Read Our Story from the beginning.
Our first date was on a Friday afternoon. At the end of our lunch, T asked me to see him again. Ignoring his upcoming deployment to Iraq, I threw caution to the wind and said yes.
On Sunday night, T picked me up at my apartment and took me to see The Legend of Zorro. The next day we were both back to work, but met at lunch for a walk. On Tuesday we walked again. Wednesday, T left for a long drill weekend, but the following week we continued to meet during our lunch breaks. At the time, I was working a second job, or we probably would’ve spent some time together in the evenings as well.
My friend K, of course, got regular updates on our progress via email. Anxious to keep things moving, she asked if T and I would like to have dinner with her and Joe at their house that weekend. I told her I’d ask T. I also told her that a couple of things were bothering me.
One was that we’d been seeing each other for a couple of weeks and T hadn’t yet mentioned the upcoming deployment.
On the one hand, I could understand this. We had only just met and I’m sure he didn’t want to either scare me away or suggest that more was happening than really was. To bring it up would be to imply that we had a future together and that could be scary for both of us at this stage in the game.
On the other hand, it was clear that things were going very well and that we enjoyed being together. There was no one else in the picture…and the countdown clock was ticking louder all the time. I was starting to feel like there was a taboo topic between us and I didn’t like that. I wanted to clear the air.
I’ve never been known for my patience.
The other thing that was bothering me was that he hadn’t yet kissed me. I know that he was being gentlemanly and considerate, but the wait was making me nervous. I was impatient about that, too.
On our next lunchtime walk, I brought up the subject of dinner. T agreed that it sounded like fun, so on Saturday, he met me at my apartment and we drove over to our friends’ house together.
We stepped through the back door to find K and Joe bustling around the kitchen chopping vegetables and browning meat for tacos. Little K, blue-eyed and brown-haired, came running and threw herself on me with all the tiny strength of her six years, shouting, “Sarah!” I picked her up and hugged her spindly frame.
She peered shyly through my arms at T. He gave her one of his bright smiles and within minutes, Little K was shrieking with laughter as T tossed her into the air. Baby Blue came running in on two-year old legs to join the fun.
T seemed to have the kids under control entertained, so I went to help K get supper on the table, kicking Joe on the way by. He retaliated with a cold soda can on my neck.
Once we were seated at the table and had passed the taco toppings around, we began to talk and laugh. The kids, of course, finished eating long before we did. Having cleaned her plate, Little K got up from the table and walked around to stand next to T.
In a moment that seemed to fall completely silent, she looked up at him through her long, dark lashes and said clearly, “You’re going to Iraq.”
I froze, not knowing how to react. My eyes sought K’s across the table, then darted back to T and Little K.
“Yes, I am,” T said easily.
“Well,” said Little K, “my daddy’s going, too, so at least you’ll have a friend over there.”
My heart broke into thirty-seven pieces. Not only had Little K broached the subject for us, but here she was, comforting this United States Army lieutenant about his upcoming deployment.
Little K, I love your heart of gold.
After dinner, K and Joe put the kids to bed and the four of us played Cranium until the game faded into more talk. K and Joe sat together on one couch and T and I on the other. I leaned into him, worn out with emotion, and he put an arm around me. It was our first real physical contact and it felt very right.
We got back to my apartment late that night. I was exhausted, so T saw me inside and we stood in the kitchen talking for a few minutes. T leaned against the counter and reached out his hand. I took it and he pulled me to him.
I knew then what was coming, but before I even had a chance to get nervous, T was kissing me so softly and gently that I melted into him. Too soon we broke away and he drove home, but the air had been cleared.
One date, two issues solved – not a bad night’s work. But then, things tend to happen faster when there is a deployment looming on the horizon…