The date finally arrives. He has chosen a winery up in Woodinville that I have trouble finding, as it’s not so much a winery as it is a wine store with a restaurant attached, located in a strip mall.
At least I think that’s what it is. I’ll never know for sure, because it’s closed when I get there, and he’s standing in the parking lot.
He’s tall and awkward and looks older than I thought he would. He tries to come up with a Plan B, and he’s clearly very stressed about the whole thing. I am to follow him in my car, which I do.
For an hour.
During which time he calls me on his cell and we talk.
I’m not sure what we talked about, because the whole time I’m thinking, well, hopefully all this driving is leading to someplace special, because as it currently stands, I’m paying a babysitter so I can follow someone’s car through the suburbs and use up all my cellular minutes. And have I mentioned the price of gassing up my tank?
We get there. What is it with this guy and strip malls? We talked about Mario Batali and Alton Brown on the phone. But here we are: A Chinese restaurant in a strip mall.
The dim sum here is awesome, he says.
Except they don’t serve dim sum in the evening, the waiter informs him.
The food is actually pretty good although I suspect I am being generous – I want to like him and I want him to know about this amazing, secret hole in the wall place – it doesn’t look like much but it’s awesome! Only a real foodie would know it.
We talk and talk and talk until the waiter is running the vacuum under our table.
In the parking lot, he gives me homemade peppermint ice cream and homemade caramels. I taste the ice cream right there and pronounce it good – which it is, although if I were to make it I would have more chunks of candy cane in it. I don’t say this.
He rambles on about why his homemade ice cream is better than what you buy in the store (no fillers).
Like the phone calls and IMs and emails, this evening will not end.
I need to go home.
I say, are you going to keep giving me recipes or kiss me goodnight already?
Oh, he says.
He puts his hands on either side of my face and kisses me so intensely that I completely forget where I am and who I’m kissing. I’ve got my arms around him and no idea how they got there.
Yeah, okay. I could do that again.
He texts me several times on the drive home.