We were both on time, 11:30 on the dot. We didn’t hug or touch, but instead walked down the hill in the sun with the wind in our hair with Topo Chicos and a bag of tacos in hand.
The paved park paths were empty, the grass bright and lush, the squirrels big and bushy. We found a bench in the shade near the paddling fountain and sat. Children squealed as they got soaked and their mothers huddled in pairs and absent mindedly watched their babies.
We ate and talked and I teased him about his size 16 feet.
“You could just lift them up and provide us with some shade.”
His long arm snaked along the back of the bench and his hand stroked my shoulder. The breeze lifted my skirt and it fluttered against my thigh as our laughter bubbled between us. I stared at his lips and five o’clock shadow and wondered if he noticed my Golden Girls t-shirt.
This was all his idea. He got the tacos and chose what we had (“Just no chicken, please.”) and he picked the park. The only thing I had to do was tell him when I could meet.
I leaned in for a kiss and he tasted as good as I remembered from our second date, clean and sun-kissed this time.
A time or two I was overwhelmed with bashfulness.
“You’re cute when you’re bashful.”
“That bodes well for me.”
Our first date had been a minor disaster. After my third oyster on the half shell I didn’t feel so well. I went to the ladies room and despaired, but hoped it would pass. We walked up the hill to another bar, ordered a drink and I promptly returned to the restroom.
I felt green from the tips of my fingernails to the base of my soul.
“I’ve been doing my best to fight it,” I told him grimacing, “but I feel really sick. I think one of the oysters I had were bad.”
I tried to finish our conversation, but he interrupted me.
“Hy, you’re really not looking good. Why don’t I take you home?”
I clenched my fists and made vomit jokes the entire ride, praying to the gods that I could hold it together for just 15 more minutes.
When I leaned across the console to hug him goodbye he kissed my cheek and squeezed. Hard and with care. I waved as I climbed the stairs, passed through my front door, went straight to the bathroom and threw up for an hour.
Our second date was soon after, an opportunity to prove my interest and that the “bad oyster” wasn’t a ruse just to end the date early. It was long and lovely and included our first kiss – if by “first kiss” you mean an hour-long make out sesh with all your clothes on.
I was reluctant to reveal skin – his or mine – and so instead told him it was time to go. I was asleep by the time he texted me he’d gotten home safely.
Maybe it’s because he’s married, but I don’t want to rush things with Elliot.
Doing things in the daylight – unabashedly me and not hidden or distorted by the night – I am putting myself out there in a way I usually don’t. There is no slight of hand with him, no game of seduction.
I don’t want to conquer him, nor do I want to disrupt his marriage. I am singularly impressed at how special he’s made me feel despite having a wife, demanding career, and child to manage. Why haven’t single men been able to achieve this level of humanity while dating me and instead make me feel like an afterthought?
I’ve always remembered a piece that Exposing40 wrote about how she preferred dating men with wives or partners because they prioritized their time together better than a single man did.
Perhaps that’s part of what I’m feeling with Elliot. His time is extremely valuable and he is not going to waste it and thereby not waste mine, either. He’s committed to getting to know me and the withered and starved part of me I work overtime to protect senses it, like a Monarch knows her way home.
When my timer went off today reminding me to get my child from camp I leaned in for another kiss, but he ducked his head and nibbled on my neck instead. I must have made a sound because he murmured how he liked my noises.
I pressed my lips to his and felt the breeze on the expanse of my exposed thigh. I smiled into his smile.
“It’s time to go, I’m afraid.”
We walked back up the hill and I stood flat-footed under an oak tree as he bent down to kiss me again.
“Saturday can’t come soon enough,” he said. I agreed. He texted me later that he couldn’t stop thinking about me and told me how he’d caught the wind playing with my skirt. His words, not mine. But I was too busy happily being myself on a sunny park bench with a man with giant feet who’d brought me tacos to notice him watching me.