It was already dark by the time I circled the parking lot at the restaurant.
I was two hours late and I still had to change into my formal gown. I was afraid to go into the restaurant to put it on in case my date should see me before I was ready to see him.
I hoped to find a fast-food restaurant or a gas station nearby to change, but instead I drove past office building after office building with no luck.
Time was running out. With a deep sigh- what a long day it had been- I pulled into a dark parking lot and drove to the farthest corner I could find.
"Any Hobos out there?" I wondered. "Enjoy the show."
It went against at least 95% of my upbringing and training to strip in my car in a parking lot, but I decided to follow the 5% that told me not to stand up a date and suck it up and do it anyway.
By the way, formal gowns were not meant to be gotten into easily. There wasn't much room in my tiny, two door car, but I decided to make the best of it. My elbows kept slamming up against the windows, I kept tripping over the dress and body parts got free that I usually keep carefully contained. It was a sorry mess, but I go the dress on.
My cousin had done my hair at about 7AM that morning and suffice it to say, it wasn't looking so hot by 7PM.
So by the time I changed and finally found a parking spot half a mile away from the restaurant, I walked in with sore feet, sickly hair, and a formal dress that needed all the bows in the back retied....I wasn't feeling so glamorous.
My friends saw me,
"Oh Good! You're finally here. Your date is waiting for you!"
They helped me re-tie the bows in the back of my dress.
I did what I could to my hair in the bathroom at the restaurant.
Then, with my friends helping me, I walked to our table, where I met a polite, dark-haired young man who had a corsage for me. He pulled my chair out for me.
I sat at the table, still feeling jittery from the ordeal of just getting there, and took a deep breath.
He said, "Hi. I'm Anthony. It's nice to finally meet you."
"I'm Sandy." I said.
I don't really remember everything we talked about...just that in a whirwind of anxiety...I felt calm around him.
He didn't seem to notice that my hair was disheveled or my dress was rumpled or the slightly frantic look in my eyes.
Later, we drove in my car back together and he noticed we were out of gas. We stopped at a gas station that was almost closed. He took care of everything. He convinced the workers to keep the station open for one more car, he paid the scary homeless people some money so they would go away, and he paid for and pumped my gas for me.
As I sat in the car, feeling very much like a lady, very much taken care of, not anything like the jittery girl who had taken off all her clothes in the very same car only a few hours before- I thought, much to my own surprise, "If you want me, Anthony Hughes, I'm yours."
We were married about 3 years later.
We've been married now for almost 6 years.
I can't believe it's been almost 9 years since that night. Since the night I met my Anthony.