He showed up with a box of Frango mints from Marshall Field in Chicago, happy to show he’d noticed when I said I liked them.
He also brought a bouquet of mixed stems…a large allium, a blue delphinium, a handful of pinks and purples and whites and greens. I popped them into a vase, thinking I shouldn’t dawdle. But he arranged them, saying we should take a moment to appreciate them at their best. It was a point he would make often.
Pointing out that he had revealed more about his life than I had about mine, he asked many questions. When I told him at some length about my mother, who had died five years earlier, I found myself crying a little. Damn. What is this? I hardly know this man, and yet I’m so unguarded I’ve slipped right into tears. On our lunch date, he’d had a catch in his voice while talking about his father. At the time, I’d been a little skeptical about his sincerity, but here I was, and I knew I was not playing a game.
Apparently she hadn’t thought much of some of the other women he had dated. And there were lots of them. He told me he’d spent the last couple of years looking pretty seriously for someone to settle down with. I wasn’t looking; I had learned to enjoy my own company, something I thought everyone should be able to do. I had settled comfortably into single life with two cats in a house I’d just purchased, and which I loved.
We made a date for the following Friday night, and then the Thursday after that. On one of those evenings, we went to a Mexican restaurant and emerged into one of those long Minnesota evenings when the setting sun turns half the sky rosy red. As we reached the car, he said, “I’m going to throw a monkey wrench into your well ordered life.”
I felt my face blush as red as the setting sun.