I wait for the phone to ring so that he can tell me the time we're supposed to meet. We're going to one of my favorite Mexican restaurants and might go dancing after that. Getting anxious and impatient with hanging around the house, all dressed up, nothing to do until he calls, I head out to the store for gum and maybe a necklace since my outfit seems it could benefit from one. I find a great butterfly necklace, one that I've worn most days since that night and have gotten compliments on so many times that I've lost count. I get the phone call while I'm there, so I pay for my items and drive down the street to the restaurant to wait for him there.
I call him after I arrive because the lights to the place are off for some reason, and I know he'll never find it unless he knows some of the other places around it since he's never been there before. He finally walks through the door...doesn't look like he lied about his height, didn't wear a t-shirt or tennis shoes...so far, so good.
We eat and drink and talk and laugh. I'm sure we spent more time at our table than our waiter would've liked, but at least we were still drinking. Once we'd finished the drinks, we decided to continue the date somewhere else. We settled on bowling instead of dancing; the bowling alley was closer than the nearest club, and I hadn't been to that club in over 7 years, so who knows if it would even be a good place to go.
I bowl in my usual granny-bowling style, which I'm sure he found more than slightly entertaining as most people do when they see a grown woman launching a 12-pound ball from between her legs, getting strikes sometimes and spares regularly. We finish a few games and a couple of drinks and call it a night. We trade cordial goodnights in the bowling alley parking lot without so much as a hug; he's been quite the gentleman...either he's not interested, is very shy, or knows how to be respectful and patient.
It only took a couple more dates to figure out that it was the last. When I first decided to respond to the message on Yahoo Personals he sent, it was because he seemed like a fun guy. When I made the decision to go ahead and meet him in person, it was because we'd had fun email and IM exchanges. I never imagined he'd be the kind of guy I wanted to be with for a long time; I've never been happier that I didn't let my stereotypical opinions of younger guys prevent me from making those decisions or from seeing that he is not one of those stereotypical younger guys.
Last night, NS and I went to the Melting Pot to celebrate the mark of one year since our first date. That day is technically today, but he has to work today, so last night was the night. It was a wonderful meal with laughing, dreams for the future, and a magnificent bottle of merlot, the meager remains of which are pictured above. I can't think of a better way to have commemorated this occasion than with those hours of quality alone time. I'm not positive when it was that I knew I loved him, but I know I do; I love how I know that he loves me without him ever having to say it, and I love how he treats my boys as if they were his own and how they call him, "daddy", and I love that he is smart and cute and funny and how he calls me, "lady".
One year...with plans for many more.