We met on the Internet, despite all the bad things I heard about Internet Dating. I mean I literally wrote a book about it. I allowed caution to be cast aside and joined the world of on-line dating. Again. So many players, so many predators, just as I remembered, only now I was able to spot them better. I hoped.
Six months, three dating sites, and 800 profiles later I was about to pull my profile when a man sent me a message, five of them in fact. He had all the characteristics I was looking for. Most importantly, he was a Christian and he actually understood what that means.
A couple of weeks later, after sending messages on line, and talking on the phone a couple of times, we met at Russ’s for dinner. I wore a white skirt and jacket, with a red top. I got there early and sat just inside the door on a bench and waited for him. The pictures he had on line were about a year and a half old. He looked a little stocky and I wondered how much weight he had added since then. People can change a lot in a year and a half. He seemed like a really great guy, so I thought, “Give him a chance, it’s the person inside that counts.”
I was watching out the window when he walked up and I recognized him instantly. I was pleasantly surprised. He must have lost 50 pounds and looked slim and fit in a pair of jeans, a dress shirt and tie, with a maroon vest.
He saw me sitting there and smiled through the glass door. I smiled back then walked over and greeted him with a hand shake.
Both shy and a bit awkward, the waitress seated us and we ordered our meal. I took my first bite of meatloaf with lots of BBQ sauce and dropped it right in my lap, all over my white skirt. I excused myself and went to the bathroom to try and clean the spot, wondering if he watched me walk away.
About halfway through our meal I excused myself again, went to the restroom and sent him a text.
“Hi guy. Having fun?”
He answered, “LOL. What if I said no.”
“You’d never lie,” I said.
At the end of the meal the waitress brought the bill. He pulled out his credit card to lay on the tray and somehow flipped it off and it landed on the floor, under the table. We both leaned over, trying to find his card, but couldn’t.
“Is this where you tell me you forgot your wallet,”? I asked.
“No,” he said, somewhat embarrassed. Then he got down on his hands and knees, under the table to search for his card. He found it where it had landed clear over on my side. He told me later that he thought he’d better get up or I’d think he was staring at my legs.
After dinner he asked what else I’d like to do. I took that to mean he was as pleased with me, as I was with him. We decided to go see a movie. Most of the movies had already started, but there were a couple that looked decent although they wouldn’t start for about an hour an a half. We drove separately and waited. We went in and he bought tickets then we went back out and sat in the car until show time.
“Whose car do you want to sit in?” he asked.
“We can sit in yours,” I said, “if you give me your keys.”
Back in for Show Time. He bought popcorn and asked for lots of butter, just the way I liked it. We found that we both liked to sit in the same spot, in the center, about half way down. He was a perfect gentleman throughout the movie, although I sensed that he would have liked to hold my hand. He told me later that he would have but he didn’t know if I wanted him to. I did.
When the movie was over we walked out and climbed in our separate cars. We both agreed that we had a great time and he gave me half a hug. He planned to follow me until he reached the road he needed. We would part at 31. I have night blindness and found it hard to find my way out of the theater, onto the road. He asked me later if I had trouble finding the way out. He said he thought he’d better follow me since I was supposed to be leading.
He drove home and sent me a text about how much he enjoyed our time together & wished me sweet dreams, hoping that this was a beginning for us. He also wanted to know the name of my perfume, which he said he really liked.
We both agreed on continuing to see each other and see where God leads us.
The next morning I awoke to a text of “Good morning, “Sunshine.” He said he knew from the moment my meat loaf fell off my fork onto my lap that we might have a chance.
I answered, “And it’s not too often that I see a guy on his knees during the first date.”
“And you’re a very attractive lady, even more so in person, but what attracts me more than your outward beauty is the kind, compassionate, loving, spiritual soul that I sensed was on the inside. You’re the real deal for sure. I must confess when I awoke I wanted to rush down there and spend the day with you. Are you busy?”
“No, I’m not busy. We could walk around the park. Or go downtown and window shop. Or we could visit the antique shop. When do you want to come?”
“How about 1:00 PM. We can catch lunch and then walk it off. Nice walking weather.
“OK, then how about if we meet at Panera’s?”
“Wait a minute,” he said, “Antique shop? Are you trying to get me to shop for a China Pattern?”
“Aw,” I said, “you caught on. I can tell the kids that you were so smitten by me that you were on your knees before we finished dinner.”
“I am wondering,” he said, “who needs to be wary of who. LOL.”
“Now I need to pretty up, but I may need more time.”
