We arrived just before our dinner reservation and we waited quietly letting the awkward silence wash over us as we glanced at the various items on the wall at the entrance of the restaurant. This was going to be a special dinner, a dinner to remember for sure and this increased pressure added to the awkwardness of the moment. She obviously knew we were at the best vegetarian restaurant in town, the restaurant being a hold over from a time when being vegetarian was a trendy concept, there were obvious signs of aging but still best in town. And yet she had no idea what was to come, I was going to show her a beautiful romantic side of my personality, if only I could get passed all the shyness.
"Your table will be ready momentarily." The hostess clearly sensing the difficulty of the moment had come to my rescue with a bit of conversation. "Great", I said. Ever the conversationalist, I smiled at my date and continued to stare at the things on the wall. I started to realize that maybe she thought, that I thought, that what ever was on the walls was more interesting than her. The truth was this date meant something to me and that changed everything. We stood just a few inches from each other but it might as well been across the crowded restaurant as I was so wrapped up in thinking about what she was thinking about, that when the hostess came and told us that the table was ready, I jumped like I had just been splashed with some water.
We got to the table, the waiter soon came by and the light the candle, clearly he had just blown out the candle from the previous customers at the table, as the candle wax on the top was still sitting there like a thickened pool on a hot summer day. And as he struck the match he bellowed out the features, like I was buying a car, not ordering a meal. But for me there was only one thing that I could think of, wine. I asked my date if it would be okay if I ordered a bottle of wine, clearly she had been thinking that she needed some wine as well as her eyes brightened at the mere mention and with a very excited glee said of course wine would be great.
The waiter makes a funny bow and leaves us to resume our awkwardness.
"Have you been here before?"
"Sorry?" I replied.
"Have you eaten here before?"
"No." I lied. How could I tell her that this was the spot I brought all dates. "Have you?"
"Um, one time. I had the pasta with tofu balls."
It's a funny moment in time, when you realize that you are experiencing both your greatest fear and happiness simultaneously. She was sweet, cute, kind and wasn't afraid to be herself, funny places and moments when love strikes.
As I reeled from the moments revelation of love, the waiter arrives carrying the jug of wine and sets it down at the edge of the table and drops some bread sticks as well. He nods like he is ready for our order.
"I will have the pasta with tofu balls." She says.
"Me too," I chimed in.
"Aw," the waiter breathes slowly adopting a hybrid accent of Italian and French. "I will bring you the lovers bowl!"
Good intention waiters are sometimes the worst. Now what do I say....If I say yes, she will know that I think that this is not simply two people enjoying a meal together but a real date but if I say no and she thinks that this is a date then she will be upset thinking that I don't really like her....Sweat starts to bead up at my temple, threatening with falling past my brow and rolling down my cheek.
"Yes, that would be perfect." She chimes in, clear that I was too frozen to answer.
The dinner starts to ease, both in terms of awkwardness but also my shyness. I knew that this was a real date now and I knew that she wanted to be on this date. The wine didn't hurt either.
"The lovers plate of pasta and tofu balls. Enjoy!" The waiter drops the large plate in front of us and signals us if we would like fresh ground pepper on the pasta. We both nodded simultaneously and soon enough he leaves us to enjoy our pasta.
As we eat our pasta and laughed gently as we told each other stories aimed at making us sounds smarter or more interesting that we really are, we fell into a perfect rythmic pace and soon everything disappeared. We were happy just being with each other, in that moment there was only us. Soon we couldn't keep our eyes off of each other. Just staring at each other and eating pasta. These are the moments that are essential to building a life together with anyone, an unspoken promise to the universe that you will overcome all your fears of rejection in order to let a grandeur scheme unfold.