Friday night is designated date night, where I come from. (And by where I come from, I mean… planet earth. Because pretty much everyone wants to be out and about with the one they love/like/are into at the moment on a Friday night.)
Friday night spells the end of the work week and a chance to go out and blow off steam from the crazy week you have had.
Therefore Friday night is pretty much the busiest night of the week every where you choose to go. Darn. For a girl who doesn’t exactly relish crowds, this can be a bit of a problem.
So when Nicole asked me if I wanted to go out (last) Friday, I immediately said yes, and then wondered what we were going to do that would still be fun amidst all of the other couples trying to have a romantic evening. Besides that, I wanted to do something fun; something not a-typical. So I told her I wanted to pick the date spot this time around.
Fast forward to me, on Friday night, still trying to plan where the fuck we were going to go.
One day, I’m going to have to learn how to plan ahead.
I sat down with my iPad and Google and went to it after the kids were tucked safely in bed. A restaurant? Meh. Coffee? *Yawn* Bowling? Let’s put that on the maybe pile.
I shuffled through website after website until finally I lighted on an actually good idea.
Downtown there is a gorgeous outdoor skating rink that is open until 10:00pm every Friday night. And for reasons I can’t understand, it isn’t highly frequented. I sent Nicole a quick message asking her if she had skates.
N: Umm… yeah. Somewhere.
H: Excellent! Grab them! We’re going out!
I asked (forced) Brian to search through our crawl space for my old pair of skates and then quickly hit the road.
I picked up Nicole half an hour later and headed out to the skating rink, never once cluing into to the problem my last minute planning had caused me. (Have you figured it out yet?? No? Keep reading…)
We arrived at the skating rink and ditched the car at one of the in town parking lots and headed out across the snow-filled meadow toward the ice rink.
After the snow storm we had received that morning the place was pretty much disserted. I looked over at Nicole and smiled. “Looks like we’re going to have the place to ourselves,” I said with a smile.
“Romantic!” she said and began lacing up her skates.
I sat down next to her and began strapping up my own skates. I eyed her, self consciously.
Nicole is very athletic. She excels in every sport she does. She’s a runner. She’s a skater. She’s into tae kwon do, jiu jitsu, roller derby. She’s pretty much excellent at everything.
In other words she puts a tiny little thing like me, who happens to run on a treadmill occasionally, to complete shame.
“You ready to head out?” She asked offering me her hand.
“Yeah, definitely!” I said. I reached out for her gloved hand and we stepped onto the ice.
From the second my skates hit the solid ice, I knew something was wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong.
My skates wouldn’t cooperate. They weren’t digging into the ice the way they should. Like a car on black ice I was floundering.
And that’s when it hit me.
I hadn’t sharpened my skates.
“You ok?” Nicole asked.
“Umm… no. Apparently you’re dating a moron.”
Nicole looked at me a little confused.
“I forgot to sharpen my skates before I came out.”
She began laughing hysterically. “When was the last time you skated?” She asked in between breaths.
“Umm… last winter?” I said.
That caused another round of laughter.
“Do you want to quit?”
She smiled. “We can, you know.”
“What are you talking about? Skating on unsharpened skates is great for the glutes!”
“Just, don’t let go of my hand.”
Despite her best efforts I still fell about 10,596 times that night. But we stayed and skated for a good hour, circling the rink and taking in the gorgeous white Christmas lights that decorate the outdoor arena all season long. It really was a beautiful night. And for a good part of the night we had the rink to ourselves. As the hour wore on a few other brave couples joined us on the ice.
I caught a few backward glances from some of the other couples as they watched the two girls awkwardly circling the little pond.
I could see in their eyes the question; girlfriends or close friends?
As 10:00pm hit and the ice rink closed, we made our way over to the little coffee cart that had set up shop there and ordered a couple of hot chocolates to warm us up. We sat on one of the icy benches, huddled together, over our steaming cups of cocoa and people-watched.
There was what appeared to be a straight married couple on one of the benches in front of us. They sat on the same side of the bench, arms entwined; sharing their hot beverage.
They could have been newlyweds. They could have been married for 35 years and were planning to dance the funky chicken on their 85th wedding anniversary. But the love they felt for each other was evident in every gesture. Every word.
Nicole starred dreamily at them. “Do you think we’ll ever be like them?” she asked.
I looked over at the couple and couldn’t help but feel a pang of guilt run through me. I was immediately reminded of why I wanted to find a married girl; to avoid situations just like this. Apparently I was excellent at making the same mistakes over and over again.
I took a breath and answered the only way I could, with the truth. “I don’t know.”
I don’t know. I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know what relationships will work. I don’t know which relationships will not. I don’t know where I will be in 5 years, let alone in 4 months. I don’t know.
But I do know that that kind of love is worth pursuing.