A little known fact is that one of our first dates happened at Mill Mountain Coffee Shop. I’d known him for a while by then. He was handsome, smart, and friendly and I was excited we’d spend a few hours together, just the two of us.
We sat at a little square table in the front of the shop making small talk. Other folks were working on laptops or texting every so often. Not us. We focused on each other. Untrimmed sandy hair fell across the top of each ear, and his blue eyes smiled kindly. His face betrayed his youth; he was merely a kid. As I sipped my coffee, we talked about everything and nothing, this and that. He liked his work at school and loved to be outside. We had watched many of the very same movies and shows – even liked the same books. We laughed. We relaxed. It all felt so natural.
I’ll never forget the cheese danish he ordered that day. While I told him a little about my parents, he took a bite of his pastry and bits of it crumbled onto the table top. The pile slowly grew larger, but he didn’t seem to notice. If he did, it didn’t bother him in the least. He talked about his plans for the day and in between words I could see a mouthful of pastry. What he was lacking in manners, he made up for in genuine kindness. Surely, I could work with that.
When our drink cups sat empty and only crumbs remained, he stood up. I thought he was going to throw away our trash or head to the rest room. But instead, he walked over to me and gently kissed the top of my right hand. He stepped back and I realized I’d found a true Southern gentleman. I saw years stretch out long before us. I wondered what great adventures we’d have together. I loved him so much already.
We cleared the table and walked out of the coffee shop hand in hand. When we got the car, I opened the door for him.
“You make a mighty fine date,” I smiled. He grinned back just before he climbed up into his own seat. “Can we do this again, Mommy?” he asked.
“Of course we can, Jackson!” I knew I’d found a keeper.