Peter and I had a date this weekend. We sat together in a quiet Vietnamese restaurant drinking hot Jasmine tea with our spring rolls and huge bowls of Pho soup while we held hands across the table. Phones off. Eye contact strong. Fingers tangled together.
A date is a rare occurrence for us. It’s been so long I can’t even remember our last one. Well besides for our five year anniversary, when while my sister, Alysa, and my friend, Angie were visiting for Thanksgiving Peter and I went to Denton’s Golden Triangle Mall together (if you can even call it a mall or a date for that matter). We walked around talking – and something you don’t get to do when you’re pushing a stroller – holding hands.
That’s one of the initial things that I loved (and still do) about Peter. It was the first thing he did when we met at the airport. After talking for three months over the phone and through email (we met online via Eharmony), I met Peter at the airport, nervous as a kernel of corn in a frying pan. I could barely breathe. I remember hoping and praying that he would like me in person as much as he seemed to over the phone (and vice versa).
Peter arrived with 12 long-stemmed white roses in hand, wearing a worn out black leather jacket, a white t-shirt, faded jeans and a sweet smile. When he handed me the roses he hugged me close, tight and longer than three seconds. He smelled perfect, just a hint of cologne and leather. Instinctively, I knew things were off to a good start. (It doesn’t take very long to know if you have chemistry with a man.)
While waiting at baggage claim, I had a phone call (a friend lined up to call to make sure I didn’t need rescuing). When the call ended and I placed my phone in my coat pocket, Peter reached in and grabbed my hand before I even pulled it out of my pocket. It was a smooth move and still makes me smile when I think about it. I looked up at him with a genuine look of surprise. He asked, “Is this okay?” Of course! Six years later we’re still chronic hand holders, in the car on road trips, sitting on the couch watching TV, walking together outside, or at night in bed as we drift off to sleep. It’s nice. I won’t lie.
You see, in high school I was asked to a school dance by a new boy named Corey. His family had moved to Jasper, AR from somewhere in Texas. He was really cute, with sandy-floppy hair, green eyes and preppy clothes you couldn’t buy in Newton County. “Wow,” I thought amazed that he asked me, of all the girls, to go with him to the school dance.
The night started out with an awkward exchange in the car. Corey and I both sat in the back seat while his mom and dad craned their necks around from the front to watch as he gave me a gift. A teddy bear (oh geez, I thought). He mentioned he was bringing me a gift on the phone, so I came prepared with one too. Mine was intended to be a joke. I got him a Jasper phone book. Wrapped it up with a bow and everything. He didn’t think it was very funny and his parents didn’t get the joke either. I tried to explain how this way they could know who everyone was in town already and…ha ha, um, okay, um never mind.
After that initial disaster, Corey and I walked in and headed straight to the bleachers. The lights were low and the music was loud. Sitting in the top row of the bleachers you could barely see the laces of my shoes, but you could see the stars in my eyes. He smelled like Rave hair gel and Dakar Noir cologne. Perched on the edge of teenage nerves, Corey put his arm around me and attempted 15 year-old-horny-boy moves. Oh my beating heart…
Eventually, an old Kid-n-Play song pounded out of the loud-speakers and we made it out to the gym floor to dance. Corey had some moves! Seriously, the boy could really dance. In my town, you danced the two-step, and anything beyond that was impressive. Everyone backed away to watch him dance the Roger Rabbit (or something) – and me, I was beaming – proud as a peacock that I was with him. When the song was over and we walked off the dance floor I reached to hold his hand, as my hand touched the tip of his fingers he jerked his hand away and put it in his pocket. It humiliated me. He was willing to put his arm around me on the bleachers and attempt sweaty, 9th grader high school hanky-panky moves in the dark, but in front of everyone he wouldn’t hold my hand. For some reason, I guess because of my insecure 9th grade soul, I decided not to care. By Monday, we were “going together” and did so for about a month, but he NEVER held my hand in public. I broke up with him when he told me he loved me over the phone – this was after not talking to me for three days. Finally I had it. If you really love me, then you hold my hand, not (only) in the dark sitting on the bleachers, but in front of everyone, all the time!
And that’s why I love my man who holds my hand.