Thursday, 12 May 2016

My First Date

Eight years ago today I was at work. Nothing unusual in that. It was a Monday. I don't remember which lessons I was supporting in. But I remember not being able to concentrate. I tried my hardest, but I was nervous and excited in equal measures. My brain just didn't have space for Learning Support.

I was going on a first date that evening. Not just the first date with this fellow, but my first date ever. 

Yes, I had reached the grand age of nearly 25 without ever having been on a date. 

Me and my friend
There I am, looking hot, 2 days before he asked me out,
with my friend who helped me realise I fancied him.

My girlfriends were full of helpful advice. 

Some chaps from church had offered to keep an eye on him for me. 

I thought I'd managed to keep it a secret from our vicar, but the evening before, at church, he'd hinted, with a cheeky look on his face, that he fancied going out for an Indian on Monday evening. 

It seemed everyone knew. And everyone was excited for me. 

The ladies in my department were quite possibly more excited than I was. Over lunch we discussed what I was going to wear, what time he was picking me up, where we going. 

It was always like being surrounded by wonderful aunties in the Pupil Support Department. Most of them older than me, with children of their own. They were supportive and kind and generous. I miss them a lot. 

But, I digress!

I remember getting ready to go out in the evening. Neither of my housemates were home. How was I supposed to do this with no one to tell me how I looked? To give me a pep talk? I had no clue. All I knew was that I liked this chap. And he obviously liked me enough to ask me out for dinner. 

I wore my favourite top. Blue. With the beautiful blue, dangly earrings I'd bought in Paris. I've lost them now. And I don't have the top anymore either. I can't remember if I wore black trousers or white linen ones. My shoes were flat, but again, I don't remember the colour. I want to say they were my blue satin ones, but I don't think I bought those until a year later. 

It's funny, the things you forget, the details that stay forever. 

I was ironing my trousers - yes, ironing! I must have been nervous. 

My mum rang me. She had cut her finger on a tin of tuna. Or perhaps I had. It definitely happened, and whoever it happened to, it added to the stress of getting ready. Though why I would have been opening tuna, I don't know. We were going out for dinner!

I was ready before he arrived. This tall, handsome man whom I had met only 2 weeks before. 

I sat quietly. Breathing. What if it all went wrong over dinner? My first AND last date. 

He told me I looked lovely when I opened the door. Just a few minutes late. Perfect timing, after I had told him the week before never to pick a girl up early! 

I don't remember what he was wearing. Possibly a white shirt. 

He drove us into town, in his enormous people carrier. And we walked from the car park to my favourite restaurant.

Dil Se. It's not there anymore. Neither is the place we first met. 

It means "From the Heart" and is also the name of a Bollywood film from the 90s. An apt name for our relationship. 

Candles, wine bottle and glasses
Our date didn't look anything like this, but you get the idea!

There was one other couple in there, and they were gone pretty quickly after we arrived, so we had the restaurant to ourselves. 

I had Green Lamb Tikka Bahar. My favourite dish there. A dish I have never found again in any Indian restaurant. 

If anyone knows the recipe, I would be eternally grateful to you. 

We shared a naan and poppadums. I had a Kingfisher. 

And we talked. So much. About everything. We kept forgetting to eat. 

It got awkward when the waiters obviously wanted us to finish and leave. We were the only people there after all. And we were hardly going to be paying enough to cover their wages for the evening. 

Eventually we gave in to their reproachful stares. They couldn't dampen our mood though. 

We got our bill, and I duly took my purse from my bag, as one of my best girls had said I should. 

"Look willing to pay your share, but accept gracefully when he refuses to let you."

Her advice worked. 

He asked at the table if I would like to do this again. 

I said, "Yes," and we organised a second date there and then. 

I don't remember what we talked about on the way home, or on the doorstep. 

There was no goodnight kiss. 

But there was one very happy girl laying in bed, replaying the wonderful evening in her head. 

I posted on Facebook that I'd had a very lovely evening, thank you very much. 

My Facebook status

The next day my friend told me I looked like I'd slept with a coat hanger in my mouth. 

So, what happened?

Well, in the words of my beloved Jane Eyre, "Reader, I married him."

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