I carefully brushed the comb through my hair, trying to get it just right. I had been going in and out of the washroom to check my hair and attire. My friend was sitting in the kitchen, eating lunch. I walked back down there and asked him how I looked, and how my hair was. He remarked, with a laugh “Dude, you’re so jittery.”
“I wonder why.” I was joking. We both knew exactly why. I was about to go on my first date with his cousin.
“Relax man, you look great.”
“Thanks.” I wasn’t satisfied. I wore blue jeans and a burgundy dress shirt with a crimson sweater over it, a brown belt, brown dress shoes, and a wristwatch with a brown band. I had gotten a haircut a couple days earlier, and I wore my favorite cologne. Looking back, I would probably say that I looked rather dashing. But at the time I was anxious about every aspect of my appearance. In fact, I was anxious about every aspect of the entire evening.
I was going to pick her up from her home in Bellingham, and the plan was to go to a sushi restaurant in the city center. I needed to be in Bellingham by four, and I also needed to stop by the store to pick up flowers. I had some coffee, chatted a little more with my friend, and headed out. I stopped at a Safeway on the way and picked up some flowers. Two dozen white Roses for Nadia, and some smaller flowers for her mother. I was nervous about being on time, so I was in quite a rush. The drive up north seemed to fly by as though it was just around the corner. Soon I was exiting the freeway through exit 254 to Bellingham. That’s when my anxiety peaked.
I was wondering what she was going to be like and how she was going to act and behave. Would she wait for me to open the door for her or barge through herself? Would she let me take her jacket off or do it herself? Would she be courteous and gentle, or rude and coarse? Would our conversations be as easy flowing in person as they were when we were texting? I wondered all of this and more, and I also wondered and was worried about what her parents were going to be like. Were they going to be strict, formal and cold? Were they going to be awkward and anti-social? Was I even going to meet them when I pick her up? I was terrified…
When I drove up to their house, I turned my car around (so as to not do that with Nadia in the car), spit out my gum in the trash, grabbed the flowers for Nadia’s mom, said a quick prayer and walked up to the door. After I knocked, I heard some commotion and then one of Nadia’s younger sisters opened the door. We exchanged greetings and Nadia walked over from the kitchen.
She was beautiful. She wore a black and blue turtleneck sweater and a pair of jeans. As she came closer, I smelled her sweet perfume. I was absolutely enamored with her, and it was hard not to stare. Somehow, I managed to mumble a few words of greeting and mention that the bouquet in my hands was for her mother, who just so happened to be walking up to us. I presented the flowers to her with a smile, and she received them gladly. After that I saw a large shape moving across the hall from the kitchen, and a booming voice ringing out. This was the moment that I had dreaded the most – meeting Nadia’s father. I did not know much about him, and didn’t really interact with him the week before, when I met their family. All I knew was that he was big and strong, and loved his daughter very much.
I was afraid that he might not like something about me, be extra critical or even unaccepting. But all of my fears faded away as soon as I heard his voice. He bellowed with excitement and appeared genuinely happy to see me. I was preparing for a formal handshake when I saw his right hand go up in the air. We clasped hands and he pulled me in for a one-armed hug. He had a big smile on his face and welcomed me into his home.
After I had met everyone for a second time, we all gathered in a circle as Nadia’s father prayed over us and blessed us for the evening. He invited me to come in for tea with their family after our date, and then they sent us off on our way. I opened the door for Nadia, led her down the stairs of their front porch, took her to my car, opened the passenger side door and brought out a bouquet of white roses for her. My plan had worked. Bringing in flowers for her mother made Nadia think that I hadn’t brought any for her. When she saw these roses she was caught off guard and looked pleasantly surprised. Seeing the smile on her face made me feel a joy that, perhaps, I had never felt before. I helped her take her seat, walked back around the car and took my place in the driver’s seat. We prayed and then, with my heart full of excitement, my stomach churning, and my head spinning, our first date began…