He rang the doorbell looking more handsome than I remember. I can still tell you what he wore on that first date. He shuffled his feet and my heart pounded in my chest. I think it's safe to say we both might have been a little nervous. I felt more like a teenage girl going on a date for the very first time and less like a twenty five year old woman with a career and a home.
We drove to a quaint little Italian restaurant nestled in the sleepy town of Walhalla, South Carolina. I ordered cheese sticks and asked for the dessert menu before selecting my entree. Chatter filled the time and space between us as we caught up on ten years. A lot life and loss can happen in the years between bookbags and homework and bills and housework.
As I reflect on that evening, I suppose I should have had a clue that it would be my last first date. The ease of which I acted like my true self came as natural then as it does now. If I recall correctly, we returned to my house to watch a movie. I may have excused myself to change into comfy pants and a baggy tshirt. We never watched the movie. Before we knew it, the day had passed and it was already one o'clock. When two talkers--with the same home town and friends--collide, hours pass before you realize the date should have ended.
He waited the obligatory three days before calling again.
It was Easter weekend. I was returning home to spend the holiday with family. He had to work.
We met for lunch a tiny little diner on my way through town. I ordered the club sandwich with fries. He had hamburger steak and fries. He thought it weird that I liked mayonaisse. I thought it absurd that he did not. We hugged, innocent and sweet, on the side of the street in Pelzer, South Carolina. My heart returned to normal pace around the time I was driving through Columbia.
I pulled into the rusty, little carport in Pendleton, South Carolina with a belly full of Easter dinner and a heart full of time spent with family. I hurriedly unpacked my car with the goal of plunging on the couch for an evening of Lifetime movies. What happened next has continued to happen for eight years. On the back step, much to my surprise, was a beautiful Easter lily and a bag full of yellow Peeps, along with a card from the guy I had hugged just three days before.
I felt wooed. I felted attractive. I felt connected.
I think I waited a few hours before calling. I needed my voice to be a little less shaky and little more non-chalant when I heard his voice.
That was eight years ago. And yet in some ways it still feels like yesterday.
We are older now. And maybe a little wiser. Maybe not.
The jeans I wore on our first date made their way to a yard sale about a year ago when I gave up hope of ever wearing them again. Our hair has a hint of wisdom. And there are distinct lines around both of our green eyes that show signs of worry and laughter.
When you are twenty five and twenty eight and go on your last first date, you bring a lot of baggage with you. We spent the better part of these eight years unpacking those bags. After all, we committed live and love to one another. We had to find a place to store all the junk we brought with us. Some of it has been tossed to the curb. Some of it has been harder to let go of.
There are moments when you think about the perfect relationship. The ideal person to do live with. You wonder if your Type-A personality and nagging nature will drive him away. He wonders if you love him the way you did the first time the words dropped from your lips.
And then it happens.
You remember how you felt as you gussied up for the first date. You remember the ease with which you talked and ate and laughed. You remember the strength and feeling of that first embrace on the street outside the tiny diner. You remember the sweet surprises that come at the least likely of times. You remember how your hand fits perfectly into his. And how your heart skips a beat every time he tells you how beautiful you are. You remember the magical night in the park when the diamond you thought would never come appeared out of thin air. You remember your walk down the aisle and into his last name. You remember how he screamed and leapt from the couch the night you handed him the positive sign of a baby on the way. You remember how he stroked your hair and rubbed your arm until the sounds of her first cry filled the OR and she was lifted over the curtain and into your arms.
You remember the big, fulfilling, all-encompassing love you have for this guy who threw rocks at your bedroom window. And you heart skips another beat.
You remember that yours is a relationship, a journey really, molded by the hands of God. And what He brings together let nothing separate.
Remembering causes you to worry less. Less about what the world dictates about a perfect relationship. And more about what God promises to both of you if you keep Him at the center of it all.
There are three things that amaze me—
no, four things that I don’t understand:
how an eagle glides through the sky,
how a snake slithers on a rock,
how a ship navigates the ocean,
how a man loves a woman.
Do you remember your last first date? Does remembering cause you to daze off for what seems like hours as the reel of your memories play like a wonderful love story?