The movie was over. The Model lifted her head up off my shoulder and we walked out of the theatre. She never let my hand go until we got to the car. I let her in and reluctantly let go of her hand. Her long, thick, blonde hair fell over her shoulders and she looked up at me and smiled as I closed her door. Eye contact is good but staring at your date is probably inappropriate. Standing in the parking lot staring at your date through the car window is definitely wrong.
I went around to my side and got in.
We drove through the parking lot and across the street to Godfather’s Pizza. Some friends of mine were already there waiting for us. I suspected they were surprised when I walked in and the Model turned out to be real. But to their credit, they didn’t show it. We all shared a large pizza with everything good on it including black olives. We talked, my friends told some stories on me and I was impressed that the Model was able to hold her own in the conversation. She was quick, had an easy laugh and could listen; she didn’t need everything to be about her. I was laughing along on the outside but on the inside I was thinking 1) she’s too good to be true and 2) something is going to go horribly wrong here.
The pizza was gone, we were all talked out and my friends had to go. He had to be at work early the next day and she needed him to drive her home. We all walked out to the parking lot together. I let the Model in first, this time without the uncomfortable staring and then I got behind the wheel. I turned to her, “I have to be honest,” I began, “I don’t really have anything else planned for our date but your dad gave us a couple more hours and I’m not ready to say goodnight yet.” She looked at me and smiled. I’m pretty sure her blue eyes flashed in the amber glow of the halogen street light we were parked beside. “I’d like to stay out a little longer too.” She said. I was pretty sure I was probably scheduled to die the next morning and God was just giving me this one last night with a Model as a gift. “Good way to got out.” I thought. I started the car and pulled out of the parking lot.
“Any idea what we could do,” I asked?
“Well we could go to my Mom’s, it’s close.” she said as she took my free hand and held it. (I’d given up on the 10 o’clock/2 o’clock grip along time before that.)
“O.K., how do we get there?” The Model gave me directions and it turned her Mom’s was really close.
We pulled up to a stop sign. “There it is!” The Model pointed with her free hand, her elegantly shaped free hand. I saw the house. It was dark. Curtains drawn. No lights. Grass growing tall in the yard. No car in the driveway.
“What’s at your Mom’s,” I asked?
“Nothing.” She said.
I looked at her and was completely confused. “Wuuu…” Her blue eyes were big, she squeezed my hand a little harder and gave me a slight smile. “So,” I started playing catch up, “you’re Mom’s away.”
“Right. For the whole weekend.”
“The…whole…um…week…um…end.” The little mouse was running on that wheel just as fast as little legs would go. And then the connection finally got made and I figured out what was going on.
There’s a scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life” where George comes into possession of Mary’s robe and she’s hiding nearby, presumably naked, in a large shrub. George remarks that a man doesn’t find himself in a position like that every day as he considers what to do next. That was exactly the kind of moment I was in.
Much faster than it takes to write this or read it a million thoughts, options and scenarios ran through my mind. Every time I thought about pulling into the driveway something inside hijacked the train of thought I was on and reminded me I was trying to live a new way, a different way. I kept trying to get the hijacker thrown off the train but nothing worked. I knew if I went in the house with the Model, for reasons I could not explain or understand, she was interested enough in me that clothing would definitely become optional. And in a split second that lasted a lifetime I realized I was about to turn down a Model.
She was still smiling at me when I said, “You know, I should probably get you home, your dad will be impressed I got you home before curfew.” She kept hold of my hand and laid it on her leg at the same time, putting my palm against her thigh and resting both of her hands on top of mine.
“O.K.,” she said, “if you think that’s best.”
I didn’t even want to try to explain to her everything I was thinking. A few weeks prior to this night and I would have been checking out Mom’s house and making myself at home. But I knew I couldn’t. I mean, I could, I definitely could. But for all I didn’t know about what dating was going to look like for me now, I knew going in Mom’s would be a big mistake.
We drove back to her Dad’s listening to the radio. I was very conscious of where my hand was and the infinitesimal distance between my palm and her bare skin. I could feel her body heat through the denim designer jeans she was wearing. Her hands had held mine there at first but now I wasn’t sure if she was applying any pressure and I wasn’t in any hurry to try to move it away to find out. Neither of us said anything the whole way back.
I pulled the car into the driveway and took my hand out from under hers and off of her leg. I jumped out of the car and walked around to her side. I helped her up and out of the car and we walked towards her front door together. I was pretty sure she thought I was the biggest loser in the history of dating. My thoughts were still a mess and it would take a while to sort them out. We got to the front door and she turned and looked me in the eyes. It was the ‘do I go for the goodnight kiss or not’ moment there in the blinding white light at her front step. Certain I’d given up any hope of a goodnight kiss when I chose not to stop in at her Mom’s I was surprised when she reached over and took my right hand and lifted my arm up to her left shoulder. She repeated the process with my left hand and put my left arm on her right shoulder and then stepped even closer to me so that both my hands were behind her head tangled in that thick, blonde hair. I smelled peaches again as she slipped her arms around me, lifted her chin up and closed her eyes in a signal so clear a blind man would’ve seen it. But just in case she whispered, “Kiss me goodnight…” Maybe she just thought I was a little slow.
I leaned in and did just as she asked. We kissed long enough for me to reconsider my choice at least 3 but not more than 5 times. And then I stepped back. “Good night,” I said, “I had fun, thanks.”
“I had fun too,” she said, “let’s go out again some time, will you call me?”
“Sure,” I sputtered, “definitely, yes, I’ll call.”
She turned and went inside and I walked back to my car. The light by the door went out and I started my car. As I pulled out of the driveway I licked my lips. They tasted like cotton candy. I can’t be sure but I think it was the way her lips naturally tasted rather than the stuff she put on them to make them so glossy. Driving towards home I talked to the God I could not see and said, “Great, what do I do now? This is incredibly unfair that I’m meeting the Model a few weeks after I decide to try doing this a different way.” It could’ve been the nitrogen rich air that filled my car from the cornfields on either side of my car as I rolled both windows down, cranked the heater up and took the long way back home, I can’t be sure, but out there in the night, I thought I heard the Almighty chuckle.