“from the very first moment I saw you
that’s when I knew
all the dreams I held in my heart
had suddenly come true
knock me over stone cold sober
not a thing I could say or do
‘cos baby when I’m walking with you now
my eyes are so wide
like you reached right into my head
and turned on the light inside
turning on the light
inside my mind hey”
– David Gray (Be Mine)
David Gray’s album “White Ladder” will always be filled with nostalgia for me. It takes me back to carefree days when Gary and I started seeing each other, falling in love and planning a future together. Our first non-official date was disguised as a business lunch. I had admittedly been flirting with him via email, and invited him to lunch one day when he had just returned from a holiday trip to the states with his sons. Something along the lines of (in reply to a real work email) “Hey Gary, you’re back, we missed you. We should do lunch to catch up.” (I worked for a reseller of the software company he worked for)
So we did lunch. And at the time, I think neither of us had considered the possibility of anything happening between us. It was a business lunch, right? As it turned out, it was the start of our lives together, as we have been inseparable ever since. We shared oysters, a bottle of wine, and more importantly we shared our souls. I returned to the office, a little smiley from the wine, and a lot smiley from the conversations, laughter and, dare I say, that love drunk feeling when you just click with someone. (I remember my boss giving me a very suspicious look when I came waltzing back into the office after 3.)
By the time I got home from work, I kept telling myself that this was not meant to be. Our age gap was too big, he was just flirting with me, and that realistically he wouldn’t want to pursue anything with a “kid”, and that it was a nice lunch, but that would be all. I sent him an SMS saying thanks for the lunch, and hoped we could do it again sometime. He came back with yes, absolutely we should.
I had 2 friends over for dinner that night, and could not hide my elation. I mentioned that I had been for lunch with someone, but wouldn’t tell them who, as I wasn’t sure it was going anywhere (they were work friends, so they would have known who it was). I honestly could not get him out of my mind, and my friends kept telling me how absolutely smitten I seemed. We drank some more wine, talked a lot of shit as girl-friends do, and by the time I went to bed, my mind was filled with only Gary.
So we spent the next few days flirting via email and SMS, and acting like nothing was happening when he came in for meetings at my office. And we agreed to go out for dinner the following Saturday. I even agreed to let him fetch me from my house.
On the Friday night, I ended up having a bit of an impromptu party at my house, some good friends, music, dinner, alcohol … and got to bed after 5AM, not exactly what I had planned the night before my first real date with Gary! I was up early as I had a hair appointment booked … cleaned my house, did my usual Saturday chores, and had an afternoon nap. So by the time Gary picked me up for our dinner, I was at least somewhat refreshed.
We had dinner at an awesome Vietnamese restaurant, although I don’t think either of us ate much. We talked as if we had known each other all our lives, as if our age gap was non-existent. After dinner, I hooked my arm in his as we walked back to the car. We had crossed over from being business associates to friends. We then went to the blues room, in the hopes of catching some good live music. We talked, laughed, and shared our first kiss under the smokey club lights. We got home in the early hours of the morning, and he asked me if I wanted to go out for breakfast with some friends of his. So after catching about an hour of sleep (No, really, we just slept!) we got ready to go for breakfast. No-one even realised that we were still technically on our first date! We then went to his house for lunch, as he was expecting some friends for a braai. I went home close to midnight. We were officially together.
So, to get back to the David Gray album, it was Gary’s turn to do something for Valentine’s this year. He made me a great dinner of Oysters to start, Teriyaki Tuna and Salad for mains, and Papaya and Greek yoghurt for pudding. We sat outside, listening to music and talking, and one of the albums in the CD changer was “White Ladder”. The first time we went away for the weekend together, we went to a place called “Old Joe’s Kaya”, and one of the albums we had with us was this one. That weekend away was probably the most magical, special time that we have ever spent together, an almost surreal time, getting to know each other, and realising that we were going to be with each other always. We hadn’t listened to it in ages, and it brought back beautiful memories for both of us, and reminded us of that love-drunk feeling, and how our lives crossed paths because we were destined for each other.
Just over ten years have passed since that first lunch date, and I am still in love with Gary like I was then. So much has happened in ten years: moving in together, getting married, both of us changing jobs, having kids, etc, but I still remember that first lunch so clearly. That feeling of excitement, the fear of letting my guard down and getting hurt, but falling in love deeper than I had ever been in my life.
I am so glad I went to lunch that day!