On July 20, 2003, I spent the early part of the day rushing around my mother's house like a madwoman. The day before, I'd just bought a new car - and by 7:30 that evening, I'd be on the road back to my apartment in DFW.
But in between, I had a first date. I was to meet him at Kenny and Ziggy's Delicatessen on Post Oak Boulevard in Houston. Though I set out from Pasadena in plenty of time, I didn't know that there were two ends to Post Oak...and I picked the wrong one, which threw me off by 20 minutes. I started to worry that my date would think I was standing him up, and panicked a bit more.
When I finally pulled into the parking lot, thankfully, there he was at the curb: a tall, burly guy wearing a navy-and-white Hawaiian shirt and a sweet, friendly face. I said out loud to myself: "Oh my God, he's adorable."
I don't remember exactly what we ate, though I'm pretty sure I had a sandwich. I don't remember which of the many waiters we've had since then was the one who served us, though I'm pretty sure they're still working there. I just remember knowing right away what I'd spent weeks of phone conversations trying to ignore: this was a guy I wanted to spend a lot more time with.
Later, the crowds and the heat at the Museum of Natural Science sent me scurrying out of the St. Peter and the Vatican exhibit in an attempt not to faint. If I could have melted through the floor, I would have; I was sure that would be the deal-breaker. Not so. He showed sincere concern, made sure I got a good drink of water and some cool air, even reassured me that he was getting overheated himself.
We made our way back to my car, parked there by the Starbucks across the street from the Galleria, and settled in for one last hour before I hauled it 300 miles north. It wasn't until I sat down with my Tazo iced black tea that I realized I wasn't alone in trying to make the time last...and at some point, right then and there, it stopped being just a first date.
We walked out hand-in-hand...stood there next to my car, not wanting to leave...kissed in the parking lot, not caring that several hundred people could see us. When I finally managed to tear myself away, I got in the car and called my mom, then my best friend (still my roommate at the time). Said, in answer to the questions: "Kismet."
A month later, we were talking marriage; two months, and we were engaged. Three months after that, I did something I'd spent ten years swearing I'd never do: I moved back to Houston.
Turns out he was absolutely worth it. So when this five-year mark came around, where else would we go to celebrate?
Dinner was, as usual, fantastic. And you know what? I still think he's adorable. I think maybe he likes me too.