I stared at myself in the mirror, slipping on a pair of leggings to wear underneath my jeans.
"How will I look cute being all bundled up with a million layers on?" I asked myself. I hurried to get dressed, grabbed my fleece jacket out of the closet and stuffed the pockets with my keys, camera, cash, phone, and metrocard. As I walked out the door I noticed my greatest fashion faux pas: my fleece had pet fur all over it.
This was going to be a weak first impression.
My friend, Kat, met Jared at an audition last week and asked him out for me. She told me he was cute, but as I walked up to him at Bryant Park I thought, "This guy is way more cute than she told me!"
Jared stands at 6'2" with broad shoulders, a light freckled complexion, and strawberry blond locks that drift lightly onto his brow. His smile beams and warmth shines through his soft eyes. He is the type of man I would have swooned over in school and made a complete idiot out of myself talking to him. I could already feel the butterflies fluttering in my stomach.
"I brought something for you," he said.
"Really?" I beamed!
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a can of highly caffeinated Rock Star with a ribbon on top. He knew that I had very few hours of sleep the night before and I was running on empty.
His gift only made him more desirable in my eyes.
But it did have me concerned about our budget! The cost to rent ice skates was $12 a pair, plus the $7 for the staff to watch our stuff. Did the sweet surprise of caffeine break our $31 limit?
We put on our ice skates and Jared explained that he was a little concerned about the toe picks on the rental pair, since he was used to skating without them. Growing up in Minnesota, he had played hockey. In fact, he had just moved to the city a couple weeks before to further pursue his acting career.
His friends had made fun of him, saying ice skating was such a cliché date. But Jared didn't care. He was excited to do something fun in the city for the first time.
We stepped onto the ice and I realized it had been a long time since I had been ice skating.
"How quickly will it take for me to fall?" I wondered.
But Jared fell first.
Very nice of him to break the tension.
Being President Obama's first full day in office, we discussed how we felt about our nation's future, how we voted, and what we thought about the Inauguration. He talked about where he grew up and how it shaped the way he looked at the world. He had lived in smaller towns than I had in states where I’d never been: Minnesota, Alaska, South Dakota. He spoke of his family, their relationships, and how he felt about raising a family in the city versus the suburbs.
We delved into the spiritual paths we’ve both taken in our lives. Jared grew up Lutheran and his father was a Catholic. I mentioned my interest and involvement with many religions throughout my life: Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Baptist, Unitarian, Mormon. I even revealed my quietly kept college curiosity in Paganism and Viking runes.
We talked about our current philosophies and what we had gone through to get us here. We met eye-to-eye, believing there is a God and that there’s truth in all things. We both seem to be, overall, very hopeful people trying to make the most of our lives and pushing ourselves to become better people. We discussed possibility, risk, and dreams.
We stepped off the ice and grabbed the bag we rented to stow our shoes. I took out the can of soda and gently shook the bag, just to make sure we got everything out of it. Something shiny, silver, and round dropped out. I slowly picked it up, realizing that it was none other than a wedding band.
I was transfixed by its series of diamonds staring up at me, partly puzzled and mostly wondering, "Are you kidding me? Is this some kind of sign??"
I alerted the woman working the counter to please keep it in the Lost and Found.
We walked to Grand Central Station where we sat, talking for a few hours. We discussed human nature, theater, and what drives people to live life the way they do. We both held the similar longing to understand why people do what they do.
I was fascinated. I was intrigued. I was hooked.
We finally got up and parted ways, leaving me with a virtue sitting upon my heart: hope.