I twisted my left wrist allowing the bright blue digits to pop up on my Fitbit-4:10 it read. I needed to be there by 4:30. My heart skipped a beat as I glanced in the mirror for one final outfit check. I hadn’t been this nervous to go on a date since my first real date (which had been with the same person I was seeing today, only 10 years prior). Oh, the irony!
As I drove to our meeting place my mind raced, and the butterflies in my stomach multiplied. “Why am I doing this?” I asked myself out loud. “It will end badly. I’ll end up getting hurt all over again.”
In that moment I considered turning my car around and going straight home, but I had made a commitment. In fact, this whole meet up had been my idea. It would be uncharacteristic of me to cancel now. There was no turning back.
I felt the vibration of the phone on my lap. At the stoplight I glanced down at my phone. There was just one word displayed across the screen: “Here.” Shit. He had arrived before me. Now I was the one running late (which is also uncharacteristic of me). Thankfully, I was only one winding road away from our meeting place. I parked my car and texted him back letting him know that I, too, was “here.” We both walked to the entrance door. He from one end of the building and I from the other. We came together like two midpoints intersecting. He welcomed me with a hug. “This was a great idea you had,” he said. His voice had more of a southern drawl to it then I remembered.
Although the quaint coffee shop was almost empty, there was an electric energy circulating throughout the building. When we got to the counter, he ordered and then offered to buy my drink. My nerves began to settle as we sat down at the big oak table. He looked at me intently and smiled. Oh, that smile! I had forgotten about those straight, white teeth of his (I’m a sucker for a nice smile).
We talked for a while. There were the expected questions- “How is your family?” “Are you enjoying your job?” “Do you have plans for Easter?” But there were deeper issues to discuss, like how he had ended up divorced. How I had been engaged, but instead of getting married a brokenhearted me moved to Los Angeles. There’s a lot to cover when you’ve barely spoken to someone in a decade.
Our conversation flowed. There were no awkward moments or long pauses. We talked about politics, our spiritual beliefs. At one point he even got misty eyed and apologized for how he had treated me so long ago. “I felt guilty about it for years,”he said. I waved it off and told him that he was forgiven. We had both been at fault. Yes, he may have been the one that broke it off, but I was young, immature, and lacking any form of self-confidence. (I’m sure my clingy, love starved self was wearing.)
Half smiling he stated, “Seeing you is a real kick in the head.” Interrupt this how you want, but I take it to mean that seeing me now made him realize what he had left behind. But the truth is, I was not the same person in 2007 that I am today. And had we stayed together all of this time would I have grown into the woman I am today? It’s a question I’m still mulling over.
I could sense our time was coming to an end. He had to meet his parents for dinner. I had to go home and finish binge watching my latest Netflix obsession. He told me that I looked great. Again, he hugged me, and again he told me what a great idea this was for us to meet up.
I suppose this story is anticlimactic. It wasn’t the kind of exciting scene you’d read in a book or see in a movie. There was no going back to his place to makeup (or make out). There was no fighting or tears. There was no drama. We were just two adults drinking coffee and catching up. Nothing more, nothing less. And you know what? That’s okay. It was realistic. It was real life.
I don’t know what kind of seed (if any) was planted on that late afternoon coffee date. Will a budding romance bloom? Potentially. Will a healthy, platonic friendship grow? Possibly. But this I do know-I’m glad I took the initiative to reach out. I’m proud of myself for pushing all of my insecurities and fear of rejection aside. I’m thankful that I never turned my car around.