“David did you make sure your brother and everybody else knows what time they have to be at the church next Saturday?”
“Yes mom, you know everybody was at the rehearsal this afternoon, there is nothing for you to worry about. I’m 32 years old, Brian is 30 yet you still talk to us like we were kids.”
“Really, well you’re probably right. What was I thinking David? You’re the groom and Brian is the best man, what could go wrong? That’s just how moms are honey. The fact that on the night everyone was supposed to be fitted for their tux you and your brother, the groom and best man didn’t make it. Your brother fell asleep on the train ride home from work and woke up fifty miles past his stop, while you locked the keys and your cell phone in the car at the train station waiting for him. That shouldn’t be a cause for concern, right?”
“Ok mom, so you know dad talked all the guys after rehearsal too.”
“I’m not sure why but that doesn’t make me feel better. I’m going to stop Emily’s house on my way home, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”
“All right mom, I am meeting Brian for dinner and I will pass along your concerns.”
“Your sarcasm is duly noted , enjoy dinner and make sure your brother knows if either one of you screw anything up I will tell you the same thing Joe Louis the famous heavy weight boxer use to tell his challenger in the ring, ‘you can run but you can’t hide’, goodnight sweetie.”
There is no substitute for the comfort of motherly love. To be honest, my brother and I have done a few things over the years that would explain our mother’s attitude.
I am going to back up a little to the summer of last year so everything makes sense. It was a beautiful July day and I had to stop at the grocery store on my way home. Brian and I, along with a couple of our friends held the court for three hours of pickup basketball at a neighborhood park. We both live near our parents on Long Island, NY. Brian commutes in to New York City to work and I teach science at a college nearby.
My mother often said that parents have a vision of what their children’s lives should become, the children have some idea of how they want their future to be and then fate intervenes. Well when I went in to the grocery store I didn’t know that I would run in to fate in the most literal sense.
I was pushing my shopping cart down the isle and a very attractive woman about my age walked right in front of me and I bumped into the back of her. The items in her bag fell out and scatter all over the floor.
“Are you ok? I’m so sorry; you walked right in front of me.”
She was a little startled but not hurt, turned in my direction and said, “I’m alright, I apologize it was my fault.” Something didn’t seem right. She stood still with a concerned look on her face like she didn’t know what to do next.
“My things must be all over the floor.”
That was an odd thing to say I thought; she can see that they are and then I looked to my left and noticed a collapsible white cane on the floor, she’s blind.
“Let me help you pick up your groceries, my name is David.”
“Thank you David, my name is Emily.”
“It’s nice to meet you Emily, here is your cane. I’ll put everything back in the bag for you.”
“I would appreciate that. I’m sure my melons are going to be bruised.”
When I get nervous I usually make some kind of a joke and said, “Your melons are going to be fine, I ran in to the back of you.”
She blushed and then giggled while she said, “You’re polite and funny. Should I have said my buns?”
A strange sensation came over me as I picked up the groceries and we made small talk. I felt so comfortable talking to someone I had just met under rather unusual circumstances. I walked up to the checkout with her and we chatted while waiting in line. It turned out her cousin also taught at the college where I worked.
When we finished checking out I asked her, “How are you getting home?”
“I’ll take the bus; it stops right in front of the store.”
“I have a suggestion, I know we just met but I would really like to give you a ride home. It’s the least I could do for you.”
Emily paused for a moment and answered, “That would be nice David, it’s been a long day” and smiled. It took me about ten minutes to get to her house. I got her bags out of the car and carried them up to her door.
“Did you know there is a great Italian restaurant two blocks from your house Emily?”
“You must be talking about the Appian Way on Orchard St?”
“Yes, you know the place.”
“I certainly do. I eat there once a week, it’s an easy walk.”
“Great, how would you like to have dinner with me there tomorrow night?”
She hesitated before saying anything and told me, “It’s very nice of you to ask but you have done enough and I appreciate it.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t even know if you are seeing somebody.”
“Ah, no, it’s not that, I’m just not sure yet what my plans are going to be for tomorrow.”
“Of course, I understand. Well it was nice meeting you and I will have to tell your cousin how I met you, Good-bye.”
I started walking toward my car and Emily called out, “David!”
I turned around and said, “Yes, did I forget something in the car?”
She walked slowly toward me with a smile on her face. Emily stopped a few feet from me and spoke in a soft voice, “I would really enjoy having dinner with you tomorrow night. How does sound?”
“That works, I will be here at .”
She stepped closer to me and asked “is it all right if I touch your face?”
Of course she had no way of knowing what I looked like and I responded, “Yes, you can do that.” She lifted her arm, my hand met hers and I slowly guided it to my face. Her hand was so soft; she carefully moved her hand over my face and around the back of my head.
“You have a nice face with smile lines,” and laughed. “You have soft curly hair, I’ll bet its light colored and you’re a little over six feet tall, right?”
Now I laughed and told her, “Well I’m impressed because you are correct.”
“People who smile a lot have a certain type of contour to their face. Blonde or light brown hair is finer than dark hair and I can make a good guess on how tall somebody is in comparison to my height. Before we go out I will give you quick lesson on escorting a visually impaired companion.”
“Will there be a quiz before we leave?” I asked and laughed.
“Yes, there will be, ” she said with a big smile “and if you fail you have to buy me desert.”
