A First Date That Ended in Tears

by Lorinda Turley

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There is a certain amount of anxiety that surrounds a first date.  This particular one seemed bone trembling at the time.

I was a recently divorced, single mother of two.  The idea of dating after seven years of being out of that “scene” was nauseating.

Our Church Educational System (CES) was hosting a dinner event, and as a part-time CES secretary, I was encouraged to attend with a date.

The encouragement consisted of: “you have to bring a date.”

My friendships with singles were VERY limited.  And single men…I think I had spoken to two.

Trying to remain optimistic, at least I had two choices (a back up if the first turned me down).

When I found the nerve to make the phone call, I was trembling, struggling to keep my voice steady in order to extend the invitation.  I fumbled my words, but completed the task and the question loomed.

His turn.

“Let me check my calendar,” he said as he grabbed his Blackberry.  The silence seemed ominous until finally he responded, “it looks like I’m free; I would love to join you.”

Breathing once again, we worked out the details.

He worked in Washington, DC, and my event was in Fredericksburg, VA.  We arranged to meet at my office in Stafford, VA.

When he arrived, he had a “slug” with him.  It’s an awful commuter term.  In order to keep his trip south moving in rush hour traffic, he stopped en route to pick up two “slugs” so he could drive in the HOV lanes.

One of the “slugs” was a person whose wife was my friend.  I honestly don’t remember how the “slug” got home, but I do remember his expression when my date and I greeted one another.

I was accustomed to shaking a man’s hand.  I put out my hand just as he went for a hug.  It ended up being a half hug-handshake…it felt awkward and judging by the smirk on the “slug’s” face must have looked even more so.

Keep moving forward.

We left his car at my office, and I drove to the event location.

We maintained pleasant conversation throughout the evening.

After dinner, we sat down in a pew to listen to the broadcast presentation.  We made sure to have comfortable space between one another…not touching, of course.   This portion of the event began with an opening hymn, and as we began to sing, I was shocked.  He had a strong, beautiful tenor voice.  I know men who can sing, but I had never sat next to one who had a trained voice.  I could not hold back my smile, inside or out, and thought to myself,  a man who can sing…I may struggle to focus on the speaker.

Following the broadcast, dessert was served.  He offered to get the dessert for us.

Note to self~never again.

He brought one of everything and being new to this, I didn’t want to be rude and ate it all.  When I was finished, he said in a kind way, “wow, I enjoyed watching that. I thought you would only eat what you liked.”

Oops, my mistake!

Dinner was lovely, the speaker was inspiring, and dessert…I think I had too much.

When we returned to his car, I gave him a proper hug and thanked him for joining me.  He had made it a lovely evening.  At this, he thanked me for inviting him, opened his trunk and handed me a gorgeous bouquet of flowers.

He, noticing my surprise, commented that his female colleague made the suggestion to have them on hand.  If he enjoyed the evening, he could pass them along; if not, he could give them to someone else.

The evening ended as he helped me into my car, stepped back, and watched me drive away.

As soon as I was out of his sight, I began to cry.

I had long forgotten what it felt like to be treated with dignity and respect by a man.  It was a humbling reminder of who I was as a daughter of God and my worth in the sight of God.

This gentleman extended every bit of that worth throughout our evening together.  He knew his Father in Heaven and, therefore, knew how I was to be treated.

I never again would accept anything less.  Nor did I have to; we were married nine months later.

C~my love is yours.

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