It started in the snow. If love is blind then love is also immune to the cold because I am not a fan of winter. Our first date was a winter hike, and somehow I don’t remember the cold. I only remember the fun we had, the conversation, the attempted hand holding and the almost kiss.
We were sixteen and in high school. We had planned a hike in the forest as our first official date, though we weren’t dating yet. When I asked my parents if I could go, their immediate reaction was, ‘There is no way we are letting our child go off into the woods with a boy we don’t know.’ Of course I begged and pleaded and assured them that Josh was a very nice boy and nothing would happen to me. Looking back, I wouldn’t have said yes to my daughter going into the woods with a strange boy either. After much more pleading my parents agreed that I could go but only if my father dropped us off and picked us up. The catch was that if my father didn’t like him, he would drive him back home. I assured him that he would love him, and that he probably wouldn’t say much because he was very shy. My parents bundled me up like they used to back in the early days of elementary school with a coat, scarf, hat, mittens and a dickey (yes, a dickey), to which I refused. They told me I wasn’t going unless I was ‘prepared for the weather’ (which in parent language meant ‘covered up in front of boy’). I brought a bag to remove and store all of the excess winter gear as soon as I was out of eyesight.
Finally we were ready to go and my father drove me to Josh’s house, reminding me all the while that he would take him back home if he didn’t like anything about him. When Josh got into the car and met my father for the first time, he was literally shaking. I watched his leg bounce nervously up and down while his hands lay nervous and flat on top of them. I don’t even remember the conversation that Josh and my father had, only the tense, awkward moment. I smiled inwardly because I knew that there was no way that my father would send him back after seeing how nervous he was. My mother told me that when my father got home he told her, ‘He wore a white hat. Seemed like a nice boy’. My father dropped us off at the beginning of the trail and waited until we were out of eyesight to leave. When he left I promptly removed all of my extra winter gear so I would look less ‘winter beast’ and more ‘cute girl’. Knowing Josh, he wouldn’t have cared either way.
We bonded instantly over our relationships with our grandfathers and our love for the outdoors. Having a conversation with him was so easy. At one point he tried to hold my hand, but he lost his footing in the snow and face planted instead. He didn’t try to hold my hand after that.
We chatted and laughed for hours until we reached the end of the trail. I called my father to come pick us up. While we were waiting we chatted some more, and he started to lean in. This is it, I thought. It was going to be my first kiss. I didn’t move a muscle. I just stared at him awkwardly as he moved in closer. At that moment a pair of bright headlights approached us and a car came to a halt a few inches away. Josh sprang back and we turned around. My father had arrived, smiling. We got into the car and my dad drove us home. ‘You didn’t send him back home’, I told my father after he dropped Josh off at his house. ‘He seemed like an alright enough guy,’ my father told me.
Seven Years Later
It started in the snow. Our engagement photos featured the first big snowfall this winter. Large fluffy snowflakes floated down around us. My face was numb, yet I enjoyed every minute of it. We laughed. We walked hand in hand around Toronto. We remembered the attempted kiss and did it for real.
Photo Credit: @everydaydeelights