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Friday, 13 May 2011

A Love Story – Part Two

By Dani Ferguson Phillips of The Cataract Club

[Read Part 1 here]

Green is Not My Color
After our snow cone date, I sent Ron an email thanking him for the evening. I didn’t feel any pressure or have any expectation of seeing him again. We just continued emailing each other off and on for the next few months. Nothing was ever mentioned about getting together again and that was just fine with me.

Then around the second week in December, Ron called me and invited me to the Nutcracker ballet. He told me he had two season tickets to the ballet and would I like to see the Christmas production. I said sure and the following Saturday he picked me up and we drove to Oklahoma City to the ballet.

He was a perfect gentleman and I had a wonderful time. Our conversation was minimal but I wasn’t uncomfortable with the silence. He played Christmas CDs in the car and we sang along to all the familiar carols.

He drove me straight home after the performance and we exchanged a quick good-bye at the door. It was perfect, no pressure and no expectation - just a nice evening with an old friend.

The following week he took me to hear Manheim Steam Roller and the Oklahoma City Symphony. After the performance we took a drive through the city to look at Christmas lights. I was having a wonderful time just getting out and doing things with a great companion.

I finally got the nerve to tell my daughters I’d actually been going out with someone but promptly informed them that it was not a romantic relationship but just an old friend. They were actually very encouraging and said they were happy to see me getting out of the house.

I had really dreaded telling the girls and definitely underestimated them. I failed to realize they were grown up. I never dated when they were younger because they were so possessive and wouldn’t tolerate anyone they considered an intruder. I rarely rocked the boat by going out with anyone.

Now, here they were, all grown up and giving me dating advice. They even went so far as critiquing my wardrobe and selecting clothes they thought would at least bring me into the current century.

The Christmas season ended and Ron and I picked up with our email contact and an occasional phone call. Although we never went out again, I was still enjoying our occasional talks.

He was a great listener and we talked through some difficult times that year. I was able to share my grief when a dear friend committed suicide. It was wonderful to have someone to listen to me and help me work through my unanswered questions and pain. It was easier because the relationship was not complicated by any romantic interest by either of us.

I wrote to him about my daughter’s move to another state and how I was going to miss her. He was the first I told when she told me she was in love. He was also one of the first I told when she announced her engagement and upcoming Vegas wedding. So in July, the day my other daughter and I were flying to Vegas for Julie’s wedding, I wasn’t totally surprised when Ron showed up on my front porch.

He brought me a silver dollar to bet on his behalf in Vegas and to extend his best wishes to my daughter. I was happy to see him again even though we had never really lost contact.

When I showed my daughter the silver dollar on the plane she teasingly exclaimed, “What, is it Christmas time already?”

She was referring to Ron being a holiday date only. But Ron surprised us both by asking me out in September. He just called out of the blue and invited me to go to the state fair. I was excited to go since I hadn’t been to the fair since I was a kid.

He purchased tickets to Disney on Ice and we had front row seats to Monsters Inc. It was very cute and at some point during the show he uncharacteristically slipped his arm around me to ward off the chill of the ice.

After the show we walked around the fair and through the midway and ending up at a karaoke show under a pavilion. I was sensing something had changed between us but it was so subtle I couldn’t be sure. Ron had always taken my hand to guide me to and from the car but this time he would take my hand and linger a bit longer than usual.

We decided we would dare to ride a few rides before leaving the fair and I chose what I felt sure would be tame. We rode the monorail with its bird's eye view and the giant ferris wheel. Ron however decided we should ride a giant wheel that spun its passengers faster and faster while tilting on its axis. I thought I could handle it so I was game until I found myself strapped in so tight I couldn’t even turn my head from side to side.

The wheel began turning, picking up speed all while beginning to tilt until you were literally parallel to the ground and the passenger standing across from you. The ride had barely begun when I began talking to Jesus. The rider across from me didn’t know whether to be afraid of the ride or me.

Ron was laughing so hard at me I could hear him over the sound of the wheel and my own screams. At some point I began bargaining with the almighty and swore I’d never say or do a mean thing again as long as I lived if He would just get me off this wheel of torture alive.

