Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Zantac, Borrowed Clothes and a Side Salad

That's what blind dates are made of.

Fifteen years ago today I was a nervous wreck. Why had I said yes? Why did I willingly do this to myself? Oh. My. Goodness. I wasn't even sure I'd survive it.

The day before I had gotten a phone call from an old friend. His boss had a couple of tickets to a concert and he wondered if I'd be interested in going with him.

"Who's your boss?" I'd asked.

He explained that I didn't know him, but I knew lots of the guys he worked with and they'd all suggested ME as a date for that night. What on earth had made them think this was a good idea is beyond me. I hadn't been on a date in more than 12 years. I was a single mother of two, 30 years old and most days felt much older than my years. The divorce had been hard and I doubted I'd ever date again. EVER.

The next word out of my mouth?

"Okay."

Very nervous and not sounding any too excited at the prospect, I'm sure, but I'd said it. Now I was stuck. I immediately began swigging Pepto Bismol to settle my nervous stomach but I'll tell ya, butterflies don't drown in the pink stuff. I was one hot mess.

I had agreed to let him give his boss my phone number and he was to call me to make arrangements for the date.

Dear me, I was going on a date!

He called and I have no idea what was said other than I would meet him at a restaurant prior to the concert. Didn't want him coming to pick me up because what if it was horrible and I wanted to escape? I wanted my own wheels.

Fast forward to the evening of the concert. I'm right where I'm supposed to be, scanning the crowd coming and going through the mall before the concert, and I am on full alert.

Is that him? *GASP* Please don't let that be him! That dude has Elvis Presley sideburns and his jeans are about two and a half sizes too small. He might even be curling his upper lip. I had already made up my mind that if he approached and asked if I was Kelli, my reply would be "no hablo ingl├ęs." No way was I spending the evening with that guy. I guess he saw the fear in my eyes and mistook it for admiration because he winked at me as he sauntered by.

A few more prospects happened by and then I heard "Are you Kelli?" and I turned and found myself looking into the bluest eyes I had ever seen. Honestly, I couldn't look him in the eye all evening because I was afraid I'd just melt and possibly drool on my borrowed outfit.

Yeah, I had to borrow clothes for the date. I had a couple of really great outfits, but they were really great in 1983.

Then we had to order. FOOD. I had to eat in front of this guy. Seriously??? I'd survived on half a box of Zantac and a bottle of Pepto Bismol since the phone call the night before. Now I have to eat FOOD???

So I ordered a side salad. "Is that really all you want?" he'd asked. I assured him. And I also ordered precisely what my much younger niece had warned me against. "You'll have something green stuck in your teeth and you won't know it!" she'd said.

But I had to order something and that was the smallest thing I could find on the menu.

Then I spent the entire evening checking my teeth.

We walked through the mall and window shopped a bit. He had to buy a birthday present for his neighbor and I helped him choose it. We talked. We laughed. We had a good time.

WOW! This was going well!

We went to the concert. It was Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and I didn't care much for either beforehand. I ended up a HUGE fan.

He walked me to my car.

He kissed me goodnight.

I went home, crawled in bed, grabbed my notebook and wrote him a letter telling him how I knew he was the one. How he'd receive the letter on our wedding day, just before the ceremony, so he'd know that I had known all along.

I put it in an envelope, sealed it and wrote his name across the front. Then I put it away to give to him the day we would get married.

And six months later, he got to read that letter.

The rest, as they say, is history. : )