Like the gentleman he is, Will opened up the passenger door to his car to let me in –actually, he had borrowed his uncle’s SUV because it drove better than his car (and later he shared it was also because it looked better!). We were heading to the local aquarium, about 40 minutes away and a pretty drive along the coast for the last bit of it. We planned to grab a bite to eat for lunch first and Will had chosen the place. About 20 minutes later, we pull up to a deli/grill place that I had never eaten at before. Recommended by Will’s friend (the same one who had given Will such interesting directions), it turned out to be quite the memorable place. No, not because of the food, which was good but nothing amazing. It was memorable because of the owner and cook, who appeared to be under the influence of a recreational drug. There was something about his eyes, some clumsiness, and his overall manner that made us suspicious. Meanwhile, I entertained Will by ordering a chicken sandwich plain- yes, just chicken and bread.
*Let it be noted that this restaurant has since closed down. Let is also be noted that Will’s friend recommended it because of the food, not the owner.*
Despite our ease of conversation by phone, we were both a little more shy in person. But as the date progressed, we became more comfortable with each other. Arriving at the aquarium, we wandered around looking at all the sea life and other creatures, joking with each other and making small talk (it’s kind of hard to talk in a crowded aquarium). Admittedly, at this point, I was still unsure of what to think about Will. There wasn’t this amazing, instant connection when we met in person, but there was enough of one that I knew I wanted to see where the rest of the date would lead rather than finding an escape route in the ladies bathroom.
After the aquarium, Will and I began the drive back to my parents. And while at the time it was definitely odd to me, one of the traits I love most about Will now first reared its head as we passed by a Goodwill. All of a sudden, Will is turning the car around and asking me if I want to go explore the Goodwill. I did start thinking he was a little crazy as he turned the car around but let me tell you, his enthusiastic spontaneity led to the highlight of that first date for me. You see, I am a planner. Spontaneity and I do not mesh well. Leave it to the Lord to provide exactly what who I need to get me out of my ordered funk. Anyway…as we entered the Goodwill, we began to lighten up more than we had the whole day. We had a great time making fun of some of the crazy and/or ugly items for sale and ended up in one of those moments that led to a private joke that we enjoy to this day. A disclaimer: Goodwill does also have some cool stuff. But the cool stuff isn’t nearly as much fun to look (and laugh) at!
We did head back to my parents house after our Goodwill adventure, and sat in the living room talking until it became dark out. I loved hearing his southern drawl (although I must confess that the first time I heard his voice on the phone, I didn’t like it!) and as Will left that evening, I hoped I would see him again but wasn’t “in love'” by any means. Yet.