The first date
For some reason he had thought he'd have a chance if he asked her to the dance. Always the optimist, though never confident. It was something he didn't understand then but somehow knew this trait (flaw?) would be important to him one day.
Tonight, however, he was fifteen (nearly sixteen) and he was about to take the most beautiful girl he had ever seen to the school dance. That he'd found the courage (or lost his mind enough) to ask her in the first place was nearly a month behind him. That she'd said yes was a fantastic and unbelievable concoction. Tonight was the night and here he stood at her front door ready to knock.
For some reason, this memory from 40 years ago had flashed into his immediate existence as he was about to knock on another door, a whole lifetime later.
The memory of the long wait for that door to open and the sight of her appearing down the hallway was almost mystical. He had looked past her smiling mother, his eyes glassy yet locked on her. His date. The most beautiful girl he had ever seen.
What a moment for a flashback like this. This, in fact, was the night he was taking out his first online date and, due to a long email courtship, he knew it was her first time as well.
His first eBay date. No, wait! eHarmony date. Perhaps it was an innate scepticism of this whole internet dating thing that he always got the two mixed up.
They had both been advised to meet somewhere neutral for the first time but the emails and phone calls had helped them each feel comfortable about this ’traditional’ first date process. The ’man picks up woman’ approach was the way it was done when either of them had last dated. (He was pretty sure, though, that the door wouldn't be opened by her mother.)
Both had been married for very long periods and had taken a long time come to terms with the idea of another relationship. They'd endured some well meant setups and somewhat less innocent approaches that friends, family or acquaintances had arranged (or inflicted). They just hadn't really been ready.
But lately they had each sensed the timing was right to meet someone new and here they were - either side of a door.
So, a fifty-five year old man with a lifetime of experiences behind him was about to knock on a door. About to go on a date?! OMG! his daughter had texted with a smiley face. (The next text had cheekily explained what OMG meant.)
He knocked - a jamble of nerves, anticipation and a somehow comforting random flashback.