Friday, June 14, 2013

At Last

Jason is a gentleman. If you need to know one thing about him, you should know that he is an old-fashioned, chivalrous, generous gentleman.

You should also know that he is a Kansas-raised farm boy, a lover of classic rock, and a nerd to rival the guys on The Big Bang Theory...but that's a different story.

For our first couple-y celebration together, Jason picked me up and brought me back to his apartment. He wanted to create a super special evening for me and he kept his plans a top secret surprise. Anyone who knows me understands that I *may* be ever so slightly considered a control freak. Jason accepts that I am adorably quirky in my need to plan everything out and he wants to date me anyway, which I appreciate. But tonight, he wanted to surprise me and I had to relinquish my treasured control.

I'm so glad I did.

He covered my eyes as I walked into the apartment, which almost induced a full on panic attack, but I managed a few deep breaths and a few steps forward. When he lifted his hand, I saw a beautifully set table, complete with candles, flowers, and a gift bag stuffed to the brim.

Well, not exactly flowers...Tulips.

Ok, ok I know that tulips are, in fact, flowers. But they're flowers that I hate. Hate with a deep seeded passion. Hate for no apparent reason, but hate nonetheless. I have a blatant disdain for carnations as they are a filler flower. I can't stand baby's breath or leatherleaf because they're entirely too common. I view red roses as the Sicilian funeral flower and not the passionate symbol of love that Western civilization seems to have interpreted them to mean. None of those reasons apply here. I simply hate tulips.

It's not Jason's fault that he got me tulips. We haven't been dating long enough to have had the extensive flower conversation. He knew about the red rose embargo but aside from that, I can't expect him to understand my affection for sunflowers or gerbera daisies or roses of literally any other color. The thing about people is that we are who we are, and we like not having to explain ourselves. But dating someone new inevitably requires lots and lots of explanation. About everything.

I do not say any of this out loud because I'm so grateful he's this sweet to me and I'm trying really hard not to be my normal control freak self. Luckily for me (or perhaps unluckily) he picks up on my vibe in under ten seconds and responds with a teasing, "You hate tulips, don't you?" We both laugh and I say I'm sorry a hundred times and he thinks it's hysterical. That might be the best part of Jason. While I take myself super seriously, he does not. While I'm afraid what he'll think of me if I admit to hating tulips, he's not afraid to call me out on my bull shit and takes it all in stride. He hugs me tightly and says "Let's hope you don't hate dinner too."

Fortunately for our fledgling relationship, I do not hate dinner at all. Jason went to the Italian market on his lunch break. This is a man who never takes a lunch break for himself, let alone leaves the office to shop for a meal he actually plans on cooking at home, on a week night. The longer I date him the more I realize that this is a HUGE anomaly in his routine and that makes it a thousand times more special that he's made such an effort. It totally makes up for the tulips.

He got soft semolina bread (with no seeds), tomato sauce (with no meat), and real grated Parmesan cheese (not the Kraft green stuff in a can.) He bought gorgeous heart shaped ravioli, fresh tomato and mozzarella, delicious Balsamic vinegar, and chilled white wine. It turns out, he knows me pretty well after all.

In lieu of his usual Metallica, Linkin Park, or Reel Big Fish, Jason throws a Rat Pack playlist on the stereo. Somewhere between Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin, Ella Fitzgerald comes on and he wraps his arms around me in the tiny kitchen. We are dancing to At Last while the pasta water boils and I get lost in his kisses and the smell of olive oil.

The song ends and Jason unravels me from his comforting embrace. I begin bringing our salads and drinks out to the coffee table that also serves as a dining room table. We snuggle up on the couch to enjoy our first semi-homemade meal together when it hits me: This is what everyone is talking about. This moment, right here. This is what people mean when they say "this is it."

Tulips or no tulips. Homemade or store bought. Special occasion or just because. I am so happy I have Jason to cook with, to dance with, to laugh with, to love. I can't believe I finally found him. He's mine...At Last.

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