Back, by…well, boredom on my part…the continuing saga of Toni and Caleb…
Okay, so where were we? Ah yes. The first real date–you know, when 2 people, in advance, arrange to meet at a certain location on the premise of getting to know one another better. My first 2 encounters with Golden-boy Caleb both took place at a popular bar/night club back home in Pensacola. I thought perhaps I was portraying myself as a bit of a barfly and decided to make him work for his next make-out session with me by way of dinner and a movie.
I’ve never been one to sweat a first date–but for some reason, on this night, I was nervous wreck. My girlfriend, who had graduated high school with Caleb and had introduced us the week before, had built him up so much that I was left wondering "What could I possibly have to offer this person? Why am I even going on this date?"
The plan was to meet at his house (which was right down the road from mine) and drive off into the night together. I remember getting out of school that evening, and, being in a hurry to make it to his place on time, brutally murdering a poor squirrel. Well, really, that’s inaccurate. I believe the squirrel was suicidal–after all, he’s the one that dared come within 100 feet of my car–and I didn’t…totally…kill it. I KNOW! How awful am I? I knew he was pretty much done for–I had seen his furry little body fly through the air in my rear-view mirror–but I pulled over, got out of the car, and knelt down beside the poor thing to survey the damage…HUGE MISTAKE. I bet I’m the only person that’s ever heard a rodent cry, and this rodent was seriously crying–maybe even screaming. Just knowing that he was "on his way out" made me a basket case. There was nothing I could do, save backing up and finishing him off for good, but that wasn’t about to happen, so I got back in my car and continued on my way.
The date started out miserably.
I don’t know what happened. The tanned, muscular, genuine, charming man that I had mingled with before had turned into an obnoxious, conceited a-hole in a mere 3 days. We were not hitting it off like we did the past weekend, and there were a few times that I thought I’d have to cut the date short. Caleb has told me that on that particular night he thought I was acting like a complete and utter bitch–so I guess maybe we were on the same page after all.
We pulled up to the movie theater parking lot, and Caleb just sat there for a moment.
"This date sucks," he said.
"You’re right it does," I replied.
"How ’bout we grab a drink somewhere and just hang out for awhile?" he asked.
I realized that this question was actually guyspeak for "Wanna get drunk and make-out?", but I was more than okay with that, mainly because I couldn’t handle another sober minute with him.
And it was at that moment the evening took a turn for the much better.
We drove to a cozy little bar downtown, ordered a couple beers and talked–and I really do mean "talked", as in "had a long, intellectual conversation"–for a few solid hours. It was during this time I chose to tell him about Cheyenne. To my surprise and delight, not only did he NOT make a sour face, he asked to see a picture–and he really looked at it before handing it back to me.
I didn’t know what to think. Up until that night, anyone I had dated was never slightly interested in even asking about my daughter–which would explain why there was nobody that I was the least bit serious about in the year after my divorce. But Caleb was a champ. He wanted to know her middle name. He wanted to know if she liked dogs. He wanted to know if she played any sports. He wanted to know what it was like raising a kid at such a young age. And he wanted to know about my baby daddy–a question that I wasn’t completely willing to answer in depth, not just yet. Conversation ended.
The rest of the night went well. We kissed more than a little, laughed more than a lot, drank a few more beers, and did, in fact, get to know each other better.
Months later Caleb confessed that the moment I showed up crying about a screaming squirrel was the moment I endeared myself to him forever…good stuff. And, there’s more where that came from…