My First (almost) Date

Thanksgiving,2006  and I am a fucking mess.

10  months into my new life without my (dead) husband.

Facing the first holidays (btw…getting through the firsts and anything being better is a lie, period) without Tom, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, and then the  first anniversary of his death….the “death march” as I was referring to it, was astoundingly hard.

The day before Thanksgiving had been a special day for Tom and the kid; they played in a Church sponsored golf tournament yearly. I didn’t play golf, but I would meet them at the after-party at a friends home for drinks and food. It was always a good time. This year not so much. Several men friends took the kid under their wing and got him out to play, which was so kind and thoughtful. It meant a lot to him, even though the day was fraught with missing his dad. I planned on meeting him at the after party to pick him up and hang for a while, and arrived there about 5.

Now, I want to describe me 10 months after Tom died. I was finally beginning to regain weight that I had lost, but was still awfully thin. Since I was basically just going to pick the kid up, I threw on some baggy jeans and an over-sized sweatshirt, boots and very little make-up (never knowing when I would cry it off).  I doubt I had showered that day. But I must say I was happy to be going, any distraction at that time was good and I was prepping myself for the big Thanksgiving party I went to every year and how different it would be this year. Seeing some of the people the night before felt like it might help.

Anyway, I was in the kitchen with my friend Gilmer, chowing down on ribs and washing them down with wine, a perfect combo. Suddenly a friend of ours who represents authors came in with his wife and a guest. He was introducing the guest to everyone and there were murmers of “hello” and “nice to meet you”, so Gilmer and I moved toward them to be introduced. Now, not everyone at the party was particularly literate, no judgements, but there are readers and there are non-readers.  Gilmer and I are READERS, and when we were introduced to the guest we immediately recognized him as a Very Famous Author and were suitably impressed. The fact that the two of us were the only suitably impressed people was, I think, a very interesting position for him to be in, but we fawned enough for everyone.  We began talking with him, praising his work and talking about ourselves too (he was, as all good writers are, interested in people’s stories.). Soon there were less and less people in the kitchen and the three of us were having a great time.

Now, let me interject that during the course of our talking, the fact that I was a recent widow came up (Don’t ask me how these things come up, when your recently widowed I think that you just wear it like a badge somehow). Other things also were talked about, like the fact that he was a vegan and an alcoholic (sober), and our conversation flowed as I was chowing down on the aforementioned ribs and slurping the aforementioned wine (both quite liberally, I might add). At one point my son came into the room and met him and I could see a look of, what? disdain, worry? cross his face, but thought little of it.

Gilmer soon had to leave and VFA asked me if I would like to take our conversation into the living room. Fueled by fascination and wine I acquiesed and continued our conversation on the couch. Several times during our conversation my son came through the room, pressing to go home, but I was having a great time. The VFA wrote crime novels, really interesting ones, ones that were made into movies, and talking to him was fascinating. He also told me that his favorite thing was to sit in a dark room and “Brood”. How weird is that?  How completely different from me is that? I called him on this brooding thing, laughing so hard as he tried to explain it. I seriously didn’t get it, but he was laughing too and I think he was having a great time with me precisely because I was calling him on his kind of pretentious shit.  I thought he was a perfectly charming fellow as we laughed, talked,and I continued enjoying  wine.

Finally I gave into my son as he came into the room for the umpteenth time and said it was time to go. And  so I said goodnight, nice to meet you, etc….as I was leaving, he asked me out.

NOW, let’s look at the facts as he knew them…10 month widow, 14 year old son,obviously not vegan or sober, drawn and haggard looking….the only thing I could think of was that I was a novelty to him. But, the real only thing I could think of was that I had not been asked out on a date in 20 years and what do I do but turn into a 16 year old: once articulate I stumbled on my words, once straightforward I had no idea how to say no, I wasn’t ready, just a classic mess!.And the worst part was that I never saw it coming, not for one second. My radar was gone.

Somehow I said well he could get my number from our mutual friend, but I knew he would never call.

And as we left the party the kid was incensed, asking me how I could not see that that creepy guy was hitting on me, it was so Obvious! the 14 year old knew what I couldn’t see, couldn’t sense. I had lost it.

Would I ever get it back?


The next day, at the Thanksgiving dinner, as we held hands, said a prayer, and as I tried to be grateful for SOMETHING, I realized I was grateful that I got hit on, that maybe it wasn’t over, and as I had that  thought  my son squeezed my hand and said quietly ” I’m grateful you’re not going out with that creep”!




Add yours →

  1. I believe you can! Stella can get her groove back, so can you. Good luck!

  2. Hold on.. Did you go on the date?

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