Shirt goes on. Shirt comes off. Wriggle into jeans. Bend knees. No jeans. Maybe the newish skirt? Loose dress? Bearing in mind it’s a nightclub, I close my eyes in a quick bid to channel my inner Oracle for foresight on how to dress myself appropriately for the occasion. Twelve years ago I went on my first “date”, yet I’ve Benjamin Buttoned one of the first skills I’ve learned- once so bold, I’ve since regressed- now so perplexed with clothing, in wonder at the texture of colours, the worn-mama of a Technicolor sock orphanage, unable to wear a sweater without wearing every memory woven within. Wool makes my hippocampus itch even more than my skin. Stumbling around my room like a strange toddler-giant, I harvest outfits from my floor, assess, and toss back down into my unapologetically red **** carpet. It came with the house, unlike me. I should have been downstairs 5 minutes ago. Daniel’s razor has stopped whirring and all I can hear is the soft swish of my own rummaging, punctuated by the immensely dear and clumsy strumming of my guitar as he patiently waits. A basic four-chord pop progression, and then the bones of a Radiohead song I taught him months ago when we were Just Friends and I was simply the older sister of his best pal from undergrad. Strictly off-limits, and so we grew close in the plainest, most innocent of ways, letting our insufferably weird senses of humor and quirky authentic selves hang out like big bellies over unbuttoned pants. He laughed at all my jokes and I became addicted to the sound. In spite of my five left-arms I tried my damndest to learn Ultimate when he invited me to his league just so we had another excuse to spend our Sundays together. How suddenly and beautifully it changed, very late one night and as naturally as if we had been together for months and the only oblivious parties were us. How fitting now that we should have our first date with my favourite musician, an artist who we had bonded over in our early days.
Unless, of course, I take so long to get dressed that we miss it. I abide by Murphy’s Law as I don my original ensemble and scramble down the stairs with my hands open in apology. Daniel is lying on the couch with a button-down plaid shirt and a clean face, a stunning picture of leisure even though we are late. He smells magnificently like boy and I stifle the urge to cough out the butterflies that tickle my throat. Soon we are in a car and the city glides by like a watercolour backdrop, darkened and intensified by the rain. Finding weekend parking on Granville Street is a trick and I feel my driving-nerves swirling about with infatuation for my date and my unbelievable excitement to hear Kishi Bashi and his magical violin live, creating a swamp-water of adrenaline that intoxicates me. I probably shouldn’t be behind the wheel at this point. A side street holds the space for the vehicle and we stumble out into the glorious fresh and chilly spring evening to The Venue. We share smiles and quiet stumblings through conversations that feel suddenly new as we dog-paddle the waters of What We Are Now (What Are We Now?) Normally this would fill me with anxiety, but there is a warmth and earnestness to his electric blue eyes that arrest my fear. I am floating. He is floating. We are red balloons attached by a string to each other and everything about this moment feels buoyant and filled with light, each quick step up the busy, wet sidewalk seems a little freer of gravity. With the seamless quality of a dream-montage our surroundings change and we are inside the bar. It is dark and the scene has been set by a subtle smoke machine that beckons people closer within an otherworldly fog. The lighting is nautical, a deep and dreamy pallet of purples, teals, sapphires that are opaque in the smoke- thick, sliceable beams from the ceiling that rotate lazily through the bar. I wonder out loud at how gorgeous they are and Daniel agrees as we marvel at the watery beauty of the frozen fireworks around us. He buys us beer and the bottle is very cold, juxtaposed with the warmth my free hand finds as it punctuates our conversations with a magnetism to his arm, his side, like a bird testing out the tree it hopes to nest in. The bitter, hoppy fizz cuts through the mint in my mouth and I am purring, utterly content. As the minutes pass more and more people appear in singles and doubles and groups. Some are dressed in spandex and skin- ready to dance and flirt, others in heavy layers and caps, looking suspiciously like they had brought their knitting right with there with them. The best music draws out all types of people.
Suddenly I am arrested by the presence of a slight Japanese man, hair spiked up in an edgy bedhead and wearing a sand-coloured suit and bowtie who says “excuse me” as he passes in front of us like a common mortal, just some other dude of average height and appearance and not the music god whose albums have become a part of my blood. Daniel catches my shock and follows my laser eyes to the passing man, before exclaiming: “No- no, that isn’t? Was that...?!” With my empathic affirmation I allow my knees to buckle, one third for comedic effect, one third because I am literally star-struck, and one third for the delicious slump into my stunning companion’s arms. It is Hallowe’en. It is Valentine’s Day. It is Christmas. “I’m dying!” I laugh, “I’m literally dying, I’m dying- this is too much, too much- I’m dead!” Daniel laughs, his shy voice like a cozy bell and he kisses me firmly, purposefully, dominating my senses with his heat and boy-smell and endorphins. He grins as he pulls away, shaking his head at me- “No. You’re alive. You’re so alive.” We smile in helpless excitement at each other. “Besides, I think he totally looked at you” he teases. My brain literally can’t process this and I gasp at him to stop. The lights dance more quickly and the man and his violin are on the stage. People are cheering and the room thrills in anticipation. The speakers are so loud and I don’t care, I am hungry for the bass that pulses up through my feet and entrains with my heartbeat. Kishi Bashi introduces himself and my brain stops. Daniel’s arm is around me and for the first time in years I am full of an innocent, earnest sensation that I had left for false or even dead. I could almost weep for the joy of it.
Oh hello, will you be mine? I haven’t felt this alive in a long time... my lips move soundlessly with the song I had shown Daniel casually months before (“this is my all-time favourite, you’ve gotta check it out”) In our makeshift guitar lessons he had assured me that he would learn this song for me, just to show off how good he was getting- a small jest that left me spinning for nights in sleepless analysis of what that could mean and if he felt the same way about me after all.
I read the signs, I haven’t been this in love in a long time... and I feel Daniel’s chest move in a sigh and he draws slightly closer within the chorus so that we are cocooned in the blue and purple and heartwrenching sweep of the violin loops. The crowd moves but we are very still. I notice that my hand is in his and the imperceptible, feathery stroke of his thumb along my palm is as loud as the speakers. Daniel was right. I feel this moment tattoo upon my bones, a picture that I will trace over with my mind again and again as time stops and stretches, bending the continuum into an impossible possibility of falling in love and realizing it is for keeps. That no matter how the rest unfolds, this first date, this moment, knew true happiness and belonging in what it means to be
Memoir assignment for a creative writing class.
Disclaimer: I'm helplessly twitterpated.
Sorry (not sorry)