19 years ago, Hubby finally took me on our first date. He was 21, in college, and working as a cook at a steak restaurant and never had evenings free. I was 17, taking my senior year of high school at a community college – where I met Hubby – and working at a pizza shop, a library, and the hospital. But we made time for each other.
After months of hanging out together on campus, studying together, eating lunch together, holding hands and staring at each other – it was finally time to see if this friendship could be something more.
I was so confused by him. He was unlike any boy I had ever known. He was sweet and gentle. He was content to just hold my hand and didn’t pressure me for anything more. I wasn’t actually sure he wanted to be anything but friends, but filling the role as my only friend at that time in my life, I was fine with that.
He put me in charge of choosing the movie. I called moviephone (no internet back then!) and found something I thought a guy would like. It was Ghost in the Machine, a sci-fi thriller. I wasn’t too nervous getting ready, I felt safe and comfortable with him. I was looking forward to it, to seeing him, to having a good time.
He knocked on my door, to my Mom’s apartment, where I had been living for a about a year at that point. He looked nervous, and much neater than I had ever seen him. And was that new shirt? (I think it still had a tag – hee hee) He was freshly shaved, not stubbly, except for his mustache, but that looked nice and trim. His long dark, nearly black hair was pulled back in to a ponytail. (Yes I fell for a ponytail man – Don’t judge me – I was a child of the 80’s I was also in love with every member of Van Halen, Poison, Guns ‘N’ Roses and every other bad boy of rock in those amazing hair bands) And he smiled a nervous smile. I giggled a little that he seemed nervous, but was flattered by it. I didn’t know then that I was the first girl he ever took to a movie, or ever wanted to date.
He put his arms around in me in a greeting-type hug, and whispered something like “Wow, you fit perfectly”. It was very sweet whatever he said. And then we headed to his truck. He held my hand as I maneuvered my weak leg up and into there, then closed the door for me. I gave him directions to the theater I had chosen and away we went, peeling out as he accelerated out of the parking lot in his little pick-up truck with a slightly oversized engine. We both miss that truck.
I marveled at how he could drive the entire time with only his left hand, since his right was not about to let go of mine. (Awww)
We walked in to the theater, and it was freezing cold. The snow on the ground has frozen stiff, and crunchy and squeaky. We both started giggling and time stood still as we “squeak-squeaked” our way down the treacherous sidewalk. He held my hand, and kept his arm up a little to steady me in case my weak leg lost footing. It was natural to him to watch out for me like that – I didn’t ask, he just did it. And it felt natural to accept his help.
Finally inside the theater, and I scanned the movie showing times and felt panic. The movie I had selected was not there! And there was no movie right at that time. My heart was racing and I felt like a fool for messing this up. I told him the phone must have been wrong? I waited for him to be angry or call me stupid or anything like I was used to from other men in my life. But not him. He just said “No big deal, let’s just choose another one. How about ‘Grumpy Old Men’? That just started and might be funny” I said OK, but still was internally belittling myself and trying to figure out how I made this mistake.
Now I can’t remember if we got popcorn or drinks. I just remember sitting next to him in the dark, and the way he sat so close, closer than ever before, and basically held my entire arm, not just my hand. I snuggled my head on his shoulder and lost every worry as the movie started. It was a very funny movie, and the audience made it funnier. As the actors were ice fishing in a shanty, someone behind us kept saying “What in the world? How’s is he fishing in his living room?” We tried to stifle our giggles throughout the whole movie, in between wondering if he was ever going to try to kiss me. I wasn’t sure I wanted him to yet, but I was very confused why he wasn’t.
I can’t remember if he took me straight home or not. Perhaps there was a coffee shop? Or maybe we talked out in the truck a while? I can’t recall. But I will always remember our first kiss, on our first date. He pulled me in close, and just held me in his arms a moment, and then as we pulled apart, he leaned back in for that kiss. A very sweet, tentative, polite kiss, but it was enough to let me know he wanted more. And it was the first time I wanted more from him too.
We said good night, and I soon heard him spin his tires again as his truck left my driveway. I just smiled and whispered good night to him, still smelling his after shave, still feeling his lips on mine. The world was suddenly full of possibilities. This man was different. And he liked me.
Happy first date anniversary to my Hubby, who is still sweet, gentle, and taking care of me after so many years. I’d be lost without him, because he is the one to bring me back every time I lose my way. He is my lighthouse on a stormy sea. We always find our way back to each other, no matter how far we may drift apart. And we still fit perfectly in each other’s arms, best place in the world to be.