Meanwhile, W was having his own problems with the opposite sex. As these things usually do, it all started with a simple question.
“So, having spent the last two years without dating, I’ll bet you’re looking for a girlfriend, aren’t you?”
Isn’t that an obnoxious question? It was asked by an equally obnoxious girl; we’ll just call her K, shall we?
Concerned that she might be applying for the job, W answered, “Me? No, not looking for a girlfriend. I’m only looking to hang out and have fun. I’m planning on just dating. A lot.”
That seems like a good answer right? Well this girl was crafty.
“Who do you want to date?”
“No one in particular. Anyone, really.”
Can you see the corner the poor guy had painted himself into? Well, he didn’t, until…
“So W, how about me?”
That is how we both came to be stuck with dates we didn’t want.
Oh wait, I didn’t know about my big night yet, did I?
When I left you yesterday, J had told W about his intentions, but I was in the dark.
Until W, like a good BFF (to me), spilled the beans.
“What?! You’re kidding! He wants to plan a big special evening and ask me to be his girlfriend? What are we, fourth graders?
“I’m not going. I can’t go! But what will I tell him? I heard about your plan and I’m not really interested? I don’t want to hurt his feelings.”
In hindsight, that actually would have been the kindest thing to do, but remember, I was only 19 and pretty inexperienced with this kind of thing. Instead, I begged W to double with us, figuring I’d let J down easy on a different day. A day when he wasn’t scheming to spring a huge relationship question on me.
Somehow W was able to convince an unhappy J that we should double. After all, he didn’t want to be alone with K either.
I had to work the afternoon of the big date but had plans to go shoe shopping with my BFF after work.
As a sidenote: the shoes were for him, not me. And they were tasseled loafers. I had never spent time with a loafer-guy before. I was more of a boot-guy kind of girl. I wasn’t sure how to feel about that.
Anyway, the shoe shopping took longer than expected and I was in danger of being late for J.
W to the rescue again. He simply called J and arranged for us to pick him up. He wasn’t too happy to hear that we were hanging out together again, but what could we do?
W drove to pick up J first, then K. When he walked to her door, leaving me and J in the car, J told me that we were going ice skating before dinner.
“Oh, um… that sound like fun.”
But it didn’t. It sounded like torture. I am not exactly what one would call graceful. I had tried ice skating a couple of times and let’s just say, if we happened to run into Tanya Harding, I wouldn’t be in any danger.
Just then I noticed W helping K to the car. Helping her, because she was on crutches! She had sprained her ankle the day before, but didn’t say anything because she didn’t want W to have a reason to cancel. Oops! I guess that means no ice skating.
But when she heard the ice skating plan, she was all for it.
“That sounds like fun! I might not be able to skate, but I’d love to go anyway. I don’t mind just watching.”
If she was hoping that W would sit on the bench beside her, she would have to get used to disappointment. He thought skating sounded great. Oh joy.
On the hour-long ride into the city, J and I experienced our typical awkward silence. No matter, W and I had lots to talk about. BFFs! We weren’t trying to be rude to our dates, it just felt natural for us to connect with each other. We never ran out of things to say.
And then I realized, I was sparking.
Not for J, but for W.
My tasseled-shoe wearing BFF.
I liked him.
I like liked him!
And it looked like he liked me too.
Unfortunately, we weren’t the only ones who noticed. By the time we got to the rink, J had decided to sit on the bench and keep K (and her crutches) company while I laced up my skates and took to the ice with W.
Miracle of miracles! I could skate. With W at my side, I gracefully glided across the ice like I was born to it…
…for about three seconds, and then that stupid toe kick got in my way and I fell. No matter. Now that that was out of the way, things were sure to go better. Minding my toe-kick, I tried again. This time I actually got some speed going before a spectacular wipe out in a patch of melted ice. So much for trying to stay dry.
W was so sweet, helping me up and not even laughing
much at me.
next seventh time I fell, I had had enough. I complained to W that I had done nothing all night but fall and that it was ungentlemanly of him to stay on his skates. My pride demanded that he fall too.
“So won’t you please fall? For me?”
“Fall for you? Maybe I already did.” And then he skated away.
When he circled back, I whispered, “Hey, who’s on the date here, anyway?”
He glanced over at poor J and K who were glumly sitting on opposite sides of a bench, not talking to each other, and replied, “You and me.”
He was right…we consider that our first date.
Please don’t be hard on us for our treatment of J and K. We really didn’t mean to be rude. And contrary to the way it may appear, W never intended to try and steal me away (as if I belonged to J in the first place). He just enjoyed spending time with me. He liked the easy way we got along, that’s why he kept coming back to have lunch with me (or take me shoe shopping). And though we occasionally engaged in some innocent flirting, neither one of realized that we had feelings beyond friendship for each other until that night. Poor timing, maybe, but it all works out in the end.