought out, written with intelligence and already engaging. She had received responses to her profile that were similar, but had more of a salesman approach and unfortunately, the pictures attached to those other responses clearly reflected the owner’s need to have a good sense of humor and sparkling personality.
This one, however… this one was attractive with a smile that seemed to jump forward off the computer screen.
Of course she was skeptical. After all, she had been on more first dates than she cared to count and while the idea of going on yet another awkward adventure of superficial questions and fabricated answers made her stomach turn, there was something delightfully different about her expectations for this particular meeting.
For the last two days, they had been corresponding regularly. It started with the online dating site and then they went to text. From there, she had given him the link to her blog as she had reached a point where she wanted him to know everything about her from the start. That way, if he didn’t like what he read, it could save her another days worth of make-up. So, he read her blog and then asked for her personal email to respond.
She couldn’t believe what she was reading. Not only was he impressed with her writing style in general, he was absorbing every detail that she wrote about. And then, much to her pleasure, he began sharing about himself and his own experiences. His feelings and emotions flowed on to his emails and she felt as if they had already been sharing and speaking for years. Her heart started to beat rapidly as he talked about his own fears, failures and successes. She felt pain as he reflected on the aspects of his family that he struggled with and a huge wave of intrigue washed over her as she reached the end of each email he sent, desperately yearning for more information on this man.
She kept going back to his profile, searching for something that didn’t meet her criteria. She wanted to have something in her back pocket just in case everything that was happening was, in fact, too good to be true. But his age, looks, education, belief system and communication abilities were exactly what she had requested. The cynic that lived in her head kept reminding her that it probably still was too good to be true and to stay aware of any eccentricities that might pop up but the hopeless romantic that also lived there allowed enough submission to carry on with this late night meeting as she didn’t want to go another day without looking into his eyes while he spoke, just to make sure he was real.
She reached down to sweep under her last few tables and looked once again at the blaring clock in the lounge. 12:16am. She wasn’t doing nearly the kind of clean-up job that she usually did, but figured that the work-ethic gods would forgive her this one time. She rapidly wiped down the tops of the booths and went to the office to turn in her money.
It wasn’t until she grabbed her bag of clothes and went into the restroom to change that she really started to feel her nerves creep up. “This is ridiculous” she told herself. After all, if anyone could be considered a Professional Dater, it was her. It was just that typically, when it came to first dates, she always felt like she was in control. She could call the shots, take the conversation in any direction she wanted to and exit as soon as she felt necessary. There really wasn’t much she needed to be worried about.
But there it was again… that voice. That voice that kept whispering into her ear that this was different and not to have the same expectations. This man knew everything there was to know about her. He knew about her sexual past, her feelings about her family, the rules she had made up for herself in an effort to correct and enhance her life path, her history with drugs and alcohol and, most importantly, the fact that she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. She knew quite a bit about him as well and the fact that he played poker as a profession and was making a living doing so, she was well aware that she wasn’t going to be able to hide any emotions that she might be feeling. This was the kind of date that was going to go one of two ways only; it would either be the first and last of their interactions or the start of something more important than anything she had been part of to this point. It just didn’t seem like a gray area was going to be possible.
She stood in the bathroom and finished freshening up, glanced at her appearance in the mirror, felt it was a good representation of how she felt about herself, took a deep breath to settle the butterflies and then sent a text message to him that she was on her way. It was 12:46am which gave her time to get to their meeting spot, sit down, gather herself and attempt to relax a bit before he showed up.
He responded back quickly that he was already there, waiting for her and that he was fighting butterflies as well. Her heart jumped into her throat. Early, even… she should’ve known better.
She walked out of the restaurant and got into her car. She started the engine and pulled slowly out of the parking lot. She drove about 100 feet, turned and parked again. Not because she was nervous or scared… but because the restaurant they were meeting in was only two doors down from her own. She laughed to herself, checked her face one more time in the mirror, took another deep breath and got out of the car.
When she walked into the bar area, she recognized him immediately. She couldn’t hide her smile as he was exactly how she pictured. He smiled back and stood up as she approached. Without saying anything, he scooped her up into an embrace that is usually reserved for someone that you’ve known for years. She wrapped her arms around him and in a moment that was only brief but seemed like an eternity at the same time, they held each other close and with purpose. Any tension or nerves that she had melted away as she surrendered into his arms, knowing without having to go any further that she had found something amazing and authentic. Her internal cynic quietly tipped his hat and went out the side door and her hopeless romantic raised her arms and started twirling about in a circle, looking just like a girl in a painting that her mother had given her a long time ago. She danced, she smiled and she sang louder than ever before…
And for the first time in my life I knew with no doubt that I had created this, I deserved this and oh, how my story was going to change.