A year ago this past weekend, I got an email from a guy on Match.com. I was on Match.com essentially trying to pass the time with free dinners and new people as my divorce was being finalized. I was really lonely. I was really sad. And I was kind of terrified. The man that emailed me honestly seemed less “showy” than the other men. He was more…normal. He asked me for my phone number and when he got it, he immediately called me.
At 3 o’clock in the morning.
I was asleep, and my phone ringing startled me because (A) I usually turn my phone off at night and (B) Abe was asleep in the bed next to me. Oh, and (C) because it was three o’clock in the freaking morning.
I didn’t answer. Because rude.
He left me a message acknowledging that it was totally inappropriate to call me so late but that he’d just received the email with my phone number and that it felt like “Christmas” and he wanted to call right away.
I texted him the next morning with the words:
And the first-impression award goes to…
Then I wrote him off.
However, he did not write me off. He remained persistent, sending me lovely texts and asking if he could take me to dinner over and over and over again. I made up excuses, tried my best to blow him off, but he was relentless. And finally, on a Tuesday, I conceded.
“Can I pick you up at 6?” he asked.
“Pick me up!? I don’t even know you!”
“Well, I don’t want to tell you where we’re going. It’s a surprise.”
“Of course it’s a surprise. I know nothing about you. Anywhere we go will be a surprise.”
“Ok. I will tell you where we’re going closer to the time we eat.”
At about 4:00pm, he texted me a set of coordinates. I immediately entered them into my map app and found location. I zoomed in and got an address. I googled the address and it was a cuban restaurant, cafe, and bar.
I arrived about 5 minutes early and the restaurant. was. empty. Completely empty. The host and owner asked who I was looking for and I said I didn’t really know, but I was fairly certain it wasn’t the elderly couple sitting in the back. So he sat me in a booth. Alone.
So let’s recap. First he called and woke me up at 3 o’clock in the morning. Then he sends me on a chase to find our date. And finally…he’s late to our date. Because now it’s 6:10pm.
Finally this well-groomed, bald as an eagle, proud-looking man comes walking in with BIG eyes and a bigger smile and shakes the restaurant owner’s hand who tells him it’s good to see him again.
“You’re late,” I said.
“This is for you,” he said and handed me a red rose. “It’s to make up for calling you so late. I guess now I have to make up for being late to our first date.” I later found out he was late because he was trying to find a place to buy roses.
The date was fine. Conversation flowed easily and we had a good time laughing. I wouldn’t say there were fireworks. Not for me, anyway. But what I kept noticing was the way he looked at me. No one had ever looked at me that way before. He wasn’t looking at my face. He wasn’t ogling me. He was appreciating me. He was really looking at me.
Over the next 2 weeks, he came to my house with dinner, brought me an endless supply of flowers, and fell all over himself every time he saw me. I stood back watching everything as if outside of myself. What is happening here?! This man was courting me, full on courting me, and loving doing it. He was everything any woman would wish for.
And for me, he’d arrived at the wrong time.
You see, I was only expecting Match.com to be a fun way to distract myself while I trudged through a divorce. I was planning on going to my Self-Improvement Retreat in Maui, praying for a year about the man that would enter my life and sweep me off my feet, and then eventually meet him in the grocery store while both grabbing for the same tomato. I was not planning to be so raw and vulnerable when I met him; so damaged. But here he was, way too early, being all perfectly imperfect…and I wasn’t ready.
Each time I told him I wasn’t ready, he smiled and said OK. And waited. He waited while I was in Maui (and sent roses to my hotel room), he waited over Valentine’s Day (which I spent with my son, so he had to cancel the reservations he’d made the day after our first date), he waited until finally I looked at him with a smirk on my face and said, “Fine. I’ll be your girlfriend.”
I am still not sure how I ended up so lucky. I have this man who might actually think that I hung the moon. And who, as it turns out, is one of the most brilliant, funny, kind, hard-working people I’ve ever met. I definitely did not mean to fall head over heels for him, and it did NOT happen over night. But I did. I can’t claim to know the future, nor can I predict what tomorrow morning holds. I just know I’m so lucky to be with someone who has my back, and who lets me be myself.
I don’t think I ever told you all that story because by the time I introduced him on my blog, I’d broken my leg. So I thought you should know that one year ago today, I met him in a cuban restaurant, cafe, and bar…and I feel so blessed to have gone back to that same place today with a whole new life. (And I got a dozen roses this time…)
Happy 365, Bear.