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The Advent of Affection: A Memoir

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MONDAY:

My life has been changed forever, and I could not be happier. The girl – no, goddess is a more fitting term – whose affection I have been vying to win for what seems like an eternity has just told me two things:
1)
She likes me back.
2)
She’ll see me on Sunday at 6:00 p.m. for a date.
At this point I respond in the only way that is reasonable when your crush tells you that she likes you: I attempt a cartwheel. Midway through the cartwheel motion, however, I remember that I have never actually been able to do a cartwheel and usually fall flat on my face. With this grim memory in mind I proceed to execute the cartwheel in a more cautious manner than usual, which leads me, naturally, to fall flat on my face somewhat more gracefully than usual. Oh well. I’m so filled with glee that I could grin through having a cactus shoved up my nose.
Now for step 2: I inform Jacob, my friend (or “bro” as we call it; we even have a special hi-five that we execute when we want to look semi-cool), of the good news. Being my bro, Jacob has been aware of the ongoing drama between Sophie (the goddess) and I, and happily congratulates me for finally making some progress. He may have been genuinely happy for me, or he may have been happy that he didn’t have to put up with my Byron-like romantic pining anymore. The latter is probably more likely, but, again, my joy prevents me from caring.
There is one drawback to this whole situation, however. It’s Monday, and the date of fate is on Sunday at 6:00. Thus:


TUESDAY-SUNDAY, 5:59 P.M.


Passes by with all the speed of molasses going uphill in January while taking the time to watch paint dry. However, I endure with patience that would make Gandhi proud, and the moment that I have so been looking forward to finally arrives.


SUNDAY, 6:0O P.M.


I am sitting in a chair that gives me a nice view of our driveway and nearby road. I have been sitting in said chair for 15 minutes. Fortunately, it is comfy. Even more fortunately, I at last see Sophie’s car (an old, tan thing that’s not nearly good enough for her) pull over on the road near my house. In a motion comparable to Aphrodite getting off her chariot, Sophie exits her car, and I finally get to see her. Her hair spills down her slender figure like red silk, and her green eyes sparkle as she gracefully walks down the driveway. If this were re-played in slow motion with some sultry saxophone background music it could easily be the opening entrance of a babe in a James Bond movie.

My mind is racing: "Calm down, Garrett! Calm down. You’ve made it this far, so it’s more important than ever that you keep your cool and play it smooth. Don’t get overenthusiastic, and do NOT be dorky." Thus, less than a second after Sophie rings the doorbell I almost rip the door off its hinges in my impatience to see her. Men often ignore what their brains tell them when in the presence of beautiful women. I am no exception.

Sophie’s teeth, whiter than a dove’s feather on fresh snow, almost blind me when she smiles at me to say hello. My hearts’ rhythm is akin to a man with a .25 BAC going nuts on a drum set, and upon seeing her beauty up close I feel nervous enough to either pass out or run away screaming. I do neither. Instead, I stammer out a sheepish “Hi” and lead her into my house to have dinner.

Dinner tonight is pasta with pesto, a family favorite and, conveniently, a vegetarian meal. Sophie hasn’t eaten meat for so long that her stomach can no longer tolerate it, which meant that the original plan of steak would not have ended well. However, Sophie says to me that she loves pesto, and I feel relieved, confident that dinner will be a success.

I felt relieved too soon, as whatever food can’t ruin in a meal, parents can. Almost as soon as Sophie sits down to eat, my parents (most notably my mother) start an interrogation that would have made those that lead the Spanish Inquisition cringe. It can’t be more than small talk, I think to myself, but as the questioning continues--Mom even gets out a pen and paper and starts writing some of the answers down—for 20, 30, 40 minutes, I realize that Sophie and I should evacuate ASAP.

Before Sophie is strapped to the chair for more rigorous questioning, she and I manage to escape to the basement to watch the planned movie: Raising Arizona, a Cohen Brother’s movie about a couple who steals a baby from another couple that just had quintuplets. Obviously, a perfect movie for the first date.

The movie begins, and I couldn’t be more nervous. Not because I’m worried that the movie will offend her, and not even because I was worried that my parents’ detective routine will scare her off. No, I am almost shaking in my socks because I plan, for the first time in my life, to ask a girl if I can put my arm around her. I am terrified.

So terrified, in fact, that the movie goes for 40 minutes before I muster the courage to ask the modest-but-monumental question. I even go to the bathroom for a small period to get pumped, and when I come back, ready as I’ll ever be, my mind is screaming at me: "Don’t do it, Garrett! It’s the first date! You’re going too fast! You’re just going to scare her off and then you’ll never have a chance to see her like this again! She might even slap you! SLAP YOU, I say! You’ll regret doing this, believe me! It will never work! You’ll just completely blow it and then wallow in regret and self-pity for the rest of your life while you half-heartedly date trashy women who aren’t half as good as Sophie and will never find true happiness because you threw away your first--"


“Hey . . . is it okay if I p-put my arm around you?”

“Sure!”


She even thinks it was funny that I felt like I had to ask in the first place. I think I may have set the world record for dorkiness, but Sophie doesn’t seem to care. She’s happy because the movie is gut-splittingly funny, and I’m happy because I have my arm around the girl of my dreams. Life is good.

The rest of the night is as smooth as Sophie’s skin. The movie ends, we say goodnight, and we plan for a second date on Thursday.

The goal for Thursday? The first kiss. We’ll see how it goes.



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