The Perfect Date Night
red wine, brown eyes, couch cuddles...
I keep reminding myself that it's only a date. I haven't been on many, and the butterflies in my stomach keep reminding me of this.
The balmy evening breeze winds its way through the glistening streets, still damp from rain. It tousles my low ponytail, and I tuck a strand of hair behind my ear. Despite the warmth, I pull my sweater a little tighter and look your direction, unable to help the smile tugging at my lips.
It seems you're just as nervous as I am. Your focus is forward, glancing up at me on occasion. You're shy. I find that endearing. I was worried you'd be too eager, too excited. That would have been overwhelming.
A bubble of anxious energy sits just below my heart-- or is it excitement? Too early to tell. Likely a bit of both. There's an air of new beginnings, fresh starts, though if it's from the change of the seasons or my new companion I can't be sure.
But this is good. We'll take things slow, warm up to one another. See if we're a good match.
For months now I'd been thinking about this. I'd been so envious, watching others walk by on the streets, though the park, returning home together; the sweetness of their companionship something I longed to taste myself. I thought: why not me? Why can't I have such happiness?
I've been alone for so long. My house is quiet, my bed empty, my adventures solo. Change was long overdue. Finally, I'd worked up the courage and taken the first step. I'm proud of myself.
A modern woman, I took to the internet to find you. I flipped through dozens upon dozens of pictures. Cute faces, personality descriptions, possible happily-ever-afters... but there was something about you. Something that struck me. I just had to learn more about you, you know? I think you feel the same way about me.
Now it's up to you. Up to us. To see if there's a future.
I hope there is.
"This is it," I say, my keys jingling as I walk up the steps to my townhouse. I wonder what you'll think of my place. I hope it's not too small. It's modest, but comfortable.
I open the door and step in, then turn and wait for you to follow.
You glance around, uncertain. Our eyes meet. I offer a welcoming smile, which seems to appease you. You cross the threshold and begin looking around, getting a sense of who I am and, I hope, what our life might be like together.
"The living room is here. Kitchen is through there. Upstairs is the bedroom. Make yourself at home."
You turn to face me, head tilting slightly to the left.
"I'm just going to grab something to drink," I say. "Let me know if you want anything." I turn and roll my eyes at myself, leaving you to it. On the kitchen table awaits the celebratory bottle of wine I'd purchased.
I uncork the inexpensive, yet flavourful merlot and swirl it, watching the legs run down the glass, then inhale the layered notes of clove and blackberry. When the deep burgundy liquid touches my tongue I can already feel myself relax. My stomach warms upon contact, and I release a slow exhale.
I remind myself that there's no pressure, that you're just as nervous as I am, that we can go our separate ways in the morning if we find we're not a good pair.
Feeling more grounded with my glass in hand, I come back into the living room to find you seated on the couch, nestled amongst the cushions and throw blankets. I smile, glad to see that you're comfortable.
Cautiously, I cross the room and sit next to you. Close, but not touching.
You seem uneasy, shifting slightly away.
You're like me, aren't you? You've had a bad experience before. Struggled to get over it. Perhaps you're still getting over it. My stomach sours, aching to think that someone may have hurt you in the past.
I promise I won't.
You don't have to worry about me rushing you. I'll let you make the first move.
"How about a movie?" I ask, flipping on the TV in the corner. I settle on a quiet romantic comedy that I'd seen before.
As I sip my wine, I begin to acclimatize to your presence. You seem to be warming up to me, too. My eyes wander over to you, looking at you up close for the first time since we'd met.
Your wavy brown hair is a bit long, but I don't mind it like that. You have an easygoing nature about you, a certain charisma that I find attractive. And your eyes-- they're beautiful. Rich brown with honey-coloured flecks, framed by long lashes. They're gentle. That's why I picked you.
You meet my gaze. Initially I want to look away, having been caught staring, but I force myself to stay. To see you. To let you see me.
You shift, brushing against my leg, getting closer. My heart flutters, and before I can think you reach across the space between us and kiss my cheek. A surprised giggle escapes my lips, not having expected the sudden show of affection.
I guess that means you like me! Oh, I so hoped you would.
My chest swells, giddy with delight. Lifting my hand, I run it through your soft brown hair. You close your eyes and lean into my touch, seeming to crave it.
I can already imagine the mornings with you as we eat breakfast together, saying goodbye to you as I leave for work, coming home to see your excited face. We'd take long walks in the evenings, curl up on the couch to watch our shows, relish the warmth of each other's bodies as we fall asleep in bed.
I sigh, content.
This is it. You're the one.
"Alright, then," I say, not even trying to suppress my grin. "I'll keep you."
Your tail wags, apparently happy with this decision, and then you curl closer, laying your head on my lap. I turn my attention back to the movie, blissfully content.
I wish I'd thought of adopting a dog years ago.
Best first date. Ever.