She tried not to be excited about this one…but she was.
Cassandra was browsing profiles on a dating site when a message came in. Oh! She covered her small smile with one hand as she gazed at the man’s face on her computer screen. His profile title simply read, “Hello there. I’m Greg.”
She liked his direct approach. Hers, too, wasn’t anything too flashy, but she liked to think it was clever: Do you like piña coladas?
Sure, she’d gotten it from the song, but she did actually like piña coladas.
Greg smiled out at her from the screen like he could see her face and meant that smile just for her. That was silly, of course. Wasn’t it?
“Hello,” Greg’s greeting read, “You have lovely eyes—my favorite shade of blue. I’d love to know your name.”
Her eyes were a soft, smoky blue. He had sparkly, crisp blue eyes framed by handsome laugh lines that gave the impression he was a happy person, always ready to laugh. She liked his strong jaw and salt and pepper hair. It said he was fifty-five although his face looked much younger.
She started to answer but pulled her fingers back from the keyboard, smiling and reveling in the feeling.
She’d been on a few first dates now. They weren’t those horrible dates you read and hear about. Maybe those were in the movies and not real life? Her first dates had been enjoyable and filled with pleasant conversation. She just hadn’t felt any sparks with any of those men, even if she did like the time they spent together over dinner or lunch. One had led to a second date, but that one too fizzled out then.
Cassandra hadn’t been disappointed because she hadn’t gone into them with high expectations. Her goal was to enjoy the date and then see if anything came of it. Why set yourself up for a disappointment when you could go into it with a positive attitude and mind?
Anyway, this time, she wasn’t buying all that. This time, looking at this man’s photo and reading his short message, her heart seemed to flip and a smile fought its way onto her face. Okay, time to answer.
“Hi Greg, my name is Cassandra. You have very nice eyes yourself. I’ve found myself looking at your picture for several moments now.”
Her finger hovered over the enter key for another minute, and then withheld breath, she hit it. The message was off.
Was that too flirty? She felt so new at this despite her age! Just imagine, her, at age forty-nine, and stepping into the online dating world. She giggled, feeling very young again.
A message popped up. He had answered!
“Cassandra, it’s so very nice to meet you. Or, e-meet you, I guess. Isn’t this grand? The last time I was dating, we didn’t have the internet or all these fun ways to connect. And thank you very much for the compliment. You’ve put a big smile on my face.”
Oh, he had a way with words. She smiled as she typed a response, and then ten minutes later she realized they’d naturally fallen into a conversation. They both had several grown children, liked to play tennis, had traveled to France and wanted to travel by train. He had some other interesting hobbies as well.
“You are so easy to talk to!” she told him.
“You are, too. I can’t believe how nice this is. Do you enjoy walks in the park?” he asked, and she pictured them walking by the pond with a light breeze ruffling her hair.
“Yes, I do.”
“How about we meet tomorrow?”
It sounded lovely -- and it made her nervous for a second. But, it was fun to feel her nerves jingle. This was exciting!
They talked more that day and some the next morning. It wasn’t exactly nervousness she felt, she realized, but something more enjoyable. She counted down the hours and changed her outfits several times.
She’d been married for twenty-three years, and dating again took some effort. First, she had to get over her divorce. At her age, she had thought that possibility had long passed. But they had grown apart, and he met someone else...and she realized she only needed him as a habit and something familiar. So they’d parted on fairly amicable terms. Sure, she’d been hurt at first, and felt betrayed, but they were hardly more than roommates.
The truth was, she wanted more too. So after a year, she had tried online dating.
And there he was, striding toward her with a wide grin on his handsome face, his eyes glowing, and a big boutique of flowers in his hand. There was a big dusty-pink-orange rose in the middle surrounded by other colorful wildflowers. He wore a soft gray blazer and black slacks. He’d dressed up too, and the sight of him had her pulling in her breath in appreciation.
“Cassandra!” He stepped close and offered a one-armed hug while giving her the flowers.
She, of course, brought them to her nose to inhale the sweet and woodsy scent. “Thank you, and nice to meet you in the real world, Greg.”
“Likewise. You’re a vision of delight.”
They smiled at each other, almost as if they were both at a loss for words, and then she laughed. It's been a very long time since she felt this alive.
“Forgive me for staring.” He took a half step back and held out her hand. She took him and they began walking slowly along the waterfront. Birds chirped, mixing with the laughter of a group of children and a few conversations caught in the breeze. It was just like she had imagined, only better. He snuck looks at her while she tried not to smile too widely at him.
“I didn’t think I’d be out in the dating world again, but it’s not what I expected at all. I thought it’d be a miserable experience.”
She laughed. “Me too. But so far, I’ve found people are friendly...and meeting you...” She wasn’t sure how to find the words.
“That’s what I was thinking, what I see in your eyes and expression.” He looked down in a sudden show of meekness. “If that’s not too forward.”
She shook her head.
“No, it’s not. Not at our age!”
They’d somehow stopped and were facing each other, and when he looked into her eyes, she knew he’d kiss her. She didn’t know it would feel so amazing when his lips lightly touched hers, or how her entire body would light up with warmth.
Could it be at that easy?
She blinked and look up at him again. There were no doubts or worries. She simply wanted to keep holding his hand and looking into his eyes and enjoy this ride together.