Tag Archives: first date

Look Both Ways

He was nervous for their date. Did he look okay? Should he have brought nicer flowers? Were daisies enough? He stared up at the red brick building where she lived. He was a few minutes early, probably best if he waited a moment. He looked up, counting the windows until he found the one she’d described to him. A little wind chime hung in the open window and after straining to listen he could hear the faint tinkling noise of the pieces of metal hitting each other ever-so-slightly in the mild breeze.

He crossed the street and checked his hair in the side mirror of a truck. Should he have gotten it cut? Then it would have that freshly cut look. If only he’d planned ahead and stopped by the barbers a few days ago.

The sun was getting lower, and half of her building was now in the shadow of the larger apartment building across the street. He looked down at his shoes and thought about the other pair he had on before a last-minute change at home. Should he have stuck with the chucks? He looked down at his button-down plaid shirt and noticed one side was longer than the other. Phew! Good catch. He unbuttoned and then righted the shirt, rebuttoning it.

He looked at his pocket watch. It was time. Exactly on time. He noticed she was always on time for work, the little coffee shop attached to his building. He couldn’t believe after hundreds of coffees he doesn’t even like that he finally got the nerve to talk to her, sit with her during her break, bring her little, thoughtful presents, and finally ask her out. And here he was, nervous like a little kid on the first day of school. He stepped out into the street and jumped as a truck honked its horn. He forgot to check for safety, and didn’t make the mistake again, looking both ways before crossing. As he approached the building he noticed a rectangular flower basin on a small brick wall and then saw it: the plant he’d given her the other day. She’d planted it.

With newfound conviction he walked up and pushed the little button that had her name next to it.

His and Hers

“Look at this!” she said, pointing at the two Buddy Scooters parked side-by-side on the sidewalk, one a pale orange and the other a light blue.  “Beautiful.  I love it.  I wish I had my camera.”

“I have mine,” he said, foraging through his messenger bag trying to find it.

“Do you have an eye for these things?”

“Of course.  I love photography.  Do you?”  She nodded.  “Good.”  He snapped a few photos and then held the camera out for her to see.  She moved her oversized sunglasses to the tip of her nose and looked over them into the tiny screen.

“Good.  Do you think they belong to a couple?”

“His and hers scooters, I would think so.” 

“I think this is so cute.”

“But you aren’t a romantic,” he said, the corners of his mouth raised a tiny bit.

“I never said I was not a romantic.”

“Yes you did.”

She stomped her foot a bit with a smile on her face.  “This does not necessarily prove I am a romantic.  This doesn’t make sense.”

“I knew you were.  We can smell our own.”

She started walking again, hoping to change the subject.  “What does it matter.  Romantic, unromantic, this does not matter.  And this proves nothing,” she said, gesturing back towards the vehicles.  He stopped walking, forcing her to stop as well and turn back to look at him.

“You find the idea of a couple who each have a scooter, the same model but in different colors, beautiful.  You probably pictured this perfect couple driving them between cars down the street, stopping at traffic lights and smiling at one another, maybe stopping at some cute little café for lunch…that is what makes you a romantic.  But it really doesn’t matter if you are or aren’t, I just think you’re in denial.”

She smiled and walked towards him, taking his arm and turning him around.  “Look,” she said, aiming him towards the scooters.

A couple had left the building and approached the Buddies, unlocked the helmet boxes on the back and removed a blue and an orange helmet.  The guy put on the orange one and sat on the blue bike, while the girl put on the blue one and sat on the orange moped.

“Come, let’s go to a café,” she said to him.

Photographs by Dennis Finocchiaro

And Adore Her He Did (flash nonfiction)

Based on a true story.

The date had been great so far, and he was nervous when he suggested they head to his place to listen to records, but he knew his intentions were fairly innocent.  She accepted following some hesitation, and after a quick tour of the downstairs they sat on opposite sides of his plaid couch, chatting as the album Colours by Claudine Longet played.

They talked about all kinds of things people talk about when getting to know one another, and as the conversation continued, the record ended and he flipped it and returned to her.

It wasn’t until he’d switched to Donovan’s Greatest Hits, a few albums later, that he noticed that every time he got up to switch the record, she nonchalantly inched a bit closer to his side.  Once he realized this, his heart sped up a bit, but  started returning to the couch a bit closer as well, until their knees were touching during “God Help the Girl” by Stuart Murdoch.

It wasn’t until Astrud Gilberto’s “The Shadow of Your Smile” that her finger poked his hand playfully, and he opened it, inviting hers in.  She smiled, looked at him with her big, greenish-brown eyes, and their fingers intertwined as she rested her head onto his shoulder.

They talked about music, life, everything, as the needle played beautiful music into the air, and she pushed into him a little more, making the butterflies explode in his chest.  He put his arm around her and held her a little tighter as they discussed exes, quirks and other oddities that naturally came up in conversation.

The record stopped, and he didn’t want to get up this time.  He enjoyed having this girl in his arms, and she squeezed him, subtly telling him not to get up, but he wanted to put on one more record.  She’d mentioned a certain someone she liked, and so he felt it was his obligation to play it for her, to show her that he not only listened to what she said, but that he valued it.

“I really don’t want to get up, but we need more music,” he said as she gave him a sad look but released him from her hold.  He walked over to the shelf and searched for the one he was looking for, found it, and before she knew it the needle was lowering onto the vinyl and he was returning to his original position on the couch.

The song “Come Dance With Me” started and she smiled, recognizing his attempt to impress her by playing The Best of Frank Sinatra, and she held him a little tighter.  He felt that enlightened feeling boys get sometimes when they know they impressed a girl they like, and they talked and cuddled a bit more as the needle slowly made its way across the record to the last song, “Put Your Dreams Away,” at which point he made to get up, she sat up, and he kissed her.  Their first kiss, as the lyrics played, “Let your kiss confess this happiness, darling, and put all your dreams away.”

“Good timing,” she said.  He didn’t mention it was purely chance.  He didn’t even know the lyrics to the song, and listened.  “When your dreams at night fade before you, then I’ll have the right to adore you.”

And adore her he did.