There is nothing like the excitement of reconnecting with an old acquaintance. I woke up the next day, from the awful night in Miami, anxious to meet up with Ambitious Adam in Washington D.C. I couldn’t quit pinpoint how I even met him, which was six years prior, but I do remember we had great rapport. We also shared a love for soccer. In my former life, before the Cali sun got to my head, I was actively involved with the East Coast Arab scene. Which entailed, political engagements and frequent dinner parties that put any honky-tonk in Ohio to shame.
My mother was as equally excited for my airport coffee meet up.
“He comes from a good family and has a good career, I like him. Don’t mess this one up,” she warned.
Don’t mess what up? I’m just meeting up for coffee! This isn’t a speed date to engagement.
“Mom, don’t start planning the color scheme, its just coffee. I am really hoping I have time to head over to Georgetown cupcakes.”
“You don’t have time to just meet up for coffee and cupcakes. He comes from a respectable family so he’ll treat you well. You have to hook him,” my mother said while she continued to outline his husband-potential profile, which is entirely based off his resume and social status.
Hook him? Where am I going, fishing or to the airport? I don’t even think about him that way. Of course, I couldn’t relay that to my mother who apparently believed that being 27 years old and unwed was worrisome.
My own feelings regarding marriage and the dating process had been mixed. As of recently, I began to shed old thought patterns and preconceived notions from societal expectations. Prior to living on my own and experiencing what dating is like, on the West Coast, I had tunnel vision. Dating in Ohio was mechanical. I had a checklist and if the contender didn’t meet the criteria, I was onto the next. On the flip side, I had never imagined being in my late twenties and still trying to figure it all out.
After the phone call with mama, I turned off my phone and cozied up for the flight from Miami to Washington D.C. I drifted off into a peaceful nap of cupcake clouds and sprinkled rainbows.
As I exited the terminal gate, a feeling of nervousness began to flow through me. I haven’t seen him in years, I wondered if he’s still the same laid back, witty guy who would sneak out of a fundraiser with me, to hit up the local burger joint. I hope he wasn’t reading into this spontaneous trip, like my generational mother was. Lost in my thoughts to the point of being dazed and confused, I walked right past him and didn’t even notice.
“Hey! G-Money, wait up!” I heard a man call out.
Nobody has called me G-Money since I was a soccer player in high school.
I turned around and was met with Adam’s chest. I stumbled back a little, startled by his growth spurt. “Were you always this tall?” I asked tilting my head back. “Oh, hey! You even grew into your eyes!”
“Well you’re looking a little too thin, and your hair could use a comb through, but that would be too forward of me to say,” Adam replied and embraced me in a bear hug.
Yup, he has the same sharp tongue and a new lean, athletic body to match. His face aged a little too well over the years and a mid day scruff was already shadowing his chin. His rugged maturity added to his appeal.
“No seriously, what happened? You grew like 5 inches,” I said.
“No, you just aren’t in 5 inch heels towering over the world.”
He had a point. My fashion sense had drastically improved over the years.
He took the opportunity to place his hand on my upper arm, a few inches above my elbow and lead me through the crowd. The small gesture was protective but left me slightly on the defense.
He sped up the pace and led me outside to the curb, where a town car was waiting. “Oh, are we leaving the airport? Where are we going? I have my connection in a few hours,” I said. I was hesitant on going any further.
“Yeah, I made reservations for dinner. My mother is waiting for us,” Adam said casually and took my purse from my hand to place in the car.
“Your mother? What?” I started having heart palpitations.
“Relax, she came to town with me and I couldn’t just leave her at the hotel alone. Its just dinner, nothing serious. Come on, we’ll hit traffic if we don’t hurry.”
Suddenly, my mother’s voice was in my head. Everything she had ever conditioned me to think was being replayed. I started worrying whether or not my attire was appropriate and if the hair comment Adam made, minutes earlier, was stemming from the urgent need to get a blow out.
“Adam, I feel really weird about this. I thought we were just meeting up for coffee and I was hopeful on a cupcake run. But I am dressed too casual to meet your mom,” I said while looking down at my plaid shirt, skinny jeans and ankle boots. After a couple of testing breaths, I crossed my arms over my chest, hoping for mercy.
“There’s nothing formal about this. You could have done without the hay day look but its just dinner with my mom. Come on,” Adam stood beside me and without skipping a beat, snapped his fingers before saying, “In! Come on, get in the car, now.”
Adam was like the agitated parent and I was the child being scolded for having a tantrum.
“Ew, when did you get so mean? What happened to the nice, dork-ish guy with the bulging eyes?” I scooted a few inches away from him as soon as my thigh unintentionally brushed up against his.
“He’s gone. Along with the pretentious princess with the high pitch laugh, from years back,” he winked and rested his arm on the back my seat.
“I was not pretentious!”
“You ate your burrito with a fork and knife because you didn’t want to dirty your hands in public.”
“That’s not being pretentious, that’s called having etiquette. Unlike you, I was not raised in a barn.” Feeling satisfied with my come back, I nestled back into the chair.
“Said the person wearing plaid.” Adam grinned at me and smirked. His left dimple came out for an appearance.
Out the window, the sun was beginning to set. The plush greenery was a stark contrast to the concrete jungle I became accustomed to in Los Angeles. The trees were skyscraper tall and the grass looked crisp, a tease for me to kick off my boots and melt into the field, barefoot.
I turned my gaze to Adam, “So where we going for dinner?” I asked, ignoring the fact he was staring at my hands.
“To Filomena in Georgetown.”
“Hm, sounds familiar but I don’t think I’ve been.”
“It should sound familiar.”
“Why?” I snarked.
Adam gave me a stern look, “because that’s where you stood me up.”
The memory of how I met Adam suddenly came back to me. Even though it felt like a lifetime ago, the remembrance still stung. After a few months of my failed engagement, my friend invited me to her birthday party. I flew in for the weekend in hopes of a change of scenery to mend my heartache. She introduced me to Adam and I enjoyed getting to know him, over the course of my stay. Consequently, each time I came back to visit her, I would invite Adam to come out with us. In my mind, I was just hanging out with my girlfriend and Adam. I liked the three-musketeer bond we had created. One evening, my friend decided she wanted to go home with a guy she had met and I was left with Adam. We walked back to her apartment and Adam leaned in to kiss me. I was mortified and felt insulted he would make such a bold and uninvited move and jeopardize our friendship. I pulled away and gasped, before briskly walking into her apartment and slamming the door in his face.
I was so callous and un-compassionate to him.
I placed my hand over Adam’s, looked him straight in the eyes and said, “I am so sorry. I was cruel and you did not deserve to be treated that way.” I lightly squeezed his hand and continued, “Trust me when I say, if it’s any consolation, karma got me back. Took a few years, as I got hit with it this year. But, I got what I deserved and ironically it also involved a lawyer.”
“Sounds like we have a lot to catch up on,” Adam’s shoulders relaxed and he broke the gaze.
“Why did you agree to meet up with me, then? I forgot about all of that, to be honest. But, if I hurt you so bad, why’d you answer my text?” My heart was racing rapidly. I was afraid to hear what he had to say.
“I don’t know,” Adam gave me a considering look and said, “I guess, because I was curious to see if you’ve changed.”
I nodded slowly.
“And you definitely have.”
Stay tuned for next week!