A year ago Sunday she said “I do,” and I was done in.
OK, that’s a lie. I was done in at Old Chicago the night we met.
I was there with The Gang for a Friday night of Drunk Pool. I’d left our table to go get another Fat Tire at the bar. A typically crowded weekend night at a typical chain bar, I’d stepped up to the only empty spot, in front of the cash register. I know that’s usually the place voted Least Likely to Get You a Drink Quickly (neck and neck with the spot where the cocktail waitresses pick up their orders), but it was the only spot I could wedge in. She wedged in the remaining smidge of an empty spot next to me, having just arrived to meet a girlfriend for a cocktail or three.
I looked over and fell a little in love right then. Mr. Too-Shy found himself asking, too quickly to get all worked up and nervous about it, “So what are you drinking?” She told me, and I told Jaime (my Old C bartender since Christ was a corporal) what to get us.
Then she told me her name in a confident voice and I fell a little more in love.
Within 40 minutes, we’d already broken all The Rules for First Dates. Somehow, I’d invited her to my best friend Don’s pajama party the next night, and promised to make her beef stroganoff with a lovely Pinot Noir on Sunday. We were, I think, both still sober.
Then she said something I couldn’t quite hear, so I reached over and touched her arm. And I could feel it all the way down to my toes.
Three weeks later I was forced to admit to my best (and recently neglected) female friend Deb that I was in love. A week after that, Melissa and I had The Talk.
“There’s a word I think we both want to use, but it’s too soon,” I said, trying desperately to play it cool