Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Most Romantic Thing

Remember that date night last November?

We tried to have date night once a week. Working a full-time front of house schedule didn't always allow for that. Getting the same night off was like winning the lotto, landing on the jackpot. And not every single one was amazing. Most of them were pretty ordinary.  But then there the ones that nothing will compare to. Those nights felt like pure magic. 

So, do I remember that night? 
Si, claro. 

It was right after I had spent Thanksgiving with his immediate family and even though I'd met everyone before this was different. This was on a holiday. We brought wine from "us" even though he was the one that had picked it up (and paid for it). He chose well though. There was a bottle of Arnot-Roberts Trousseau in the mix. It's one of those bottles that I have a nostalgic attachment to because it was on the list at the restaurant where we met. I remember tasting it for the first time at line-up and listening to him describe it. He sounded so smart and was so excited about it. It was perfectly charming and attractive. I had such a crush. When I took a sip that first sip, it lit me up. It was unlike anything I'd ever tasted. Delicate yet firm. Whimsical yet structured. It was delicious. Every time I see that bottle in a shop, I buy it. I just bought it yesterday.

I had on a perfect dress. It is one of those dresses you only pull out for holidays or other special occasions. 

He always teased me about my clothes. I always teased him with my clothes- a short skirt, a backless dress, a plunging neckline- because that's what great clothes are for, no?

I took a cab and timed my arrival perfectly. I knew he would already be seated and have to watch me walk in. 

He was always early. 

He would have to stand up, give me a kiss and pull out my chair for me before anyone else could. When I walked in the hostess immediately recognized me and gestured to the table where he was waiting. 

His face was almost one of surprise when he saw me. 

Spoiler alert. My appearance is not regularly glamorous but I made the effort and pulled out the stops that night- I put on a great dress, I did my hair, I took time to put on makeup, I even wore heels. And the look on his face when I walked in made it well worth the effort.

Three of us from work all got along and by chance had a night off together so we made a reservation to go to dinner. It was in the middle of July. It was hot as hell. I had about a million bobby pins in my hair all working to keep my crown braid secure as I navigated the subway stairs in my wedges. I wore black shorts and a bright blue blouse with a bright yellow statement necklace. Naturally, we couldn't show up to our reservation on time so we planned to meet at a bar around the corner for drinks. He was there on time. I was late. When he saw me walk in, it was like he was seeing me for the first time. Watching him watch me walk in was thrilling. I wanted him to look at me like that all the time. By the time our friend got there, I'd decided my crush was full-blown. He spent the next few days returning bobby pins to me.  

We were seated in a corner booth so there was no chair to pull out but you know he got up and pulled out the entire table so I could slide gracefully into the booth. 
Fine dining, man. 
There is nothing like it.

The next few moments are a blur. 
There are the standard restaurant greetings, "Hello, how are you this evening? May I start you with sparkling or still?"
"He likes sparkling, I'll take still." 
"So nice to see you, you look beautiful." 
"Thank you so much. I'm excited to finally sit down for dinner."
A few of the people who are close to him stop by and say hi or are introduced to me for the first time.

He had brought his parents, his brother, even his roommates before I got a proper sit-down dinner. Sure, we came in for champagne and dessert at the bar for my birthday. But that was different. We stopped by early in the evening before service really got going. The restaurant was empty. I had since been coming in on my own or with friends for basically the same thing on a fairly regular basis. Partly for the delicious champagne and dessert but mostly to see him.

Before we even have a chance to think about drinks, there's a bottle of Shaman Margeut Rosé Champagne being presented to me and I'm poured a taste. 

When we were working together, he would save me tastes of different bottles that he sold. We had a spot where we kept glasses lined up. Everyone knew those were his prize tastes and off limits but not for me. They were little treats for me to enjoy throughout the night. But whenever he sold champagne, he would find me and make sure I got a taste right then and there because nothing is as good as freshly opened champagne. 

I accept the taste because it's delicious and as the server is pouring, he notices that it's a bottle that was already open. Maybe from the night before? He gives the server a look and says, "Hey, man. Can you open a new bottle?" And it wasn't in a way that made him sound annoyed or angry. It was a voice where the subtext was, to me at least, "Hey man, help me impress this girl. She deserves the best. She's special. Please open a new bottle of champagne."

 I still think it's the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me.

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