It had been a year. It had been one year and one day since I met the guy I would take a chance on. It would be our first anniversary of many.
“Our first date was exactly one year ago babe.” He pulled me to snuggle as we remembered.
“Do you remember?” I started to ask, stopping to spatter his face with a new round of kisses and then answering my own question. “I was wearing my cream dress. I bought the dress the same day one year ago so I’d look pretty on our date. My friend Heidi made me go shopping. Remember?”
His eyes smiled before his mouth could catch up to join with a laugh, “Yes, of course I remember. Your dress wasn’t green though.”
“Cream, my love. I said cream.”
“Yes,” he said recalling detail, “and you had that necklace on.”
“Yes!” I agreed like I knew for certain which one I had chosen. He said “that necklace” like he could see me wearing it, but my own memory vacillated between two that I own until my mind caught on how I’d chosen it, “I bought the necklace at the same place I got the dress. Heidi picked it. Fashion Nation. I got it there.”
“You were wearing wedges. Your red ones”
“Wedges,” I chuckled openly, delighting in another first. There was a time he didn’t know what a “wedge” was and now he was reciting the color of mine that day. “They are not quite red anymore, most of the red paint has peeled off, but yes, I was wearing my wedges. Heidi picked those too and the place!”
We were both laughing now, “The place! Where were we going to go originally?” he asked. The wind caught his hair from the open top jeep, the answer blurted by both as we pulled into the parking lot for our celebratory coffee, “The Ram!”
I was delighted to see it play out like we were living it all over and we were. “The Ram, Yes,” he was playful, gently teasing, ” We were going to meet there until you upgraded the date to Hearthfire. I was thinking dollar signs. This girl.” He smiled and kissed my cheek, “I didn’t even know you.”
“I know,” I said feeling bad for having presumed, “It wasn’t the money or need for show. It was that I hadn’t put much effort into our first date at all. I remember Heidi asking me where we were going. I told her The Ram like it didn’t matter because at the time it didn’t. We could have met anywhere as far as I was concerned. I was too casual and she chewed my ass for it. I can still hear her. “You don’t know what the chances are.”
JULY 9, 2013 THE DAY OF OUR FIRST DATE
“‘The Ram? BORING! These are your memories Amber Garibay. They matter, make them special. You’re treating this date like a whatever, but what if it’s not. What if he is the guy. What if he matters and even if you come to find out that he doesn’t, you do. This is your time, make it count. The Ram? You deserve to experience something far better than that. Text him right now and tell him you’ve decided to go somewhere else and try these on.”
The shoes were adorned with earth colored beads, a mosaic to nestle a latte colored stone swirled with cream placed center. The leather was painted red, cut to open toe, and bound to wedges. The wedge itself was the color of hemp twine. I wasn’t sure about any of it: shoes, dress, or place to date, but I complied with my friend. My friend Heidi is mostly right and this day she was spot on.
The shoes were a perfect complement to the dress she had chosen for me. “You should wear a dress,” she had said, handing me a pile to choose from. “Guys like legs.” The first of her choices was the one I was standing in, already right. It was the color of wheat and sun softened sand. The hem fell almost too high above the knee, saved to grace by lace, two inches. The stitching was delicate, lending a whimsy of seduction by invitation to examine the craft and detail of thread. It was a wonder to unravel.
“Wear that on your date and where are you going to tell him you want to go?” said Heidi from the vantage of my open dressing room door. She handed me a black satin chemise next. It was printed with little brown owls all in wise spectacle. “You should get this too. ”
The shirt I placed in the keep pile without question, but her question went unanswered because I honestly didn’t know where I should ask my date to take me. I stood there in the dressing room like a princess without a fairy tale.
“Honestly Heidi, I thought the Ram was just fine or at least I thought I did. The last fancy dinner date I went on didn’t end well. We weren’t even through the appetizer and the dude was visibly irritated that he was going to need to fit the bill at the end. He actually complained about it like I should change my mind to go dutch after realizing that there was not a shot in the dark for romance.
It wasn’t like he didn’t like me either. He was ape sh*t pissed that I wasn’t open to the idea of having sex with him and other people. He actually had the nards to broach the topic before the main course. ‘I just want you to know that I’m OK with it if you want to have sex with other girls, or guys…’ Asshole.. I mean really. I thanked him for his permissions and then reminded him that single means I can do whatever I damn well please.”
“That guy’s a douche.” Heidi was again scouring the store for new treasure. “What did he say after you thanked him for giving you permission to have sex with other people.”
“He fell to pieces. It wasn’t so much what he said but the visceral reaction he had. It was physical. More like a fit. The dude went into convulsions. He thought I was judging him.”
“Weren’t you?” Heidi was fast to the point.
“Yes, it didn’t take me long to make the judgement that I had no interest in being passed around and that’s the way I see it. I don’t want a guy who wants to share me with his friends. I’m looking to meet “THE guy”, not “THE guy” and his girlfriends and boyfriends. There was no judgement beyond that.”
“It could have been fun.” Heidi teased.
“I’m sure it would have been, He was hot, but really tall, almost too tall. 6’4 or close to it. He looked like the actor who played The Mummy.”
“Brendan Fraser… No.. that’s not right. Arnold Vosloo.” I was surprised she could recite the name because I would have been at a loss, but I knew that she was right upon hearing it.
“Yes! That guy only better looking. It really is a shame he had no finesse. I told him he should have worked on trying to seal the deal for himself before worrying about his friends. Maybe he could have turned me.”
Heidi was not buying it. “Yeah right. Well, at least you had a nice dinner and it was memorable which brings me back to my point Garibay. Imagine a dinner like that with the right guy. You can’t meet Josh at the Ram, Amber. It will sound tacky when you tell your grandkids the story of how you met.”
I raised an eyebrow at her, “Our grandkids? You crack me up. I’m not that old and maybe he’s going to be another ‘NO’. Does the place matter or does the person matter?”
Heidi was intolerant and insistent. “Both. Pick somewhere you can sit outside and by the water.” I could see her mind Rolodex Oly venues while the scene for my summer romance was set. “Hearthfire. You should have him take you there and wear this necklace. This matters. You matter. You don’t know what the chances are.”