Ever since I made this dinner-date to meet her, I’ve wondered if it is normal for the mother to be experiencing the butterflies, worried about that first impression, going to great lengths (or rather “somewhat great lengths” because “great lengths” might be a small exaggeration, but “minor lengths” is not even a thing, is it?) to plan the perfect simple-yet-tasty, gluten- and dairy-free meal. Could this be The One? The woman who will turn my son into a happy man who realizes he wants children, and who will be the mother of my beautiful grandchildren I would so love to have? (Run away, GFG, run away!) I woke up Sunday morning fretting over what to wear. Nothing frumpy, not too fancy…black. Specifically, a black short-sleeved tee and a flattering yoga-type skirt that doesn’t actually trip me – too often – and bare feet. Top it with a bold and bright orange squiggly necklace handmade by a friend, and a dab on the wrists of melted soy candle wax I kept because I liked the scent, and the outfit silently screams Me. Joe sniffs his pits, changes his shirt and he’s done.
I guess this moment is so important to me because it hasn’t happened in a while. Man-Child’s last girlfriend was mysteriously kept from us for well over a year. Joe met her once, briefly and accidentally, on a dark winter’s night when we stopped at a convenience store for something on the way to a party. I missed the chance encounter, simultaneously regretful and grateful, (regrateful?) as I was waiting in the car, seat extended fully back as I was in a corset so tight it did not allow me to sit upright, wearing a white mask and holding a bouquet of white roses against my plump corpse-like body. (We were on our way to a Winter Solstice celebration, and I was dressed as an Ice Queen. Of course.)
The girlfriend before that was more present in our lives, but the first impression was a bit embarrassing. Joe and I had been to an Oktoberfest party that morning, followed by the Fremont Oktoberfest, and ending with an impromptu dinner at our place for just a couple friends. We were all outside in our clothing-optional hot tub under an illuminating full moon, and feeling no pain. Then the back door opens and Man-Child comes out chuckling, and introduces his girlfriend to everyone, while I stick out my naked arm, careful to keep everything from the neck down under water.
Sunday’s dinner was perfect, all good smells, old-fashioned blues on the stereo, candles and coziness, and Gluten-free Girlfriend is a petite, magical elf of a woman, with manners to match her bounteous dimples. Before dessert (that could have been cooked another 10 minutes, but everyone was gracious about it—nothing raw in it, after all), we huddle on the front porch and oooh and ahh over the blood-red super moon eclipse, and I take it as a good omen. Love is in the air in Shorelandia.