As I was sitting in my favorite java shack this morning, a woman began making eye contact with me while she was waiting for her beverage. She looked vaguely familiar but only in that I-frequently-forget-faces-so-maybe-we-have-met type of way. I went back to my computer. About five minutes later, a shadow appeared over my table.
“Excuse me, are you Refugee?” inquired the woman who’d been looking my way earlier.
“Yes… I am, um forgive me; but have…”
“I’m Toi – used to be Toi Robinson, now Johnson; I went to Anonymous Catholic Girls School when you were at…”
“Yes, yes, I am sorry; it’s good to see you” I said while rising to do some awkward hug-handshake-cheek kiss hybrid.
Toi and I spent a couple of minutes doing the meaningless small talk of people who haven’t seen each other in years.
It’s been more than twenty years since I took Toi on my first real date ever, which also happened to be just about my worst ever…
(Reposting this because… seriously? I ran into the woman who I took on my first date. How often does that happen?)
I was 16 and it was my first day with my first car, a white Fiat Spyder with a tan top. It was the 16th of June many years ago and weather for the evening was supposed to be the kind of late spring balminess that is the reward for bitter winters.
Finally decided to ask out Toi Robertson*. I had been crushing on her from a distance for months but I couldn’t ask her out until I could take her out properly – in a car that is. I get to her house, survive her old man’s roasting and finally make it to the car. I am feeling like I have the tiger by the tail as the really pretty girl settles into the seat of my convertible, the car I had been saving for a year to buy. I came crashing back to earth when she asked me to put the top up. I should have known better than to keep going; but my first real date could not end like this. So I drove to dinner with the wind that was in my sails, now passing all around but not in the car.
I took her to dinner at Houston’s in Georgetown, hoping that the really pretty girl would be impressed that we were having such a grown-up evening. No. Our conversation was non-existent. I was hoping that it was the difficult shy conversation of soon-to-be star gazing teenagers; but no. I kept asking questions only to receive the minimal number of words in response. I tried everything in my paltry 16 year old arsenal, but all romantic weapons were firing blanks.
After dinner, we walked around Georgetown, all the while I was hoping against logic and hope that something would spark. Walk-Away Sundaes from Hagen-Daas – nothing. Continue to ask questions in an attempt to display my earnest interest in her – nothing. The only weapon left was the Declaration of Independence Memorial, a small island on a man-made lake that is romantic overkill. Surely no one could stand in the presence of the most romantic space in all of DC and be blasé.
As we drove to my last chance of an island, I teased the view to come. She actually showed a hint of interest for the first time. Following a brief search for parking, we are walking in the moonlight towards the island, under a canopy of trees, in the midst of a young summer night until we arrive.
They had drained the lake for cleaning.
OK, Karma, message received.
* name changed to protect the lame