On Friday, I drive to meet him at the SciFi Museum. There’s a party for a new exhibit, complete with lectures and stage combat demos and butterbeer and mead tastings. It promises to be complete, joyful Nerdvana, but I’m mad at myself as I drive: I’ve spoiled everything. After a long, awkward evening and with a sense of obligation, I’ll get my kiss for sure, terse and perfunctory. Or worse, the anticipation will be enough to make us both back away, into a strained friendship, never to mention or even acknowledge this brief foray toward something else.
I park in a lot near the museum, and he texts me: Where are you parked? Wait there.
I had thought of meeting him at the entrance, but maybe it’s crowded there. I lean against my car, waiting and choking back the coming disappointment.
He walks toward me from the direction of the museum entrance, and I can see he’s loaded down again, like he was the first time we met for dinner. But as he gets closer, I can see what he’s carrying: a large bouquet of flowers, which he hands me, then puts his arms around me and kisses me.
It is everything I wanted and nothing I feared.
I slide my arm around him and pull him close, and we walk to the museum entrance. We walk by people dressed as characters from Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars. As we watch a swordfighting demo, he stands behind me and holds me close, like a cape against the wind. We pick up some free Magic the Gathering card packs, and I give him mine, for his son. We sample the beer and spit out the mead.
After a while, we go in to one of the lectures, by the archivist for the Jim Henson Foundation. It’s in a large auditorium, and we take seats toward the back; he puts an arm around me and I lock my fingers through his. We watch early footage of Kermit the Frog, and sing along with the whole audience to the Fraggle Rock theme song.
My arm falls asleep first, then my fingers, but I don’t let go.