We tried to do date night once a week. Working full-time front of house schedules didn't always allow for that. Getting the same night off was like winning the lotto, landing the jackpot. Not every date was special. Most of them were pretty ordinary. But every once in a while, there was one that I will always remember. Those nights felt like pure magic.
Si, claro. It was right after Thanksgiving. I had spent the holiday with his family and even though I'd met everyone before- it was a big deal.
The wine we brought was from "us" even though he was the one that had picked it out and paid for it. He chose really well. We had Arnot-Roberts Trousseau. I love this bottle and it immediately takes me back to the beginning of us. I had never heard of Trousseau. We were at pre-shift and I remember listening to him describe what was in the glass. He sounded so smart and was so excited. It was perfectly charming and very endearing. I had such a crush. I took a sip, it was delightful. 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 was wearing a beautiful dress. It's one of those dresses that I only pull out for special occasions and it means I'm wearing high heels for the night.
He loved to tease me about my clothes and I loved to tease him with my clothes- a short skirt, a backless dress, a plunging neckline. Isn't that what great clothes are for?
I took a cab and timed my arrival perfectly. I knew he would already be there and I could make an entrance.
He was always early.
When I walked in the hostess immediately recognized me and gestured to the table where he was waiting.
Mind you, I made a real effort. I pulled out the stops that night- I put on a great dress, I did my hair, I took time to put on makeup, I was wearing heels for goodness sake. But 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 the middle of July and it was hot as hell. I had 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 remember exactly what I was wearing and how I was accessorized. We planned to meet at a bar around the corner for drinks beforehand. He was the first one there. I was second so he saw me walk in, and we had a moment in the woods. It was like he was seeing me for the first time. Seeing him see me was a thrill. 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 and he spent the next few days returning bobby pins/various accessories to me.
We were seated in a corner booth so there was no chair to pull out but he got up and pulled out the table so I could slide gracefully into the booth.
Every once in a while, I'm a sucker for some old school chivalry.
The next few moments are a blur of standard restaurant greetings/banter with coworkers.
"Hi there, so great to have you in. May I start you with sparkling or still?"
"He likes sparkling, I'll take still."
"You look beautiful."
"Thank you so much. I'm excited to finally sit down for dinner."
He had brought his parents, his brother, even his roommates before I got a proper sit-down dinner. We came in for champagne and dessert at the bar for my birthday. That was different. We stopped by early in the evening before service really got going. The restaurant was empty. I had dropped in occasionally since then for delicious champagne and dessert but mostly to see him. Tonight was different. For starters, we weren't sitting at the bar.
Before I even have a chance to think about drinks, there's a bottle of Margeut Pere & Fils 'Shaman' Grand Cru Rosé Champagne being presented to me to 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. Whenever he sold champagne, he would find me and make sure I got a taste right away. He just knew.
I accept the wine because it's delicious. As the glass is being poured, he notices that it's the last of the bottle. It had already been open for a while. Maybe from the night before?
He simply looks to the server and asks in the most humble way, "Hey, can you open a new bottle?"
He didn't come off annoyed or angry or pretentious to any extent. To me, the real ask was, "Hey man, help me impress this girl. She deserves the best. She's special. Please open a new bottle of champagne."
I thought it was the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me.