When the ride finally ended, I was a lovely shade of green and sick as a dog. Ron was still having trouble controlling his laughter so we decided it was time to say good-bye to the fair.

It was about a 45-minute drive back to my house and just enough time for my stomach to finally come to a complete stop. Ron helped me from the car and walked me to the door as he had done many times before. I opened the glass door and put my key in the door and as I unlocked it I turned around to thank Ron for the evening. With no warning what so ever he pulled me close and kissed me.

It wasn’t a peck goodnight but a real kiss, our first kiss. I can’t describe it other than to say that for the first time in my life my knees actually buckled beneath me. My response was as unexpected and as big a surprise as him actually kissing me.

So there, standing on my porch with my knees weak and my heart pounding, I knew that everything between us was about to change.

Kiss and Tell?
Well, if this were a Harlequin romance, there would be a lot of clothes ripping and sweaty bodies about now but hey, we’re talking about two people who didn’t get up the nerve to speak for almost 50 years and it took a year of emails to finally meet and another nine months for a first kiss so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Oh, the passion was real and my head was swirling but caution is my middle name. We ended up sitting on the porch for a while holding hands and absorbing the fact that an unexpected spark had definitely been ignited.

I was still trying to absorb this sudden change in our relationship and frankly, I was a little out of practice in the romance department. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted a romantic relationship but my fluttering heart seemed to have a mind of its own.

By the time we parted that night I was sure of only one thing, I couldn’t wait until we were together again.

I didn’t have to wait long as the next day was the first of many days together. We went to football games, basketball games and baseball games and did I mention I’m not a sports fan? What we will do for love!

Our relationship grew from friendship and was definitely worth the wait and just as they say love comes when you least expect it.

One evening I was trying to teach Ron how to dance. He admittedly had two left feet but was such a willing student. We rolled back the rug in his den and we started out with the Texas two-step graduating to the Cotton Eyed Joe. We were laughing and having so much fun as he counted out every beat.

I asked him where he was when I needed a date to our high school senior prom? Suddenly he stopped and looked at me with such a serious look I thought I must have stomped on his foot. He said, “Didn’t you go to the prom”?

Surprised by his sudden change in mood, I replied, “No, my boyfriend and I broke up a week before the prom and I missed it.”

Ron’s face remained solemn as he responded, “If I had known, I would have asked you to the prom.”

It was so sweet and so sincere I found myself crying. Here I was, 52 years old and crying about a missed opportunity 35 years earlier. But, somehow I couldn’t imagine that prom being any more wonderful than this moment, this first dance.

Then as unexpectedly as that first kiss, Ron looked in my eyes and said, “I love you.”

Now, this is where I will end our story out of respect to this shy, quiet and private man that I love. He has changed my life in ways I cannot describe. He has held my hand through difficult times and I have never felt alone. Now it is my turn to hold his.


[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Your story is, indeed, a beautiful love story, beautifully told. Thank you for sharing it. I've been unable to cry for 2 years due to a medication--I am so glad to be off it, so I can experience the full bittersweet effect of your story with tears running down my face.
I haven't had an identical story, but did find the love of my life and became friends slowly, after devastating divorces in both of our lives, only to lose him to cancer six years later.

It's a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it. And I can't help but be struck by the thoughtful dates Ron set up. He always called you with an idea of something to do--the fair, a ballet, the sports events. In my long (and long ago) experience of dating, this is rare. I hope you and he make some more wonderful memories in the time you have together.

Beautifully and lovingly told. It's so wonderful to have memories all the way back to childhood and now be together and fully enjoy & love each other. Enjoy whatever time is left for you.

What a wonderful and compelling love story.

I wish you both every happiness in your time together...

What a beatiful and heartfelt story -- it stirs my heart and soul. So glad you've found each other again -- may the time you have together be blessed.

I feel sort of wistfully jealous, but in the good way...it was just such a perfect sweet story...lucky you both...nice how life can do that for us every so often, isn't it...so I join so of the above responders in saying, wow..very nice in a sigh..write more...

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