This is the third, and final, installment in my "Bridget Jones"-like singleton tale. If you missed the preceding two, please check out:
I had on my favorite outfit at that time --- a red turtleneck sweater, Gap Long and Leans, a warm chocolate brown coat, and my soft red, brown, and cream scarf. I was comfy. In my outfit. In my own skin. I knew tonight's coffee date was just another blip on my relational radar. At least I knew I was guaranteed to completely love my chai latte.
Parking, I mentally replayed our planning conversations. "Meet me by the front door. I'm reading a bright pink book right now, so that's what I'll be carrying with me if you're not sure who to pick out of the coffee shop's evening crowd." I looked at the clock, fidgeting with my purse, my scarf...well, anything that was still long enough for me to mess around with it. I wasn't late, but later than I wanted to be. I wanted to avoid the whole awkward ordering sitch by arriving first and taking care of my own drink.
Through Starbucks steamy windows I could see someone waiting just inside. Yes. The guy in the picture.
I pulled out my smile, my hand, and my name. "You must be Tom," I said matter-of-factly while taking the surface detail survey every single girl completes when meeting a guy for the first time. Shoes and belt match, check. Well groomed, check. Warm smile, check. Nice eyes, check. Athletic, check.
We ordered, each committing to a grande, but were foiled. The small crackerbox of a shop was cramped beyond capacity so we ended up at a bake house down the street for the second part of our date. Like a duck to water, our conversation smoothly transitioned from pleasantries to deeper topics and back again. We laughed, inquired, created, reminisced. Well, until the bake house closed. "Do you think we should try Starbucks again?" he asked. My eyes grew big...as big as my heart had grown over the past few hours. He's not done with me yet. "Sure," I sweetly supplied. And, we did.
This time, a round table in the back our little java haven served as the perfect space for us to continue connecting the dots. And, little by little the pieces in my heart's puzzle began to match.
I used to love that Jake designed buildings around our city; Tom does that too.
I used to love that Tom 1 was musical; this Tom is too.
I used to love that Rob had dark, beautiful hair; Tom has it too.
I used to love that Paul was funny; Tom is too.
My epiphany: this Tom is the complete package. If I would take every little thing I loved about every other guy I dated in years past, this guy has it. He's not perfect, but neither am I. What I began to see was that we could be perfect for each other.
"It's late. It's a school night. My mom's a teacher and she never likes to stay up late, so maybe we should go. Can I call you again sometime soon Maybe we could go out for dinner?"
"Yes, I'd like that," I blushed with weak knees and a warm heart.
And, that's where our whirlwind courtship began. Right then, right there. A couple hours past my tall; a couple prayers answered at the corner of 62nd and Guilford. I never looked back to singledom and neither did he. I never grocery-shopped at Wal-Mart on a Friday night thereafter.
Exclusively dating for five months, we became engaged and were married in a holiday ceremony downtown four months later.
Yes, I was 29 when I said "I do" but 29 is better than 30, right? I was sure it was...
Two-and-a-half years later we had our first child.
We just celebrated our five-year anniversary, and yes, every fourth week of March we try to fit in a coffee date, at Starbucks, to remember the night we met :).