I saved this and was waiting for this day to publish it. It got buried in a series of other unfinished drafts, but I was really hopeful that this day would never come.
This is for you and me.
I primped all morning and put on makeup for a run date. Yeah… who puts makeup on to go running? But hey, I was training for a marathon, if this didn’t work out at least I’d get a good run out of things.
He texted a photo of my door when he arrived. When I opened it to see him sitting on the front bumper of his car, that I would later learn was named Roxy, I felt this really sweet feeling of hopefulness. Brushing that brief thought aside, he was a gentleman and opened the door for me, then began apologizing for his car on our way to Campbell. I didn’t really mind because conversation came easily. We talked about what we thought our superpowers were.
We found the park that Adrianne and Jen had been mentioning to me over the past couple weeks. They were training for a half marathon here. I was excited to have someone to go with, as my trainer, Lisa warned me not to go there alone after work since several women running alone were attacked there recently.
Took my time fumbling with setting up Strava on the Apple Watch. I had been obsessively tracking my runs as of late to try to see if I could decrease my pace timing. We started running, but the 90-degree heat, not being able to keep pace with his long strides, and being unable to talk was bothering me. I stopped to take photos of fly fisherman along the way and suggested we walk.Then he geeked out over the aqueducts that we were running along. I love it when people geek out and teach me things, it’s what I love about meeting people in general. Seeing what gets someone excited gets me excited about the world, the expansiveness of life and the things I have left to learn. As he explained the physics of structures, he found a pebble to throw into the water to teach me how the currents worked. And with a pause of embarrassment, he said something to the effect of “Was I geeking out too much?” Not at all.
We then talked about work. I wanted to know everything about how his app worked, I had downloaded it after we met and had played around with it and immediately tried to test for fraud implications. Luckily these use cases of mine were well covered. I talked about my favorite engineer and projects and let him guess how they were built.
Walking back to the car, he mentioned how we get swollen hands in the heat, but how he likes this feeling because he’s gotten frostbitten from mountaineering so much that it’s nice when his hands feel warm. He opened up the trunk, switched shirts, and reapplied this thick Banana Boat sunblock as he asked me what to do next. He barely had rubbed in any sunblock before joking about how he hoped he got it all rubbed in while his face was still caked in white. Man, I hadn’t thought there would be a next. Also, damn it, why didn’t I bring an extra shirt? My dates as of late had been the “get me out of here immediately variety” so I tried not to plan too much in advance.
Then I suggested we walk to lunch. He had mentioned that while founding his company, he was having a debate at a pizza place and I decided that Blue Line pizza would be a good suggestion for lunch. While waiting for our table he mentioned my freckles, joking that maybe I was part Irish.
Once we were seated he headed to the bathroom to fix his hair and the remaining patches of sunblock. The waitress came and asked me what we’d like to drink, I ordered my normal ice tea lemonade, and pointed to him waiting for the bathroom and asked her to ask him what he’d like. He ended up ordering an ice tea.
We decided on the meatball pizza, and he made me join him in a spinach pact, that I’d always tell him if he had stuff stuck in his teeth. I smiled and agreed. I told him the story about how Brian always used the sugar packets to pick up on waitresses. After lunch, there was a smile and “What next?” I was surprised but happy. We decided to walk around downtown Campbell and after the brief interlude went into the bookstore there. I told him about Marie Kondo and her clean-y ways. Found another book of story tales by a recent favorite writer Matt Haig, and he pointed out a book by Joe Hill, Stephen King’s son, who happened to get his company noticed. He bought Marie Kondo’s book and I found “When Breath Becomes Air” which I had been looking at for some time.
Then we strolled over to Starbucks to use the restroom. I ordered another ice tea lemonade with a promo card I had received and once he sat down I told him about Pop Up Magazine that I went to earlier that week. The saffron from war-torn nations that I’d never get to taste, but lusted after, the rooibos tea that was smuggled to his parents in overflowing envelopes long ago. A mutual love for photography, I rambled about cost per wear, and we talked about relationships.Then he looked down and admitted that he was jealous of the relationship his cofounder had with their wife. It was something he wanted but was not sure if he could ever have. That moment, the omission of honesty and self-reflection was what made me want to get to know more and convinced me this guy was special. I have had that same feeling of self-doubt about similar types of things. I tried to mumble something hopeful, and I felt like he understood I was trying to help.
We changed topics and talked about painting and how I used to do watercolor, his mom’s paintings and now use of more vibrant colors, his sister’s gardening, growing up on a farm, and hiking in Peru with friends. Then it got quiet, and I slurped more of my drink. He looked out the window and a slow smile crept across his face, I remember thinking to myself to “This is his best smile.” When friends later asked me how my date went, this is the moment I’d tell them all about.
Me: What was that smile?
Him: Did you notice what just happened?
Me: No, what?
Him: We just had comfortable silence.
Following this, he beamed. “What next?”
I had no idea, but we headed to the car to put the pizza away and I couldn’t come up with anything. I was at a loss for this whole experience. Then he suggested reading in the park and tucked our books under his arm as we walked back to the park. He hunted for the perfect area and laid down on the grass facing me. I felt comfortable with him, but out of the side of my eye I had seen the geese shiting on the lawn and decided to sit up instead. I didn’t want geese droppings in my hair. I had a hard time concentrating on the book, I just wanted to have more conversations and see what would happen next.
The humans they forget things so I wrote this as soon as I got home. I wanted to store the data before it got misplaced in my mind.
Bye my love, and I say love because you were loved by me.