Best Date Heather

I recently wrote a poem about what I called “the best first date of my life.” Here’s some more on that.

 

She messaged me on a dating site, and we had a great conversation about the things we had in common. We texted, then talked on the phone while I made dinner one night. (Somehow, my chatting about how I hated to handle raw chicken and my sporadic exclamations to my children of “You’re killin’ me, Smalls!” felt like a sexually charged conversation to her. I have a sexy phone voice, apparently. Won’t my previous employers at call centers be thrilled!)

 

Heather, as we’ll call her, since she has a similarly generic, popular name, is around 14 years older than me. She has short hair, a stocky build, and gorgeous, piercing, ice blue eyes. The age difference didn’t seem like a big deal. I have kids, so that jumps me ahead to a later stage of life than many women my age.

 

She really, really liked me. I liked her a great deal, too. She is interesting, well read, funny, and a strong personality. She sent me links to songs by Ed Sheeran and Amos Lee about falling in love, saying I made her think of them, they made her think of me.

 

The evening we talked on the phone for the first time, she had a date with a woman with whom she’d been friends for some time. She said she wasn’t sure what would come of that date; she was far more interested in me. I told her not to worry. I was on an embarrassing number of dating sites, and I was talking to more than just her at the time, so I wasn’t offended.

 

She didn’t like that. “Don’t tell me that! I don’t want to know that! I don’t want to know that you’re talking to other women!” Her response was so intense that I thought she was joking. I may have told her to simmer down, Kemosabe, as I am wont to tell my children. (If I didn’t, I know that I thought it.)

 

I don’t remember how we següed from that into the rest of the conversation, but around the time I was finished cooking, she was getting near to where her date was to take place. Within a couple minutes of us hanging up, she texted me and told me that she didn’t like hearing that I talked to other women; it hurt her heart.

 

After her date was over, she called me, and we had what felt like an intense conversation. She sounded angry at me, and asked me questions about talking to other women, what I was looking for, what I liked about her, whether I really thought I could be with a woman. I remained calm and answered her questions without emotion; the next day I texted her and told her I was surprised that she’d gotten upset with me. She responded that she’d never been upset with me. She had been feeling confused, and she didn’t know what was going on, why she felt so intensely about me, why she felt so jealous when I’d told her she wasn’t the only woman from a dating site with whom I was currently conversing flirtatiously.

 

We met within a week of that night. About an hour from me and a little over an hour’s drive from her, there is a little bar with a decent menu and drink selection. She bought a bunch of songs on the digital jukebox thing (what are those called?) and told me and the bartender to pick favorite songs. We had a great conversation about family, coming out (or not), jobs, and what we had in common. She knew I found her attractive; I could tell she enjoyed the way flirting with me flustered me. It was cute; it was unnerving to feel the sway she had over me.

We talked about sex. I’d told her that I’d never been with a woman previously; she asked me, “Don’t you want to have sex with some other girls before you have sex with me?”

No.

When it was time to go, we walked outside to the parking lot.

“I want to kiss you,” I told her. I now wonder if I said that robotically.

We kissed. Oh, did we kiss. I put my leftovers on the trunk of my car, and I touched her.

I have flashes of memory of her fingers on the back of my neck, the sounds of my own breathing, the way my body was ready for absolutely anything without any further discussion.

We sat in her car and kissed more. There were occasional jokes about being arrested for indecency in this small town as shirts were unbuttoned.

My head was swimming in the shallows of racing heartbeats and electric touch when she pulled away from me and said, “You need to go. You need to get home.”

I didn’t want to be anywhere but in her car, risking a criminal record, holding my breath, feeling nothing but her.

“You have to work early.”

I did.

 

The goodbye was awkward. I was afraid of being clingy, so I kept my feeling about leaving to myself. I drove home in silence.

 

It was just after 2 AM when I got a text message from her. “You just left me there like I was nothing.”

 

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Scars and Baggage

Once upon a time, I went on the best first date of my life. Here’s a poem about it.

 

She gave me butterflies immediately

And unceasingly

And she knew it.

She wasn’t afraid of my baggage;

Maybe her baggage went with mine.

She didn’t get the RENT reference,

But she thought we’d coordinate

Even if the patterns didn’t totally match,

So we each drove farther than we should have

On a work night.

It was the best first date of my life.

It was too bad they didn’t have karaoke,

We agreed.

We ate

We drank

We flirted

Without embarrassment

We revealed ourselves to each other

A stitch and a scar at a time,

With a crazy abandon

And it made sense to us

Then

To just jump on in

With eyes wide open!

With both feet!

No lifeguard,

No floatation device,

Just a deep breath

And a plunge

Into the deep end

Of that sea of broken hearts

And maybe-empty promises

And the faint possibility of love,

Of love,

And safety.

Security.

Not drowning

Because this is what

Meant For Each Other

Feels like

Right?

I kissed her and I knew.

I knew what it was like

To need to touch

And feel

As much of someone

As I possibly could.

Suddenly there was nothing

Nothing

For me

Anywhere else,

With anyone else.

She kissed me, and I knew.

I knew how it felt

To melt

And to burn

And to need

To be known as thoroughly as she could know me.

Her teeth scraped my neck,

And all those love songs made sense.

My fingers found her skin,

And I understood how

A lover could commit a crime

Of passion.

It hurt when

She touched a sore spot, but

I wasn’t afraid anymore.

I couldn’t think of how to ask her

To baptize me in her fire,

But while I struggled with the words,

She said it was getting late,

And I needed to go home.

I hurt so much

Already

That I couldn’t hear anything

Over the sound

Of my startled heart.

I left the car radio off

And I drove home.

I express myself better in writing

Than I do speaking,

And I couldn’t find a way to say

That I was sorry

For my scars

But also

Fuck you

For being mad

That it still hurts

Sometimes.

I wanted to ask her

If she’d maybe

Consider

Letting me explain

Why I can’t promise

To follow her to Arizona

Or drive the traditional

Second Date Transportation.

She didn’t want to hear it.

She hung up.