Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How I Fell So Hard

I met a man named Billy. 

But it felt more like I recognized him. As soon as our mutual friend introduced me to him, I thought, "Finally. There you are."

I watched him play guitar in his band that night. I stared at him for hours, right up until the moments when he looked back at me, and then I got embarrassed and looked away. When we parted ways a few hours later, I was counting on Billy to find me again, and he did. 

Billy and I stayed up late every night that week to talk to each other. After what seemed like forever (probably three days) he finally asked me out. 

So, we went on a first date. I tried not to get too excited about it. I hate first dates. I always pull out the same stories. I always force the same laughs. I almost always get the guy to like me, and then, to my chagrin, I have to let him down gently or else psych myself up for a second date--which is always much worse. I hate the whole awkward routine. 

But then I had my first date with Billy. 

He was waiting for me at the bar, with a water and a straw carefully angled towards my empty seat. I sat down on the bar stool--facing him. Without even meaning to, I stayed that way all night, leaning in to him, eagerly telling him things and taking in every word he had to say. 

Our date was perfect. Billy is gorgeous, but nervous enough to convince me that he doesn't know he is. He's funny, and appreciative, and doesn't bother making idle small talk. We talked for hours, and when I realized that I kept leaning closer and closer into him, I apologized. That's when he put one hand under me and pulled my stool up against his. We were almost intertwined. I felt dizzy. 

Billy took me to my car and kissed me goodbye, and when my knees started to buckle, he caught me. 

His band was playing across the state the next night, but we kept in incessant contact until our second date the following day. We went to dinner, bowling, and finally, because it was very late but neither of us wanted to go home, we went to Sheetz and to Wal-Mart, where we picked out food for Billy's cat and had a pillow fight. 

That second date was an exercise in polite restraint...going through the ritual of getting to know each other despite the fact that both of us knew we were all in. He made me feel exhilarated, adorable and uncharacteristically fearless. All of this means that I finally got to be myself -- my undiluted, starry-eyed self. 

A day or two later, Billy and I walked my dog through Frick Park and sat down at a sidewalk table in Regent Square, where we ordered dinner. At dusk, we started walking home. I held on to my adorable little Beagle with one hand. Billy took my other hand in his and folded me into a long, sweet, mid-summer kiss. For a second, I stepped outside of myself and tried to really see what was happening to me. That girl, on the sidewalk, with the Beagle she always wanted and a man who made her feel so perfectly adored, was me. It seemed like I was watching myself from inside a dream. 

Billy and I have not left each other alone since we met. Since that night, I've discovered that I sleep the soundest when I'm in his arms, and that no one else can entertain me as well as he can. I love watching him interact with other people, and the friendly, gentle consideration he shows them. 

When he talks, and moves, and plays his guitar, I feel like I am drenched with delirious adoration. And when I remember those early dates, I can't believe that -- as excited and hopeful as I was -- I didn't even know him yet. I would come to find that he is even kinder and more loving than I could have possibly imagined.

I can't wait for each new day with you, Billy.

A Suggestion for Trader Joe's, on Behalf of Unmarried Women

Conversation I Had with Two Other Unmarried Women at Work

"Cooking sucks when you live alone."

"Tell me about it! You make a pot of chili and you end up defrosting the leftovers for a month."

"I have to separate my slices of bread because one end of the loaf will get moldy before I eat my way to it."

"And don't even get me started on produce."

"Oh my god! It's a goddamn race to finish the salad-in-a-bag before it turns to slime."

"Right? I've just come to terms with the fact that I have to buy a whole new cream cheese every time I want to eat cream cheese. I know the one in my fridge will be growing green fur by now."

"Trader Joe's should have a single-person aisle with single-serving everything. Tiny mayonnaises and little blocks of cheese."

"It can be called The Forever Alone Aisle."

"And it can be located next to the cat food."