Kiss me

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Kiss me

A male co-worker of mine invited me to a single’s party. It sounded almost as horrible as it appeared at first. The premise was, each person who was invited invited two of their single friends and then a bunch of single people mingle. It’s one decade short of a key party, but I’m curious, bored and single, so why not?
The good news was, the snacks were on point. I love a good pig in the blanket and I could’ve bathed in the cheese dip. Otherwise I was feeling pretty typically awkward standing in this crowd of strangers. I often look for the host’s dog about this time. Dogs love me, and frankly they love everyone. So much less judgey than people.
Anyway it was about the time that I was plotting to smuggle a shirt full of mini wontons into a coat closet when I spotted this face in the crowd. I swear the overhead light was lighting him up like a character in a bad (redundant) Hugh Grant romcom. My attention was almost immediately distracted by an boisterous southern gent, who no doubt sensed I was about to make off with a tray of appetizers.
Later in the evening, there was a call to gather in the back room for some horrible cheesy give away that would unscientifically pair two horrified singles together. As I tried to maintain my personal space in the crowd of desperate people I turned to find my guy standing right next to me.
I made some offhand joke about middle aged lemmings and he laughed acknowledging the bizarre concept of the gathering. We started to talk, the usual surface level small talk, jobs, recent celebrity news, the teetering woman stuffing her face at the snack table. He had just arrived in town to start a medical residency at the local hospital. After a half hour or so we were really talking, about real stuff. Politics, our hopes for the future, how he’d dreamed of learning to fly a plane, how I felt like I’m impossibly awkward on the dance floor. I could see there was something so much more complex about this guy. I felt a sparkle in my heart that I had not felt in a very long time.
You know that moment when two people realize that they have stumbled onto something significant? When they shyly venture into the game? We were there in less than an hour. “Do you want to get out of here?” He asked. There was no hesitation or question. So off we went.
He was driving an older model red Porsche 911 and I felt like a rock star driving off into the night with him. He was confident and funny and handsome. We laughed and marveled over our common interests. We drunkedly made plans for numerous future dates, to Ethiopian restaurants and Jonatha Brooks concerts, and drives in the country, and road trips to Asheville.
We met an aging drunk who believed that his contributions to the community were so significant that he was the self-proclaimed mayor. He told us if we ever got married that he’d officiate the wedding. We glanced knowingly at each other and said it was hardly even our first date. Later, as we sped off into the night the song “kiss me” came on the radio and it became our song.
In the wee hours of the evening, when he finally brought me back to my house, he kissed me gently as he held my hands and looked deeply into my eyes. He asked if he could stay and suggested that he would make an impressive omelette in the morning. I giggled, but politely declined. I had a feeling there were to be many opportunities for breakfasts together.
And I was right. I wouldn’t have another first date for over a decade. And there were many more breakfasts and dinners and concerts. There were late nights and early mornings and movies. There were amazing omelettes and walks in the rain. We read “To Kill a Mockingbird” together and he learned to fly an airplane. We danced in our living room as he sang country songs. He told me I had beautiful hands and was like a reliable Saturn. There were tears of joy and hidden pains. We became a nation of two, then three, then four, then five, as each of our beautiful daughters entered our lives. And it all started with saying yes to a party invitation.

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