“I’ll arrive a few minute early so I have time to review.”
“Good idea,” Emily said and hugged me.
Sunday evening came quickly and I got to Emily’s house at , I rang the door bell.
“Yes, you look very nice.”
“Thank you and please come in. I poured us a glass of my favorite Italian wine; let’s go into the living room.
The house was nice and she navigated around it easily. “You have a beautiful place.”
“Yes, I bought it a few years ago and really like it. My neighbors are friendly and my uncle lives one the street behind me, two houses east. How is the wine?”
“I like it Emily,” she made me feel comfortable and I was enjoying our conversation.
“Are you ready for my briefing?’ she said with a smile.
“I am,” I said, not being sure what she wanted me to do.
“For the blind or visually impaired getting around is obviously their biggest challenge. Fortunately we are going to a location I am very familiar with but even there unexpected obstacles are present. When we enter I will walk next to you. If there are people in the way or an object let me know and guide me in the direction we need to go by placing your hand on my hip or shoulder. I don’t usually use my cane when I am with someone.”
“That doesn’t sound complicated.” We had another glass of wine and got to know each other a little. I was impressed in many ways and I was glad I asked her out to dinner.
“Oh, I just remembered something I wanted to tell you.”
“I talked to my cousin and told him I met you and how I met you. He laughed and told me you are a very nice guy and that you are both on the same committee. When I told him you asked me out to dinner he told me he was sure I would have a good time.”
“It’s a small world isn’t?
“Sometimes it does seem that way.”
“Your cousin Andy and I see each other at work a lot. I am sure he will ask me about our dinner.”
“Of course, my mom called me a little while after I talked to Andy and asked about you David. Word gets around fast in my family.”
“That’s what mom’s do. It sounds like you have a close family.”
“Yes, we are a close family. My mom and I are especially close. I lost my vision from the complications of a childhood illness when I was eight years old, my mom and dad worry about me, sometimes to much. I haven’t dated recently and when she heard I was going out to dinner she just assumed it was a date.”
“That seems like a reasonable assumption to make; it is kind of like a date isn’t it?”
Emily smiled and said, “Yes it is like a date but I didn’t want to tell my mom that. I don’t date often because it can get complicated for me but more so for the person I am with. Dating by itself provides challenges, add the fact that I am blind and it places additional stress on the relationship. I dated in high school and had a boyfriend in college, we both decided we would remain friends but not date. It was a difficult decision for both of us.”
“Is it alright if I ask why you didn’t want to tell your mom you had a date?”
“That’s a good question and I did give it some thought. I didn’t know that you and I considered it a date so I wasn’t going to tell my mom that. My parents have the same hopes and dreams for me as any parent would. We don’t talk about it but I know my mom would like to see me meet someone nice and get married.”
“Is that something you want, to meet someone nice and get married?”
“Another good question, I didn’t realize we would have such a deep conversation.”
“I’m sorry Emily I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable.”
“It’s alright really, I am not uncomfortable. I just met you but feel at ease in your company. Getting back to your question, yes I would like to meet someone nice and get married.”
“It’s kind of funny you said that. When I was talking to you at the grocery store I was thinking how comfortable I felt with a person I just met. I have a question.”
“Ok, go ahead, ask it,” She smiled and said, “I have been doing all the talking.”
“Is it alright with you if we call our dinner a date?”
“Yes, I would like that.”
“Good, I want you to do one thing before we leave.”
“Really, and what would that be?”
“Call your mom and tell her you are going out on a date tonight.”
Emily paused for a moment and said, “You’re very thoughtful and sweet. I am going to call my mom right now.”
We really enjoyed dinner and Emily knew everybody at the restaurant. The chef even came out to say hi to us. We lingered over dinner and talked for two hours. We went out often and began spending a lot of time together. I got invited to a family dinner and met her parents, brother and sister. They are good people and welcomed me with open arms. Emily got to meet everyone in my family also and they liked her instantly, she has that affect on everyone she meets.
It was after a family dinner that we went for a short drive to a park nearby where I live. We like going there and visit often. It is a state park that has a small lake right in the center of it. There is an area in the park where a small stream feeds into the lake. We usually sit on the benches close to the stream because Emily likes to listen to the water; she said it is very relaxing.
I said, "do you know what today is?”
She laughed and said, “Yes I do but I wasn’t sure you would remember this is the one year anniversary of our first date.”
“Well I surprised you didn’t I?”
“Not much, you are good about remembering things.”
“Thank you; I have another surprise for you.”
“Oh? You have a surprise for me. What is it, don’t be a tease David.”
“Alright, put your hand out.” She got a puzzled look on her face and put out her hand. “First I am going to say something that should not be a surprise to anyone, especially you. I love you very much, more than I can put into words.”
She was sitting very still and said, “I know that David and I feel the same way about you.”
I held her hand and said, “I am placing an engagement ring on your finger and I want to know if you will marry me? Your mom helped me pick it out and she said you would like it.”
She felt the ring with her right hand and then placed both hands up to her face as she started to softly cry. “Yes David I will marry, I can’t believe I meet someone like you.”
“It’s kind of funny you said that because I was just thinking the same thing as I put the ring on your finger.”
We are getting married next Saturday and our mothers are making sure that everything will be perfect for that day.