I knew him from church. I was 16; he was older, and one day he walked up to me and asked if I’d like to go to the laser show with him. I don’t remember why I had to drive (I think his mom didn’t feel comfortable with him driving me in their open-aired vehicle), but I remember pulling down his driveway and feeling a little nervous as he got into my car.
But off we went. We spread out a blanket on the lawn of Stone Mountain and had a picnic over easy conversation. And it was easy. In fact, I have never been on a first date where the conversation flowed so easily. We talked and laughed until the light of day faded away and the giant lasers could be see on the side of the dark mountain. I’m sure mosquitos had their fill on our skin during that hot Georgia evening, but I don’t remember minding.
After the show was over, we stopped for ice cream and managed to stretch our date a little longer until it was time to return to our parents who were checking their clocks on their nightstands. He gave me the cd of Garth Brooks he had brought along for the ride since I mentioned he was the only country singer I could tolerate. And then he smiled and said, “I had a really good time.” “I did, too” I answered.
And I did.
The nervousness returned as I silently prayed that he wouldn’t kiss me (and he didn’t), and then I drove home.
I had a lot of fun with this young man, and I had no complaints about the date–he was polite, he paid, and we had meaningful conversation in the midst of fun–but I knew right then and there that I did not want to date him.
I didn’t have any feelings for him beyond friendship, and I didn’t want to lead him to believe that I felt otherwise. So as my over-analytical self is apt to do, I instantly began worrying over how to turn him down for another date. I knew he would ask for another–we had had a great time–and how does one tell another I had a wonderful time, probably the best I’ve ever had on a date, but I don’t want to go out with you again. When I think about you kissing me, I feel weird.
Luckily, I got grounded. I went to see the USA baseball team in the Olympics with my friend and her family, and even though I was with her family the whole time, my dad didn’t like that we came home from the Olympics late. Even though the Olympics are a rare sporting event to visit one’s city. Even though I rode with my friend and her parents and couldn’t come home until they came home. But I digress.
So when he called and asked if I’d like to go to the Olympics with him, I answered a little too perky “I’m actually grounded because of them.” “You’re grounded because of the Olympics?” he asked, clearly questioning my story.
And I briefly explained how an ill-fated trip to see Olympic baseball had me grounded for the week. I didn’t act like I was upset. I didn’t offer an alternative date for once my punishment was lifted. I simply said I couldn’t, and that was the end of the conversation.
He was hurt, and I’m sure he didn’t understand because I didn’t really understand, and then his hurt turned to anger. He never spoke to me again until a chance meeting in a parking lot where he mentioned that he thought all Christians were hypocrites.
A few years went by; we had gone our separate ways to college and met once again at our home church. He apologized for what he had said previously, and I forgave him. No hard feelings. And then, once again, he gave it another try, contacting me at school.
I thought I had been upfront and honest. I told him I didn’t want to start dating, but he asked for one date, and I agreed. I can’t remember the details of the date, but I remember him driving me back to my dorm after a nice evening. I told him “thank you,” and then I ended the date. I couldn’t ask him up to my room–my roommate was in there sleeping, I was sure, and I thought that gesture would imply something I didn’t want to imply. I could’ve asked him into the lobby, but I guess I didn’t see the point. And he didn’t see the point in continuing a friendship since a friendship wasn’t what he wanted.
I don’t know why I wasn’t interested in a person with whom I always had a good time. I don’t know why I didn’t feel any attraction. It had nothing to do with looks, but he didn’t give me that tingle in my stomach when we were together.
He didn’t cause me to get giddy when I thought about him. He didn’t bring a smile to my face at the mere mention of his name. He didn’t inspire me to stay up until crazy hours of the night because I wanted to hold onto one more minute before we finally said ‘goodnight.’
But one man did.
I can rattle off a hundred reasons why I love this man, but I can’t explain why the attraction grew when it did. Some things are a mystery…
…but perhaps part of the mystery of attraction is that I instinctively knew with whom I wanted to weather my toughest storms. I knew the man with whom I wanted to share my ‘in sickness and in health.’ And I knew the man with whom I would create some gorgeous children.
