The beginning of the 2003 - 2004 school year brought much needed changes. I was transferred from Minter Creek Elementary to Harbor Heights Elementary. I had a new (to me) car, new phone number, and new apartment. I was leaving behind the trace of "my dark years." Feeling renewed.
Who knew the best change in my life was yet to come?
Several times during the first few weeks of school I ran into the only other young-ish elementary male teacher in our district. We saw each other frequently before school at Cutters Point. I'd already known him for several years. Sat by him in meetings listening to him talk about his friends, love life, and sports. And sports. And more sports. I'd always thought he was so stinkin' good looking, but I knew I didn't stand a chance. And, well, he happened to be unavailable. During our coffee run-ins, I came to understand that as of very recently, he was no longer with someone.
So, when Monday, September 29 rolled around, I headed to the first Math Monday training of the school year after work. I was beckoned over by this guy and, wow, did he look good. Khaki pants, royal blue button up short, and...wait for it...flip flops. (If you didn't know who I've been talking about, I bet the flip flops hint gave it away, right?) As the math training lagged on, I was getting hungrier and hungrier. Thank goodness for the Snickers mini-bars this guy kept tossing my way.
After the meeting, to my surprise, this guy told me he was going to grab a bite to eat and asked if I wanted to join him. A gal's gotta eat, right? The catch was, he committed to watching a third grade football game that evening and I had to stop by the field with him. Deal. From the game, we dropped off my car at his place in Tacoma so we could ride together to Olive Garden. We talked and laughed. I pretended I was confident. All cool, calm and collected. I recall sharing how much I love peanut butter and I also remember him asking me what my one vice is.
After dinner, he holds up his car keys and says, "Trust me?" I must've looked reluctant, because he dropped a comment about the place with the best dessert ever. Good-bye reluctance. We hopped into his navy blue Acura Integra and headed north on I-5. And continued north. And continued north. And continued north. Our destination was Diletante Ice Cream on Broadway in Seattle. Promises are promises, and it did happen to be the best dessert ever. (Or was it the company?)
On the way home, we blew out his car speakers listening to the soundtrack of Moulin Rouge, and I learned he had an amazing singing voice. He learned I'm tone deaf. When he had to stop for fuel, I asked to drive his car. I love fast cars. Without a moment's hesitation, he tossed me the keys.
I got home late and, honestly, didn't take the evening too seriously. I didn't bother to analyze it or wonder what it meant. I just cherished the moment. It didn't occur to me I went on a real date. And a real date with the same guy I'd thought was HOT for several years. Our mutual friend sent me an email the next morning. In the subject line, it read, "Late night?" and she wrote, "I hear you went on a date with Ty last night." I still wasn't convinced it was a date until I got an email from Ty later that day. "Had a great time last night. Would love to see you again. Free for dinner tonight?"
And that was my last first date.
Oh, and the best part of the story? Those first run-ins at Cutters Point in the mornings - they happened because Ty drove from Cutters Point to Starbucks and back til he came across me in the mornings.