He said "I'll call you. We'll play."
I wondered what "We'll play" meant.
I never dreamed that he'd really call me, let alone that very weekend. Our first date was at my house, with my best friend Mandi and another friend, Chuck. I wanted them there as a safety net--so I would feel comfortable with this guy I didn't really know. We watched the movie "Waking Ned Divine." I remember nothing, absolutely nothing, about the movie. I do remember Dave playing with my hair. No boy had ever played with hair before, and I liked it quite a lot. I thought, "Maybe I could like this guy... if, maybe, he liked me first."
After the date, I asked Mandi what she thought and she told me that he must like me, if he'd played with my hair. I hadn't known this was proof, but I was willing to accept her word. She'd been around the hair-playing block a time or two.
For the next two weeks, Dave and I spent a lot of time "playing." We went to a Brazilian restaurant and talked about his two year mission in Argentina. We talked about his growing up in California, and my growing up in Utah. For his birthday, we went and saw "Muppets in Space", even though I hinted that I'd been "wanting to see Runaway Bride for absolutely ever." Sitting there in the dark theater, with the muppets acting away, I began to tickle his arm. It was subconscious on my part--just a gesture to say "I like being here with you." He reached over and took my hand. His hand was smooth and warm, and sent tingles all up my arm. I decided I liked him. (Turns out he, at the time, thought I was being forward and just wanted me to stop tickling his arm. One of my favorite things, it would seem, was not his favorite at all.)
One night he drove me out to the new house that his parents were building up near the mountains in the south of the valley. Against the night sky I could see the construction of the house, and it's general shape. We lay down on a pile of plywood and stared at the stars as he told me about this place already feeling like home, from the first time he'd come down the winding street. There were no street lights around, and you could see clearly all the way to the milky way. We watched for shooting stars, and I teased him that the stars on my side of the sky were better than the stars on his side. At his parents house, another day, we jumped on the trampoline and he left a fresh cut rose for me on the table. His mother, seeing it, put it in a glass of water. He was put out, but I remember being struck by his thoughtfulness just the same.
There were so many snippets of insights into Dave those two weeks--things I wouldn't understand until much later. And wrapped into all of this was the fact that I was a 19 year old girl and, therefore, nearly schizophrenic in my changing moods. Not to mention that, with the summer now over, I was coming face-to-face with the full reality that I had no plans for the fall. Dave would be leaving the country to attend a study abroad in Jerusalem, and I? Well, I had applied for a job at the local Hogi Yogi.
Sometime in those weeks together, I decided to put my application in with a nanny agency. That thought had always been at the back of my mind, and I decided to see what jobs turned up. I never said, definitely, if I was going to be a nanny or not. I was just testing the water. Within days, I had two great families, and two fabulous offers. One family was a Jewish family in Upstate New York with three school-age daughters. They offered me a position working only 4 days a week, with an apartment in New York City on the weekends. The other family lived in Los Angeles. They had 4 children, two of them very small children, with a stay at home mom. Suddenly, testing the waters turned into a serious decision for me. After agonizing and interviewing with both of them, I decided to take the job in New York. I even yelled it to the wind, "I'm going to New York!" and smiled. But when I made the call, my throat caught and I told them no. I took the job in Los Angeles.
Dave would be leaving for Jerusalem, and a week later, I would be moving to California. I did not know where this left us. We'd been having a great time, but neither of us had looked at our relationship as anything permanent. I did, however, really want him to kiss me. I needed him to kiss me goodbye.
On the last night before he left, we went on a long walk through my beautiful, tiny hometown. We walked down by the small lake and crossed over the arch bridge. It was a beautiful summer night. I realized that I was going to miss his friendship, very much. I realized that I was terrified of moving to California, and wondered where my life was taking me.
Standing there, in the moonlight, I had all these thoughts running through my head as he held me against his broad chest and we were just quiet. This was one of the things I loved the most--that we could be quiet around each other, and it was comfortable and friendly. I made up my mind: he had to kiss me before he left. I sighed. I looked up at him. I tried to give him "The Look." The moonlight reflected on his face and I could see a moment of indecision. A hesitation. Just a flickering moment.
Then he walked me home, gave me a hug, climbed in his car, and drove away.