“The One in the Middle”
As we all begin to age, we fondly remember the things we did as youths. In some cases, to relive those memories again nowadays we would end up in jail. However, sometimes we still do some crazy stuff. This happens to be one of those later life, wonderful, crazy things.
My wife and I had talked of many things during the last year of her life. Her final wishes were to reminisce memories of the past 43 years that had made us happy.
When that dreadful day finally came, two lives ended. For many months, I shuffled around the empty house mostly feeling sorry for myself, along with the horrible guilt from not being able to do anything. Then, a friend of mine suggested I try one of those dating sites you hear about during late night television. I tried a couple but I met no one. Another month passed and eHarmony ran a special; three months for five dollars. I am by nature quite frugal. (Nah, I’m cheap.)
What the heck, I’ve spent five dollars in more foolish ways, so I took them up on their offer. I had noticed while perusing the other sites, one of the common requests that women had when looking for someone, was a sense of humor. While growing up in northern Illinois, I had lead a fun and somewhat crazy life. There were many things we did that could be construed as humorous when looking back. I decided to jot down a few and relay them to the ladies I was meeting online.
One lady in particular caught my eye when she told me a funny story from her past. It was around Thanksgiving and she was baking cookies. (I love cookies.) She had also lost her husband during the same time my wife had passed. We chatted back and forth for the next couple of months and finally decided to actually meet.
My profile picture was an old picture of me with long, bushy hair and a mustache. Around that time, I had attended a Halloween party and dyed my hair dark brown and shaved off my mustache to go as the main character in my books. The picture turned out pretty good, but just to keep her off guard, I also morphed another picture of myself and put that in my profile as well.
Just days before our scheduled dinner engagement (date), she mentioned her profile picture in our chat, and that she was the one on the left. (I should mention that one of the things that has suffered with aging is my hearing.) Upon closer inspection of her profile picture she was standing in a group of three ladies. All along I had assumed I was talking to the one in the middle. I quickly copied her picture to my photo lab and uncropped it. OH MY, I was on the proverbial horns of a dilemma and didn’t know which way to go.
I reasoned, if I went on the date, I would at least get a good meal; also the lady on the left probably hadn’t been on a date in a long time. To be safe though, I contacted one of my friends and gave him instructions to call me at precisely ten minutes after seven with some kind of emergency. If the date didn’t go well, I would have a back door.
The evening of the date I showered and shaved, splashed on some aftershave and dressed in my new jeans and western cut white shirt. It had been 45 years since my last date and I was a nervous wreck. I couldn’t find my phone and I wasn’t sure just who I was going to meet. The only sure thing was it was getting late and the sooner I got there the sooner it could be over.
As I opened the car door, I saw the phone on the console. Thank heavens, maybe things were beginning to turn around. I quickly picked up the phone and turned it on, only to find that the battery was dead.
I backed the car out of the garage and headed down the street. I looked in the rearview mirror and, oh my God, I had forgotten to comb my hair. There wasn’t time to go back. I ran my fingers through the busy mess and thought. “Wel,l maybe this date wasn’t supposed to work.” All the way to the restaurant my stomach rolled and growled. I wondered just who would show up as my date. I secretly hoped for the one in the middle, but I wasn’t going to get my hopes up.
Arriving at the restaurant at seven, I went inside to check if she had already arrived. I didn’t see her so I chose a table with a seat facing the entry. Several people walked in, but they were taken to seats on the opposite side of the restaurant.
All the excitement, along with the three glasses of water I consumed while waiting, was causing me even more discomfort until I couldn’t wait any longer. I hurried back to the restroom, telling the server I was expecting a lady but I didn’t know what she looked like. I continued, explaining that it was our first date and we had met on eHarmony. By the time I finished spilling my guts, I really had to go.
In my haste to return to the dining room, I washed my hands quickly. I cupped my hands as a spurt of air rushed out of the water faucet and, of course, splashed on the front of my new blue jeans. I shook my head in disbelief and walked out, hoping my date had not arrived yet. I was in luck. I hurried to the table and quickly took my seat, placing several paper napkins in my lap to help dry the telltale spot.
Several other individuals entered the restaurant, along with a lady and a tall white-haired gentleman. I assumed they were together and paid them little mind.
As I glanced at my reflection in the window, I raised my hand and ran my fingers through my hair once again. It was then that I noticed a tag hanging from the sleeve of my new shirt. Before I could remove it, I heard the sound of my name coming from behind. I quickly stood to my feet and turned around. Remembering the wet spot on the front of my pants, I tightly closed my legs trapping the napkins. Then I remember the tag on my shirt and brought my elbow tight to my ribs. I stood there with all my deformities, looking at the cute one in the middle, all the time knowing that I am an old man with a bladder problem, a tag on his shirt and a head of hair that looked like a French Poodle and didn’t have a chance with this lovely lady. She pretended not to notice and we ordered a wonderful meal that neither of us hardly touched.
This is only the beginning of what some might say was a whirlwind relationship. The next few months were made up of more crazy, wonderful antics and a whole new look at life.
Just to set your mind at ease; we’ve been married for over a year.