I was startled to hear the doorbell late one afternoon. I wasn’t expecting anyone…at least not for a couple of hours.
“Surprise!” My mom stood on the front porch. She had decided to drive up from Southern California for a vist, taking the chance that I’d be home if she drove 300 miles and knocked on my door. (Obviously she knew I didn’t have much of a social life!)
Well, I was home, but this evening I was actually getting ready for a date.
“Hi mom!” I was glad to see her, but as I explained, it was too late to break my date with Steve. I told her I would cancel my babysitter, and come home as early as I could. Mom and six-year-old Matthew could play games keep each other company. They were both happy with that plan.
As I got dressed that evening, I had no idea that I was dressing for the last date of my life as an “unattached single woman”.
I thought about the previous weekend – my afternoon with John Paladini. This dinner with Steve had already been planned, but now my heart wasn’t really in it. I had liked John more than I had expected last Sunday. He had enjoyed it too, I guess. He sent me a thank you note. (Who in the world sends a thank you note “for sharing your day with me”?)
I think was a little smitten, but John hadn’t called again…
And now, here it was, Friday night. I was taking hot rollers out of my hair when the phone rang.
It was John! He said he had enjoyed our date on Sunday and wondered if I was free to do something the following evening, Saturday.
My mind was racing. Mom had just driven all this way up to see me, and I was heading out the door on a date I was less than excited about. I couldn’t very well ask her to stay home a second night and watch Matthew while I went out again. Even if it was with John. Rats!
“Do you like to play Scrabble?” I asked him tentatively.
I told him about my mom’s surprise visit, and asked if he’d like to come over and play Scrabble with us.
He immediately said yes!
You may remember that I had somewhat frivolously put Scrabble on my list, but of course John knew nothing of that. He had played a dozen times or so in his life, while I was a bit of a fanatic.
John, my mom and I played two games of Scrabble the following night, and then mom went to bed. John and I played a third game. That’s about six hours of words, on and off the board.
Long after midnight we said goodnight. It would be many weeks before we held hands or kissed, but that was the night we began to fall in love.
As an epilogue – we have continued to play Scrabble since we’ve been married. We have kept a cumulative score all these years and we’re well matched. On our ninth anniversary our score was tied. As of today John has 53, 890 and I have 54,144.