She looked gorgeous, more beautiful than I remembered during our only previous meeting. She was wearing an off-white sweater and tan stretchy pants, with brown flats. I have no idea what I was wearing, but I'm sure I looked decent. It was a rainy night, so I had brought my umbrella with me, and I walked her to my car, allowing her to get in the passenger side before going to my side of the car and getting in.
We made small talk while I drove us to the Olive Garden, a pretty standard first-date kind of restaurant, as far as chains go. I again opened her door for her and escorted her into the restaurant, with the umbrella in one hand, and my other in the small of her back. I didn't think much about it, but she told me later that it gave her goosebumps. In a good way.
Despite it being a Saturday, our wait was short, and we were seated in a quiet section of the restaurant. She ordered a pasta dish, while I ordered the personal pizza. We talked for a long time. She told me all about her recent trip to San Francisco, and how much she wanted to go back. I told her about my recent cross-country trip, and how much I enjoyed traveling. We talked about our families. We talked about our jobs. We talked about so many things...the time went by so fast. I kept getting lost in her beautiful green eyes.
Then it hit me. Usually, when I least expect it, a combination of nervousness and what I'm eating clash inside me and the result is something that I honestly don't like to talk about in public. I began to sweat profusely and knew I'd have to take care of this before it become an embarrassing problem. I don't think she noticed. However, it came over me like an attacking army deep within my colon and I needed a bathroom in a hurry. I excused myself, and hot-footed it to the men's room, where I found much needed relief. However, the next problem was stopping the problem. Past experience has shown me that I might be in the men's room for a lengthy amount of time. I tried to think about other things, like sports, or traveling, or my poor date who was left sitting at the table by herself for what felt to me like seven hours and what was she going to think of me and oh, no, here comes another wave of nausea...!!! In reality, I was probably in there for about 20 minutes, which is still a VERY LONG time as first dates go.
I finally was able to compose myself and I returned to our table. She was still there, thank you, Lord! She expressed concern. I apologized and tried to hide my embarrassment. She told me later (thankfully, there was a later!) that it has occurred to her that I might have just left her there, but she was pretty sure I wouldn't do that to her. I told her there was no way I would do that to her. We finished our meal, enjoyed a shared slice of cheesecake, then we returned to her apartment. She invited me in, and we watched some TV. We talked for a another long time, about lots of things, then I told her I really should be going, since it was late and I knew we both had church in the morning. We hugged. It was a nice hug. I was too nervous to ask for a kiss, and I wanted to be a gentleman. I asked her if we could go out again sometime soon, and she said she would love to. I said goodnight and she showed me to the door. I smiled nervously and watched her eyes sparkle in the porch light. I felt her watch me walk the steps back to the parking lot. It was a memorable first date! I will never forget May 2, 1998.
I hopped back in my car, excited that things seemed to have gone so well. I then drove the one hour trip back home. I was still wide awake, thinking about how great she was, and looking forward to seeing her again. She was special, I could tell. I don't go on many second dates.