Cypress Street Station, downtown Abilene, early spring
Thanks for the picture, Micah!
The restaurant was already pretty empty at 8:30, because it was a Thursday and the weather was bad. I sat by the window, checking my hair in the reflection every 37 seconds or so, and waited.
He was late. He was always late.
The waitress kept coming by to check on me, which was annoying. I mean, obviously, I’m there waiting on someone. OBVIOUSLY, I’m nervous as a cat. So why do you keep reminding me that I’m sitting here alone? You’re not helping your tip, honey.
Then she brought me over a glass of wine, which I hadn’t ordered. She said, “We all know you’re waiting on a man, but it’s even money as to whether it’s a blind date or an ex. So tell me what the deal is.”
I said, “My ex. We broke up a year and a half ago, and haven’t seen each other since.”
She said, “Oh wow! Awkward! So, why is he meeting you here?”
I said, “We just randomly emailed each other, and then talked on the phone for 4 hours last night, and the timing felt right. He’s driving in from Midland, and I drove in from Stephenville.”
The waitress then sat down. I guess my story was engaging.
She asked, “So are you single? Have you just been waiting for the timing to be right?”
I said, “No, I’m not single. I think he is… I don’t really know. I have no idea what’s happening. I probably shouldn’t even be here. I don’t know what he’s looking for. He’s probably just lonely.”
The waitress… her name was Jenny… said, “Lonely doesn’t drive two hours for dinner with baggage.”
She was right. Harsh, but right. I checked my hair again.
She said, “So, you know he’s coming. What’s your plan?”
I said, “I have no plan. I haven’t really had a plan in a while. I’m just having dinner with an ex-boyfriend.”
Jenny the waitress tilted her head to one side. She looked thoughtful. She asked, kind of quietly, “Do you still love him?”
I said, “I don’t know.”
She could tell I wasn’t enjoying the little inquisition, so she stood up and told me good luck, and that she’d won $12 on her guess of “ex-boyfriend”.
As she walked away, I put my head in my hands and wondered again what the heck I was going. This was ridiculous. People break up, and they date other people, and they move on. They don’t drive two hours each to meet in the middle and have dinner on a whim. This is unhealthy.
I picked up my phone to leave. He walked in. I swallowed my gum.
I don’t remember much else specifically. I know dinner flew by, and soon they were closing the restaurant. We were still talking, so we decided to walk up and down the street outside the restaurant.
I know that I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk, and my heel caught. He took my hand. He said with a smile, “That’s a good excuse to hold your hand, right?”
And I thought to myself, “I’m holding hands with him again. Oooh, this is not good.”
But it WAS good. It was easy and smooth and comfortable… like a really great pair of shoes. I looked up at him, and I knew what I was doing.
He showed up late, but managed to be right on time.
13 months after that night in Abilene, we got married.
And I hold his hand when I trip, and I laugh when he’s late, and I praise God for making me wait.