I pictured my first date. Fantasized, actually, during those long lonely nights immediately following my separation from my husband. As I’ve written before, I jumped into dating too quickly, probably to put aside the fear that I’d grow old and alone with no company except the cats that only existed in my imagination. It was much easier to think about a date.
Delicious food, shared laughter, wine, candlelight.
I imagined I might take a walk with the man I’d been talking to ONLINE? for the last three weeks. We’d wander down the moonlit path by the creek. Perhaps he’d hold my hand. The water would dance over stones and drown out the laughter from the dining patios sparkling under fairy lights. I’d see shadows, other would-be lovers enjoying a warm evening stroll.
I pictured it all in my head while I swiped Black Honey lip gloss across my lips and teased my hair with nervous fingers. After nearly a decade in the comfort of marriage, dating was not something I was prepared for.
The reality of my date was a far cry from the fantasy.
My date kindly ignored when I tripped over the entryway carpet as I walked into the restaurant where he waited, merely pressing a peck to my cheek as if I hadn’t nearly knocked over the potted palm by the doorway.
He pretended not to see me drop my fork during the the appetizer course.
He told me funny stories to put me at ease.
I laughed and shared my own, trying not to look over my shoulder to see if anyone would notice I was with someone other than my husband.
He touched my arm as I laughed at his joke.
I ignored the ghost of my wedding band contrasting with the darker skin of my hand.
He offered me his arm. We strolled down the bank of the creek, mirroring the fantasy I’d woven. He reached his hand to cup my face and pulled me towards him in an aggressive kiss. I stilled at the foreign lips, the unfamiliar hands, the shorter body. He murmured in my ears words that made me want to giggle at their drama. He wanted me. He thought I was beautiful. His words were the stuff of a romance novel, foreign to ears that had most recently heard The Cat and the Hat.
I stifled my giggles, trying to enjoy the moment and the wandering lips and hands. Then, just as I thought about letting him steal second base, I stiffened.
My breasts were beginning to ache and not in a romance novel, bodice ripping sort of way. They were aching with the need to feed my daughter. A mental calculation later and I realized it had been five hours since I nursed her. My body taunted me with motherhood.
It’s one thing to leak in front of your friends, family, co-workers, and husband. It’s quite another to realize you’re about to leak breast milk in the $70 black lace bra you’d bought for your first date in front of the man whispering sweet nothings in your ear.
I eased away and tried to salvage the situation. My cheeks burned as I adjusted my sweater, telling him it was getting late and praying he hadn’t noticed the two wet spots on my chest in the dark. He seemed disappointed and asked if there was something wrong. I made my excuses and raced home to feed my daughter. Nothing I’d ever read about dating after separation had covered this contingency.
Later that night I chalked up “leaking breasts on a first date” as yet another new experience of being single again. Somewhere out there is a man wondering what happened to abruptly end an otherwise lovely date (no, we never went out again).
Care to share your dating nightmares?