Tuesday, June 21, 2011
I'm lost. I am SO lost. I'm lost in the Bronx. I'm lost in the Bronx at night and I'm gonna get killed.
My father warned me about this.
It's my second date with Kit and we're meeting near his place in the Bronx. It is actually easier and faster for me to drive up there than for both of us to meet in Manhattan. The train is forty-five minutes for me from Long Island and over and hour and a half for him on the subway. At a quick thirty minutes driving time, this trip sounded like a great idea when we planned it this afternoon. That is, until I realized I had to cross a bridge. And drive in the Bronx. And discovered just how many one-way streets a neighborhood can have. And that not all of them go in the direction I need them to go. And that's when I may or may not have started to cry.
I am lost in the Bronx.
This is really not like me. I have a great sense of direction (for a girl). I hardly ever get lost and when I do, I can always find my way out of it. Maybe that rule only applies to the suburbs because I have clearly gotten myself into a mess up here I'm not sure even my iPhone can guide me out of. When I tried "recalculating" the maps app, it threw its proverbial hands in the air and the blue dot just disappeared. Great. Just great.
This is made ten times worse by the fact that before I left the house, my father practically had a coronary. When you're a daddy's girl and you tell said over-protective daddy that you are driving to the Bronx at night for a date with a boy you've only met once before, let's just say that ALL of his defenses (and his blood pressure) go up exponentially. His response was "You know they sell drugs on every corner. And gang rapes. Those happen on every corner too."
Great, so now I'm lost in the Bronx at night and I'm going to get gang raped and sold drugs and my father will be crying at my wake that he warned me not to date that boy. If I die, I will never live it down.
After much whimpering on my part and much hesitating on my phone's part, I arrive safely at Kit's place. He meets me outside and I practically jump out of the car to hug him hello. I have never been so grateful to see someone I know in my life. Once I regain the ability to take full, deep breaths and form coherent sentences, Kit takes my hand and leads me to his favorite Thai restaurant.
Confession: I am not what you'd call "well versed" in Asian cuisine. My palate is trained in the fine art of Mediterranean food. I love all things Italian, French, Spanish, Greek and even Turkish but aside from take-out Chinese (think sesame chicken and an egg roll) I really have very little experience when it comes to Asian cooking. Yes, it's a little shameful that the only sushi I've ever consumed is a cucumber roll, but I make up for it with the perfect chocolate souffle and eggplant parmagiana. I want to be adventurous. I want to try new things. I want to keep an open mind. I've just spent the last thirty years living comfortably in my bubble. Kit may very well be the guy who finally breaks me out of my shell.
For the record, Thai iced tea is freakin delicious. I could not believe how incredibly yummy that drink was. Of course, I ordered seconds. Had someone offered me thirds or even fourths, I probably would've drunk those too. In the interest of being ladylike, I didn't do it, but I totally could have.
The Thai iced tea was, sadly, where the common interests stopped. I credit the universe as having a sense of humor when it comes to Kit and I dating. You see, we are allergic to each other's absolute favorite foods. Kit loves peppers and hot sauce with a passion. If he can put tabasco on a thing, he is happy eating it. Chili flakes, cayenne, jalapenos, habaneros, you name a spicy food and it brightens his day. I am allergic to peppers. Like vomit til I pass out allergic.
I stopped eating red meat at the ripe old age of ten. For protein (and because I grew up on the water), seafood is a staple in my diet. Crab, shrimp, lobster, et al, I love them and can't imagine life without them. Kit is allergic. Like lips and face blow up allergic. Between the need for protein and the lactose intolerance, I eat a lot of soy, edamame, tofu, and soy milk in my drinks. Kit is, again, allergic. Like throat closing up, breathing stops allergic. So between the two of us, we have the potential to each order our favorite meal, kiss once, blow up, throw up, stop breathing, and die.
This. Is. Bad.
Once we navigate the potentially deathly minefields of our first real meal together, everything goes pretty smoothly. The conversation bounces back and forth so easily, it feels like this is our millionth date, not our second. Kit is so comforting to talk to, simultaneously relaxed like an old friend and also endlessly fascinating like a new love interest should be. I'm mesmerized by his gorgeous face, captivated by his soothing voice, drawn into the details of his life before me. Getting to know Kit will take time, lots and lots of time, and yet he already feels so familiar. I love hearing stories of his childhood, tales of his family life, adventures of his school days, dreams for the future, goals and visions and plans. He's got a quiet strength that intrigues me and I find myself doing more listening than talking for the first time in my life.
We leave the restaurant after several hours, two chicken pad thai's, a bowl of mango sticky rice, and many iced teas. I take with me the paper straw covers that the clever waitstaff have sculpted into tiny white roses. I plan to bundle them up into one small bouquet when I get home, my first flowers "from" Kit. I'm determined to keep a reminder of each of our dates, chronicling our time together as sacred.
Holding hands out into the street, I am no longer scared of the big, bad Bronx. There is an amazing man by my side and nothing could shake the serenity of this evening right now. Still, as we cross over, I see a sign that reads in huge, neon orange letters: DRUGS. Hey, at least they're honest.