Friday, July 5, 2013
An Unexpected Journey
That was my first thought on our first date. I showed up at the movie theater looking casually adorable and a few minutes late (as per usual.) I passed a huge guy on my way in and didn't really give him a second glance, other than to think as I walked past "Please don't let that be him."
I texted Jason when I got inside the lobby to say that I'd arrived and he wrote back almost immediately "I'm here. Standing outside. How'd I miss you?"
"Oh shit," I think. It *was* him!
Jason walked into the movie theater lobby looking more like a giant than a man. He's 6'3 (6'4?) and wearing a black coat over a black jacket over a black button down with black slacks and black shoes. If I squint just a tad, he looks like Hagrid from Harry Potter. I have a date with Hagrid??? What have I gotten myself into?
My moment of sheer terror is quickly relieved when Jason smiles at me, one of the most genuine beaming smiles I have ever seen. He wrapped his arms around me and a fear of being crushed to death flashes before my eyes. Instead of the bear hug from Andre the Giant I am dreading, it is more like being gently enveloped in a sweet, warm embrace from an old friend I haven't seen in forever. Jason is comfortable, instantly familiar, and I feel myself melt into him just enough to feel small, safe, and secure in his arms. I don't want him to let go.
We separate and I find myself staring up into his face. Literally, tilting my head at a 45 degree angle to look up at him. At 5'9, I'm pretty tall for a girl, but he still makes me feel like a tiny little person. I realize how many short men I've been dating and am immensely grateful that Jason is as big as he is. He looks and feels and smells like a real man. Strong and confident yet with a kindness about him I can't quite put my finger on. He's already bought our tickets and popcorn with extra extra butter while waiting for me. Add considerate and generous to the list! We grab seats next to each other and I have to physically stop myself from snuggling down next to him as though he is already my boyfriend.
Jason and I sit towards the back of the auditorium so as not to annoy anyone else in the theatre with three hours of his explaining The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to me. I know nothing. Never read any of the books. Never saw the original movies. Never bothered finding out any information. Why try to date a guy who wants to see these movies with me? Because Lord of the Rings (as far as I'm concerned) is a nerd passion and we all know, nerds are nicer.
I am sucked into the world of Bilbo Baggins, wizards, dragons, trolls, hobbits, adventures, second breakfast, and the Shire. I am transported through visual imagery, compelling characters, and a detailed storyline to another world made real on the screen in front of me. Jason takes his time explaining what's going on, answering every question I pose as best he can in the quiet darkness of the stadium seating. His voice soothes my fears about sounding like a moron who has zero exposure to Lord of the Rings and yet requested a date with an expert. Somewhere around the denouement, we both reach into the popcorn bag at the same time. Our hands meet and we both pull away from the bag with interlocked fingers and no snack food. We stay hand in hand, arm in arm, my head occasionally resting on his shoulder for the remainder of the night.
By the time the film is over, I am ready for the sequel. I want another movie. More than that, I want another date.
The house lights come up on the credits, dragging us away from our altered reality and it's pretty clear neither of us wants to leave. We stand in the lobby talking for another hour (maybe more?) about the film, our lives, and the world in general. We talk and talk and I can't believe I just met this man. I can't believe I almost didn't meet this man at all. We finally exit the theater, mostly because it's almost midnight on a Tuesday and they're closing / kicking us out. Jason walks me to my car but before he says good night, he warns me that he thinks he's coming down with a cold and doesn't want to get me sick. He *wants* to kiss me, he assures me. He doesn't want to be forward or presumptuous, but he definitely wants to kiss me. He's restraining himself for my sake, he promises, so that I don't catch whatever he might have.
A girl has ways of persuading a man to kiss her. Cold or no cold. He is kissing me.
I pull a page from the Rachel Green school of flirtation a la Friends circa 1999. I wrap my arms around his neck in a good-bye hug, give a small squeeze, then slide my hands down to his chest, rest them there and make a little mmmmm noise. That small release of a satisfied sigh works every time. Trust me, ladies, Jennifer Aniston could have any man she wanted wrapped around her finger with that seductive maneuver and so can you.
Long story short, it worked. He leaned in and kissed me against my car. My stomach dropped, my heart stopped, everything inside me flipped upside down. Jason's lips became the only lips I wanted to kiss for a long, long time. He caught me completely by surprise. I felt the roller coaster start steeply uphill and held on a little bit tighter, prepared for a whirlwind ride. I hugged him a little harder and braced my heart for Kimberly and Jason: An Unexpected Journey.