“If you don’t tell me where Panera’s is you will have a lot of time.”
He came down and so began our “Perfect Date.”
The weather was beautiful that day, a little cloudy and cool. They weren’t calling for rain. Nice day to be outside.
After lunch at Panera’s I decided I would feel safe riding with him. I offered for him to drive my car but he said he felt more comfortable with his.
“Now,” he said,” I want to get some pictures of you.”
We talked about what we wanted in a partner. “My number one thing is a Christian,” I said, “someone who understands the true meaning of that. And a man of integrity, among other things. And I also wanted a man who is six foot tall, but I guess you can’t have everything, (I’m 5′ 7” and he is only 5′ 6”)
“You’re right there,” he said, “because you were supposed to be 5′ 2” with eyes of blue.”
We walked over and checked out the Holland Princess, a boat that takes people on a dinner cruise. He took down the number and said he’d like to do that.
“Look,” I said, “A butterfly in the grass.”
We stopped at the Farmers Market but they were closing up so we made a quick tour and I took a picture of him in front of the sign, “No Animals.”
We headed to Kollen Park. I took pictures of him standing in front of the fountain, and him of me. When he reached for my hand my heart felt warm and cozy. We walked hand in hand.
We wandered around the Goodwill. As we walked sometimes we’d pass each other and our arms would brush gently against one another. Shivers ran down my body.
Then it was over to Craigs Cruisers to play Putt Putt Golf. Told him I had only played, maybe once. But he plays golf a lot. “Oh, we need a stick,”? I asked. “No,” he laughed, “it’s a club.”
I chose a red ball and he picked a green one. At first, I played so bad that he said we wouldn’t keep score, we’d just play for fun. Then I’d hit the ball too hard and he’d climb over the path and retrieve it for me. He came close to me once to show me how to hold the club. Then I started getting better and he seemed to be losing his touch. He kept hitting his ball in the water.
He asked the couple behind us if they wanted to play through.
“I think you’re a better teacher than you are a player,” I laughed.
Then, on the last hole he said, “OK, this is the deciding hole, the one who gets it in first is the winner. What can we bet?”
“I don’t know,” I said, “what do you want to bet?”
He looked down at his shoes and quietly said, “How about a hug? If I win, I get a hug.”
“You’re on,” I said. He let me go first. I put my ball down, gave it a quick tap and sent it maybe two inches.
He laughed, “Are you trying to lose on purpose?” he asked.
I caught his glance and smiled. “Would I do that?”
I can’t even remember who won, but I do remember the sweet hug.
We left and went to Dutch Village, shared a bag of potato chips I had left over from lunch. We admired all the geese and ducks in the water and walked the grounds, taking pictures of him in front of the Nutty Dutchman sign.
He stopped at the gas station and bought us a couple of drinks. I had a bunch of granola bars in my car so we drove back to pick them up, along with my two lawn chairs. He looked at my basket of snacks and said, “That’s the same kind of granola bars that I buy.”
At Subway, we ordered a couple of subs to go. I added lettuce, tomato, and cheese to mine. He added jalapeno peppers and hot sauce to his. “Well,” he said, “I won’t have to worry about you eating my food.” At Tunnel Park we took each others picture in front of the sign “Hot Coals Only.”
We sat at a picnic table, ate our subs, and listened to music from his phone. A young couple walked by and stopped in front of us for a quick kiss. I wondered if Rick had the same thoughts as I did. A quick stop at the restrooms then we walked through the Tunnel and down to the spot that over looked the beach. We sat on the bench, listening to the waves crashing along the sandy shore and keeping our eyes on the sky. He pulled me close beside him, rubbed my back and my arm. I returned the favor. A photographer was there taking graduation photos of some guy. They had the best spot, right in front of the water, just behind the wrought-iron rails. We both watched them hoping they’d leave soon. At least I did. When they left, we took their place and posed against the rails for more pictures.
Behind the rails, we stood with our arms around each other, watching the sunset, listened to the sound of crashing waves along the sandy shore, felt the wind against our face, and heard the calls of the seagulls flying overhead. He turned to face me, I looked into his eyes, the eyes that had kissed me a hundred times throughout the day. He pulled me close and our lips touched. The sweetest kiss ever. He looked into my eyes, pulled me close and kissed me again. I reached up and wrapped my arms around his neck. He pulled me tighter. His tender lips and strong embrace took my breath away. Our lips parted and we stood there holding one another in a tight embrace. His arms felt so warm, comforting and right. The perfect ending for our perfect date.