A Date

It wasn’t that she never knew when men were hitting on her, it’s that she only knew when she was also interested in them. When she wasn’t the least bit interested in a man she had no idea he was flirting with her, and was always taken aback when they asked her out. “On a date?” she’d say, surprised. And if that shocked reaction wasn’t enough to cool their jets, she’d give them a try. Why not? She was young, single, and had no idea what she wanted out of life. Maybe these men could help her find the answer.

For some women dating a cop is a turn on. Something about uniforms and guns and power. The whole thing made her shudder. So when she was pulled over she rolled down her windows and tried to keep her anxiety in check.

“Do you know why I pulled you over?” the officer asked.

She shrugged and said, “I figure I have a taillight out or something cause I know I wasn’t speeding.”

“License plate.”

She stared at him blankly, “License plate?” she repeated.

“It is illegal to set your plate in the window. You have to install it on the vehicle.”

“Really?” her eyebrows shot up in surprise. It had never occurred to her that such a thing would matter. If they can see it through the window what’s the difference.

“Is there a reason the plate isn’t installed?” the officer asked.

“I don’t own any tools,” she replied truthfully.

The officer laughed. “Alright, well I won’t write you up for this if you promise to get it installed today.”

“I promise. But not sure how I’ll fulfill it.”

“Head down to that auto shop two blocks ahead. They’ll have a screwdriver you can borrow.”

“All I need is a screwdriver? Huh, I thought it would be some wrench type thing,” she said.

The officer laughed again, patted her truck, and walked away with a “have a nice day” thrown over his shoulder.

She made good on her promise and just like the officer had said the auto shop was happy to install her plate for her, although they too laughed at the situation. The mechanic who installed it was at least ten years older than she was and once again a surprised “on a date?” was escaping her lips by the time he was finishing up. The man blushed and didn’t push it, so she went on her way with her social calendar unedited.

It was later that night at a local bar that she ran into the officer again. Out of uniform it took her a moment to place him. He knew her immediately, however, and asked her to dance. They were out there two minutes later with him pulling her in closer when she reached for his waist and felt his gun. She froze. He laughed, told her it was fine, the safety was on, he was required to carry it at all times. And that was that. She made an excuse to go to the restroom but snuck out through the kitchen claiming there was a man who wouldn’t stop harassing her and she needed help getting out so he wouldn’t see. She never went to that bar again.

It wasn’t long before she’d found someone to flirt with who was flirting back. It wasn’t long before the flirting became a little less general, a bit more focused. It wasn’t long before the flirting was a deep abiding attraction, the conversation devoid of banter and full of the present and the future. It wasn’t long before she’d found someone she wanted out of life. So when he didn’t ask her out she was a bit shocked. A bit taken aback. After drawing out the night as long as she possibly could she finally had to concede that this man was going to go home, without her, and without a plan for a future date.

Standing with him at his car, a position she’d never been in before, she finally asked, “so when are you going to take me out?”

“On a date?” he asked, smiling.

“Well, I dunno…” she kind of mumbled, shy and embarrassed for the first time.

“I kind of thought we were past the dating part, but if you need me to ask you I will.”

She was silent, thinking about this. Did she need a date? Were they past the dating part after only five hours of drinking and talking? Before she could reply he stepped towards her, lifted her face towards his, and smiled.

“I’ll kiss you when you’re sure. I’ll be here again tomorrow night if you need a date.”

He let go of her face, stepped back, and got into his truck. She was just standing there. She couldn’t think to move. Her arms and hands hung limply by her side. What was happening to her? She watched as he put the key in the ignition and started it up. She watched as he looked out at her again, “probably thinking what a weirdo I am,” she thought, as he drove slowly away.

Here, or rather there, was a man who maybe knew what she wanted out of life better than she knew herself. Had she wanted him to kiss her? Definitely, in the way of all things curious. But also, no. She wanted to savor the evening and think of him with butterflies and look forward to tomorrow. A kiss might have ruined all that anticipation. And he seemed to know that.

But “I’ll be here tomorrow” wasn’t any kind of date she’d ever heard of. And yet she found she liked the idea of that much better. There wasn’t any pressure or expectation. It was something she’d say to a friend. And yet he’d made it clear that he thought of her in more than a friendly way, he was simply waiting for her to decide what she wanted.

How very thoughtful. How very gentlemanly. How very unexpected.

She realized she absolutely did not need a date. She’d never needed to date. She needed this, right here. This understanding that had occurred between them. This acceptance that she was in control of what she wanted, even if he knew what it was. She would be there tomorrow. Not for a date. For the continuation of this way of being with someone. She wanted more. She very much wanted this man who knew how to help her find her answer, not by telling her when he knew it, but by giving her the space to hear it.

~~~That’s one hour~~~

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