I had a book signing at Barnes and Noble.
It was amazing and overwhelming and incredible and all the things I ever imagined a book signing could be and a little surreal seeing your book on the shelf of a place you’ve shopped at your entire life.
Before the signing, my husband and I went to dinner with friends.
We were laughing and talking and I remember vaguely waving my hands around and acting out part of a story and when I sat down, my husband reached for my hand.
His eyes twinkled just for me.
And right there in the middle of the restaurant with the lights sparkling all around me and the yummiest pasta with chicken sitting right in front of me…
….I got goosebumps.
The kind of goosebumps that made me want to pinch myself and count my blessings and dance the Macarena and sing the Hallelujah Chorus on my tiptoes from the balcony of the Empire State Building and think back to where it all started.
The first time those brown eyes twinkled for me.
The very beginning.
It was our first date.
I greeted him at the front door with red lipstick, an add-a-bead necklace, 4″ high bangs sprayed with Aqua Net hairspray, a prairie skirt and a knitted sweater vest covered in tiny, plaid red and blue bows.
I think I might have even had on high-heeled shoes and socks with my name written on them with paint pen.
At the risk of stating the obvious—I looked amazing.
He wasn’t a big talker.
A man of very few words.
Maybe he was shy.
Maybe he was nervous.
Maybe he was intimidated by the socks.
I didn’t care.
He was cute with these dimples and brown wavy hair and big brown eyes that kind of looked like Johnny Depp and he had his own car…..all the really important things in life.
And besides, I thought. I’m a talker. I like to talk.
I can just talk enough for both of us.
We went to church and then we drove around looking at Christmas lights.
And as we drove, I talked. And talked. And taaaaaallllllked.
I told him how cute the animated Santa Claus were with their lighted banjos dancing next to the seven dwarfs.
He said nothing.
I exclaimed with enthusiastic joy over the teddy bears sitting in the train and how cute that Kermit the Frog was the conductor.
He said nothing.
I mentioned that it was amazing that a single yard could hold a merry-go-round, a nativity, Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer and a giant 7-foot Barney—all at the same time.
He said nothing.
I laughed and talked and sang every Christmas carol I knew and took my mittens on and off and nervously stared out the window and kept up a one-way conversation for the entire drive while he sat stoically in the driver’s seat…..
…..saying absolutely positively nothing.
I was done.
I thought he didn’t like me.
I thought I bored him.
I thought to myself despairingly…..will this date ever be over?
When we pulled up to my parent’s house, I couldn’t get out of the car fast enough. I hurriedly mumbled something about what a great time that I had and turned to leave. And then? Just as I started to open the door, he reached for my hand.
I stopped and stared at him.
And he stared at me.
It was completely quiet in the car. No one said a word.
And then in that moment, parked on the curb, with the Christmas lights in the distant background and the smell of winter in the air, he whispered in the quietest of voices, “What if I kissed you?”
And he didn’t wait for an answer.
My monogrammed paint pen socks got goosebumps.
And me? On that starry night long ago, wearing red lipstick and a prairie skirt and a sweater vest with bows…..
….I got the kiss of a lifetime.
I never looked back.
Even now, after all these years, sitting in the middle of a restaurant about to go to a book signing with the noise and the busy swirling all around us, he can look at me with those twinkling eyes and smiling dimples and my goosebumps get goosebumps.
And then I count my blessings and my heart does cartwheels and I smile to myself with joy that this sweet, wonderful, incredible, brown-eyed man…..
……finally found his voice. 🙂
PS I read this post to my husband and he informed me that he didn’t really talk because I neglected to bring up something really interesting….like “the unsolved mystery of Bigfoot.”
Why didn’t I think of that? 🙂