Monday, August 25, 2014



Dylan fought a Volkswagon for the last spot in the parking lot. "You could be a nice guy and let them park in the back of the truck bed." He'd washed the truck again and I looked around feeling over dressed in one of Grandma's custom dresses with a pair of 5 inch Loubitins shielding my toes. I'd expected our first date as a couple to be at a nice romantic restaurant shaped like a fork, but instead, we were in a parking lot at the edge of the woods.

He held my boots which had somehow lost all traces of the work I'd done mucking out the stalls that morning. "Put these on." He set them on the seat beside me.

"They clash with my dress." Well, they did.

"Suit yourself, princess, but it's a little hike to where we're headed and those"-he pointed to my feet-"are definitely not gonna work."

I snatched the boots off the bench seat and shot him a stink-eye. "Wow, you bring me to all the best places, farmboy."

He grinned his I'm-lovable-don't-be-mad-at-me grin and leaned over to plant a soft kiss on my cheek while I wrestled with the laces. "I promise, you won't be sorry."

"Okay, but if one person laughs at the way I'm dressed, you're gonna be digging a stiletto out of your colon."

A moment later, he helped me down out his truck and took my hand in his - the one not holding a blanket and picnic basket. It was a leisurely stroll underneath a canopy of trees. Tiny slivers of moonlight escaped through the branches while crickets chirped and wild animals rustled leaves all around us.   The night, maybe because it was our first real date, felt magical and suddenly, I didn't care where I was or what I was wearing. All that mattered was I walked beside Dylan.

We reached a clearing, or what would have been a clearing had it not been so packed with Storybook Lake townsfolk. Benches made of fallen trees sat in lines providing seating for the two hundred or so couples, parents with kids, and senior citizens who had all come out to be assaulted by mosquitoes and other small flying insects for God knew what reason.

Dylan spread one of the two blankets out onto the ground then motioned for me to sit. With the grace of a cheetah, he lowered his body next to mine and wrapped the second blanket around us, cocooning us together. With the only hand he had free, he flipped the basket open and extracted a bottle of sparkling cider and two wine glasses.

As he poured an old man all but pole vaulted onto the makeshift stage.

"Who is that guy?" I had a vague sense of deja vu.

"He's Nicodemus, a traveling storyteller. Why?"

"I feel like I know him."


The rest of Dylan's words were swallowed up by the little man on the stage. He was very small, with a long staff and a beard that even Bic wouldn't have been able to get through. “Circle in, ye lads and lasses,” he began. “I be a traveling bard. For a coin, I’ll share a tale.” I just had to love a guy who wasn't afraid to dress like one of Snow White's little friends. When the troll's hat made its way to us, Dylan dropped in a few bills and then passed it on.

It wasn't until the hat had gone full circle that the little old man began. "Once upon a time..." I lost myself in his words, the retelling of a tale I'd heard before, but never with such verve and majesty. When he was finished, the crowd erupted into applause, begging for more, wishing for a way to remain spun in the story he told.

I looked over at Dylan whose self-satisfied smile lit up his face. "Okay. You win. This was better than dinner or a movie."

He turned his body to face mine. "Becca, I brought you here because I wanted you to believe in fairy tales and happily ever after, because I do and you're mine, my happily ever after." His kiss was soft and gentle, just enough to let me know it happened.

Yep. This was the best first date in the history of first dates.