One sunny Friday morning in early May of 2017, we sat down at a small table in a crowded coffee shop off Western Center Boulevard in Fort Worth, Texas. Amy was wearing glasses and a short summer dress – sexy as hell. She was drinking one of those strange iced teas that tastes like anything but tea. I had water. We began talking, getting to know each other. We talked about our kids, failed marriages, politics, hobbies, etc. Amy was strikingly beautiful and so incredibly authentic! I had never met anyone like her. We agreed to meet for dinner the following evening at Mesero – Prestonwood.
Nervous, I arrived early and had just handed my keys to the valet when Amy called and said she was running late, which actually worked out well. I wanted to dine on the patio and that was going to require a longer wait. I took a seat at the bar and ordered a drink. About fifteen minutes later, I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder. “Hi” she said with a smile in her voice. I turned, completely unprepared; she was gorgeous! I was in awe – and she giggled. It was then I realized my mouth was hanging open as I sat there staring at her like a young teenage boy whose crush had just spoken to him for the first time. Amy ordered a shot of Patron Silver, neat and dressed, while I regained my senses and the ability to form words.
We had been catching up for only a few minutes when our table was ready. On the patio, we ordered another round of drinks, some appetizers, and continued our conversation. Amy was so easy to talk to, and I found myself hanging on every word. We talked about everything: poor choices, mistakes, traumas suffered, the baggage we brought to the dating table. We also talked about our accomplishments, the future, our kids, goals, dreams, who we really are, and who we pretend to be at times. No subject was off limits and as time passed, I found myself intensely attracted to her.
The evening waned and night fell but the patio was beautifully lit. We noticed a group of about fifteen people gathered around a table at what appeared to be a birthday celebration for an older gentleman. He seemed the grandfatherly type and was surrounded by others who were obviously family members or close friends. Having never met a stranger, Amy decided that she needed to greet this man and wish him a happy birthday. Glass of wine in hand, she stood. I watched intently as she effortlessly made her way though a maze of tables and chairs toward the group. She introduced herself and hugged the guest of honor. The others present welcomed her warmly with more hugs, talk, and laughter. I was too far away to hear what was being said, but the smiles on everyone’s faces told me everything I needed to know.
I was taking all of this in when suddenly, without any warning, I was struck by a wave of raw emotion so powerful that I couldn’t move. Tears began to well up in my eyes, and it was all I could do to maintain my composure. I collapsed into my chair thankful the lighting around our table was low enough that no one noticed my distress. I sat there unable to take my eyes off Amy. From somewhere deep inside of me, the realization that I loved this woman with every fiber of my being pushed its way to the surface. Even now, years later, my eyes brim with tears as I type these words and recall the intensity and purity of those feelings; they were both powerful and painful.
I had been divorced for only six months. I didn’t want to love anyone. I didn’t want this. There were so many obstacles to overcome, assuming both of us were even willing to try. For starters, we lived ninety miles apart and came from two very different worlds with no mutual friends. We didn’t know each other at all. The physical attraction between us was obvious, but attraction and the occasional dinner date are light years away from love. I didn’t even know if she genuinely liked me. What I did know was that I absolutely loved her, and that I was in this until the end. I knew I had to see her as often as I could, for as long as she would allow. I also knew there was a very high probability that I was going to end up hurt; but I didn’t care. I had to find out. I had to try.
Sound crazy? It did to me. I sat there looking a mess as the love of my life made her way back to our table. I thought I had lost my mind. I wanted to jump out of my chair! I wanted to run to her, grab her around the waist, kiss her, and proclaim my love for her! Thankfully, what little logic and reason I had left allowed me to quickly compose myself, wipe my eyes, and choke it all down. I had known Amy for roughly thirty-two hours. Can you imagine? If I said anything to her about how I felt, I would never see her again.
She returned to our table, and we talked a bit more. At some point we were unable to resist our mutual attraction any longer and kissed like star-crossed lovers until it was time to leave. Outside, only our cars remained in the parking lot, and I walked her slowly to hers. With every step, I fought the urge to tell Amy that I loved her. I wanted to blurt it out like a child with secret he can’t keep any longer, but I didn’t. Instead, I pulled her close, held her in my arms, and kissed her deeply and passionately – several times.
As we said our final goodbyes that evening, Amy readily agreed to a second date, and we tentatively planned to meet for lunch the following Wednesday. We kissed one last time before she turned to get in her car. I was standing there holding the door when she abruptly paused and turned back. Our eyes met. Silently, she reached out her hand and smiled as she softly touched my face. Then, without a word, she sat down behind the wheel and drove off into the night. Tears filled my eyes as I stood there and watched her taillights disappear. I walked to my car still trying to process my emotions. I began to question my sanity. What was happening to me? Was I losing my mind? How could I be in love with someone I’ve known for less than two days? How is it possible that my entire world has been upended after one dinner date with someone I barely know? Would I ever see her again?
I had no answers to these and hundreds of other questions that pounded in my brain during the drive home. All I knew was that the course of my life had changed dramatically. I didn’t understand it. I couldn’t explain it. But I felt it, and I hoped against all hope that I would see Amy again, because in that single moment on the patio earlier, I realized that my heart always has been and always will be hers. We’ve been inseparable since that evening and remain so today.