A Beautiful Beginning
I was pretty nervous at first. Having run out of ways to prepare for the date, I had nothing better to do than to show up at the restaurant at 6:45pm, fifteen minutes early. Even though I kept scanning in all directions for him, Itai came up and practically tapped me on the shoulder before I saw him. I greeted him with a smile and presented him with a small bunch of purple flowers I'd bought earlier in the day. Rachel (my brother Seth's girlfriend) thought the flowers were awfully sweet, but I think that sort of gesture might be something that's more appreciated by women than men.
I was still slightly nervous as we sat down to eat, and though our conversation apparently flowed perfectly fine, it still felt slightly stiff in an indefinable way. Soon enough, however, we both seemed to warm up and get more comfortable. When we finished eating and bentching, I took Itai to Tmol Shilshom for coffee. I was having a great time. We talked so much. I actually fell into my instinctive "listening mode" and let Itai do most of the talking, prompting him along and putting in my own two cents whenever I could. Itai's life seems so full of so many rich experiences that it's almost overwhelming. In the week before the date, I of course wondered whether the large age gap between the two of us would be an issue, but I didn't accurately imagine how I'd be slightly intimidated by his much greater level of experience. I'm confident that the silly illusion that I've done so little with my life will fade away after I've taken the time to talk more about myself and share more of my own life story.
As midnight approached, we walked together to the central bus station so that Itai could catch his bus back to Tel Aviv before it turned into a pumpkin. We arrived in what we thought was the nick of time, but we then discovered that the last bus had apparently left at 11:45pm, not midnight. Trying to figure out his options, I offered to find Itai a place to sleep at Seth's apartment, but I think that may have been too forward, since that kind of suggestion can be taken the wrong way. Anyway, Itai opted to ride home in one of the taxi-vans that continually loiter in front of the bus station. They're a bit pricey, but better than nothing in a pinch.
We've agreed to meet again on Sunday, but left the exact details up in the air. I think a picnic in the park would be the most fun. Or maybe a picnic in the Old City of Jerusalem would be better.
I think my biggest mistake of the night was getting the tiramisu at Tmol Shilshom. I had rather absent-mindedly forgotten that one of the key ingredients of that dessert is coffee, and the caffeine concentration was so high that I eventually started stuttering slightly and slipping into my old childhood lisp. Even worse was the caffeine hangover I woke up with this morning.
In conclusion, Itai lived up to my best expectations. He's compassionte, kind, intelligent, responsible, down-to-earth, and friendly. He loves and wants children of his own as much as I do, we share the same unconditional love for living in Israel, and we're both moving in the same direction religiously. In short, he seems to be exactly what I'm looking for in a husband. Let's see what develops!
looking forward to photos.