It was our first date. I was already sick of the dating world. I hated dating what in sexist vernacular would be called my young thing. I was not dating her because I sought a young thing but because she was there. I knew the relationship was over on our third date when she was wondering if she should go back to college and asked if I had watched some soap opera. I felt old and on a more enlightened plain at the same time.
But this was different. She was of legal age. I knew this might lead to a great relationship. But she came from money and while I did not come from a lack of money my family was not fluent in money. My mother was sharp as a whip and my father had a world of experience but they were not educated beyond high school. We in a sense were from two different worlds.
I will never forget the first time I was in her apartment. Being a curator, the paintings were all covered with sheets to prevent the Savannah blazing sun from fading them. Okay that was new to me but I could live with it. It was then I noticed the sheets on all the furniture more peculiar but hey quirky is good. I walked into the second room which was filled with boxed books. I smiled and said are you going somewhere? She said she was so busy writing her PHD dissertation and that she had not had time to unpack her books. She had lived in the house for over a year. But all that was the least of my worries: the only book that was out of the boxes was an Amy Vanderbilt book on etiquette. I saw my ship sinking fast. I am polite but not full of etiquette.
But I gathered the courage and asked her out. We did not speak of soap operas or was she obsessed with herself. We went to a Thai restaurant and a play. Afterwards we stopped at coffee shop in a basement. We closed down the place. It was magic. Now I am a romantic guy and I was feeling good about this thing we had. You know our first date.
I asked her out for the next week; she said no. I spent Valentine’s Day alone. She went to the symphony with someone else. I wondered if our time had come and gone, and I had not realized it. Ever persistent our second date was a meal at my place and a comedy club and back to my place for dessert. It was then I made the tactical error. I sent her flowers the next day. Which scared the hell out of her. I was moving too fast. Little did she know I was only moving. My other dates, I dated and forgot about it. But with her I dwelled on the date.
The flowers were meant as an appreciation. She saw it as a threat to her singleness. She became sick for two weeks. I began to believe it was over. I mean two weekends in a row and she was sick. People do get sick of me but not quite so fast. But she did have a PhD; maybe she could see the sickness coming faster than other people could. But with a weakened immune system she finally relented.
On the third date and it was obvious that it was happening. Ten months later I mentioned the m word. She freaked. I asked again a month later and she freaked again. So I said I will not bring it up again but when it was time she would have to do the asking. A month later we were in an Italian wedding when she popped the question. I said yes and then she told me I had to propose to her sometime. So two weeks later I proposed to her in the most romantic way that a non-profit employee could afford. My good friend Robert, as chauffeur, delivered her to a fine restaurant and I popped the question and then we spent the weekend at the Redneck Rivera (Tybee Island).
There had only been one holdback I had now. She was adopting a baby girl from China. I thought, that is something I can do, but I would like to have some time for an engagement before we had a baby. I was not for a shotgun wedding. She assured me it was at least six months and more likely a year before the call would come telling her to go to China. How time flies: the next week she received the call. A month and a half later we would be leaving to China and ten months later we would get married. I had to do the honorable thing; we were with child and living in sin. So you see in the end I was not the one moving too fast. But maybe after seventeen years of marriage this month the timing was just right.