Since it was after hours, I unlocked the front door of the floral shop to let Parke in. Although we had hardly touched before, my arms naturally went around his neck. My toes assisted me since he was almost a foot taller than me. My eyes widened when I realized just how thick he was. I reluctantly let go so he wouldn’t have to pry my greedy hands off of his meaty shoulders.
I held three pieces of Parke that needed to be linked together in a puzzle. One piece was Parke, the student. That student was smart, confident, motivated, consistent, and serious. Another piece was Parke, the mystery internet man. He was philosophical, funny, complimentary, industrious, probing, cultured and interesting. Last was the piece standing in front of me; and he was drop. dead. gorgeous. No, I didn’t think there is going to be a problem in the attraction department. I hoped, during the course of the night, I would be able to link the pieces together to see Parke as a whole and discover just who he was.
That night the conversation flowed. Our weeks of e-conversation had built a foundation for our relationship. We laughed a lot. When we were chatting about his lawn-care business, I teased that he probably had a farmer’s tan. He nervously laughed, which I accepted as a dare. Even with his swatting hand, I triumphantly grasped his sleeve and yanked it up. I laughed because, under that sleeve, a shocking segregation between tan and white was apparent. I still tease him about his farmer’s tan to this day. As an added bonus, I was blessed by a glimpse of his juicy bicep. And from that point on, I was tired of words, words, words, I wanted some tactile stimulation.
We went to dinner at an Italian restaurant with two other couples. The other couples were my best friends and were grilling him. Parke knocked every question out of the park. He was cordial, funny and cool. I was so proud to have him as my date. Next, we went country dancing. The six of us started out with dance lessons and then had free dance time. There must have been some pheromones in the air because all three couples ended up marrying each other. When the DJ played fast songs, Parke lifted me with ease. I felt like a wisp of air. Some of the moves allowed my hand to run along his abdomen. Washboards around the world were shaking their fists in a jealous rant. This guy was ripped! When they played slow songs Parke confidently pulled me into his arms and close to his alluring body.
Growing up, I attended a lot of Mormon youth dances. Dance rules state that girls must wear knee-length, sleeved dresses and the boys: a shirt and tie. We must have looked ridiculous doing the “deacon shuffle” to 2 Legit To Quit and Y.M.C.A in our church clothes, but it was worth it for the prospect of touching someone of the opposite sex. The dances had chaperones. While slow dancing, the couple could dance close to one another as long as the scriptures could fit between them. If I liked someone, I tried to push the closeness limit. Instead of fitting a quad between our bodies, it was more like a “Pearl of Great Price”, or better yet, a “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet. Most couples danced in a traditional embrace, with one hand around the waist and shoulder while holding outstretched hands. It is awkward because you are forced to have a three minute conversation while being ten inches away from your partner’s face. I much preferred to dance with arms around the neck and waist. That way you could dance closer and could rest your head on their shoulder if the moment was right. Back then, it was so exciting when your crush placed your hand around his neck instead of holding it outstretched.
But this was no church dance and Parke and I were not 14 years old anymore. He bent over slightly to hold me secure. Our bodies were in full contact and soaking up the heat therein.
Bad boys and losers were key players in my dating history playbook. By contrast, Parke was a polite and sophisticated specimen. He was such a gentleman. I was concerned that he may be too nice for me? My worries were put to ease when he escorted me to the car. He asked me to look at the grill of his SUV while he was explaining some car troubles he was having. I crouched down close enough to see what he was pointing to. He kept persuading me to get closer “Don’t you hear that clicking?” he asked. Then when my head was literally three inches from the grill, he pushed the alarm button on his car remote. A loud horn blasted my tympanic membranes and I screamed. Most girls would be annoyed, but I was relieved. That single mischievous moment set my interest aflame. So he wasn’t all pure and saintly. I’d like to explore that further…..
We walked into my apartment. I only had one roommate at the time and she was conveniently absent. It was June. The air was warm and dry so we decided to sit on the futon on my balcony. Yes, there will be hundreds of students that will cycle through that apartment and hundreds more that will stand on that same balcony. But that balcony will forever be our balcony. It was the location where we realized our marvelous connection. We sat for hours talking, staring at the stars, staring at each other, touching each other without kissing, flirting without game-playing. I was absorbed in Parke. Everything he said was gospel to me. I was converted to his every idea.
We talked until the early morning hours. Not wanting to say good-bye, we forced ourselves up and robotically walked toward his car. The night was silent and still. The stars were pouring their light on us. The quotation “Never kiss on the first date” flashed into my mind. I waved it away angrily. This is different; Parke is only in Utah for one weekend before he goes back to Wyoming. But it resurfaced. Should I allow him to kiss me? Would he try? I didn’t want to seem too forward. But my lips were selfish and resisted my puritanical reasoning. I had figured out who he was. Now I wanted to know how he was.