Or maybe I didn’t.
But someone else looking out for us did.
Regardless of the reason for the attraction, I am thankful. Thankful for the man with whom I have spent nine years. Thankful to Him who guides us and for each additional day together He gives. And thankful that some dates didn’t go past the first.
Linking up with Mama Kat for her Writer’s Workshop.
20 thoughts on “The First Date”
I LOVED this!! I loved that the date story wasn't horrible, it just wasn't meant to be. You had someone else waiting for you, and you didn't settle for less than!!
What a sweet story, Jennifer. I have to admit I was hoping that first date was with Matt and you grew to love him later but the way it worked out is even better.
Nope, I pretty much always liked Matt. We were friends first, but I went through many periods of having a crush on him before we finally dated. :)By the way, I tried to comment on your piece at the parents blog (congrats!), but I couldn't get it to work. However, I did share it on Facebook, and you got quite a few 'likes'!
Great story! I too instinctively knew when I met the right person! I could always tell from a first date whether or not I could see a future.
Thanks, Sunny! I'm really enjoying Writer's Workshop. It forces me to remember events that I might otherwise forget because they're not always all that significant. So now I have a memory recorded, and sometimes I get a nice post out of the memory, too.
I know why…because that first boy wasn't the one Our Father had chosen for you. 🙂 You were good to listen, even though you didn't know why things were as they were. Heavenly Father has our backs, we just have to listen with our hearts.
I'm visiting here from Writer's Workshop. I hope that you have a wonderful day!
I'm so glad you stopped by today! Yes, the Lord has had my back many times. 🙂
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
This is why I don't write comments at 6:30 am. NONE of that comment made sense. None of it. I'm not even sure what I was trying to say!
Okay, now I feel REALLY silly. The comment absolutely makes sense, I just didn't remember writing any of it! And now I understand why– because I didn't! I seriously thought I was going crazy. Sorry to the other Sara, it was a nice comment! I was only trying to comment on the fact that I didn't have any recollection of writing it 🙂
Loved this. I love hearing how people meet. It always seems as if it was "just meant to be" when you look back on it, huh? Are you a country music fan (don't hate me if you're not) but there's a song called Keeper of the Stars… this kind of story always makes me think of that song.
No, I haven't heard of that song, but maybe I'll look it up sometime. I really don't like country music, but I won't hate you for it. I'll just know that if we're ever lucky enough to meet in real life, I should not ride in the same car with you for a long road trip. 😉
Hey, I saw on my e-mail that you replied to my comment but I don't see it here. I wanted to say thank you for going to the adoptive site and that my mom said it asks you to become a member in order to leave a comment (which is lame), so that's probably why you could not. But I do see the shares, and Tweets and e-mails of the post so thank you for your support!
You're welcome! And I'm seeing your comment when I look at my blog, so I'm not sure what's going on there. Technology!
Man is it nice to hear a person say such nice things about their spouse. I was stuck at home with work issues during our vacation time a few days ago. I woke up to an email from my wife that quoted a verse from Psalm relating to work issues. It ended with a, "Good morning, I love you." It was small gesture that meant the world to me. I wrote her back, thanks and a, "I can't wait to see you"! Just like I did when I met her close to twenty years ago. Lucky I didn't get a speeding ticket on the 6 hour drive!
By the way, you so threw your dad under bus on that grounding!
It's the little things, for sure; I just need to remember to do those little things more!And, yes, I did throw my dad under the bus. He can take it. 🙂
You certainly made the right choice Jennifer and so did Matt.
So glad you both treasure each other! Love and laughter is vital to a marriage. GOD's blessing on you both.
You know, sometimes parents came come in right handy when we need a 'no' and don't know how to say it! This is a lovely story, Jennifer – so well told. Thank you! (As always….)
I know the feeling. A lot of my more recent dates were all respectable dates. Nice guys and I have had good times with them… But no clicking. I just don't want to kiss them.
I'm glad you did find your kissworthy man, though!