We were driving back toward the parking lot where we had left my car, six hours earlier. “This is the date that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends…” sung to the tune of “The Song That Never Ends” was on a loop in my mind. (And now it’s stuck in yours too, you’re welcome.) Was this date ever going to end? Why had I agreed to get in her car after lunch? I should have offered to follow, so I could escape. Could I dive from the car with only minor injuries? Would I ever see my dog-ter again?
“Oh! I want to show you one more thing!” Tina exclaimed.
Please don’t. I thought. “I really should be getting back—“ I started.
“It’ll be super fast—I promise!” she said as she turned right onto a dirt road.
Tina had been a keynote speaker at a conference that I had attended for work. She was a dynamic and captivating speaker who immediately caught my attention. At one point during her address we had locked eyes, and when she smiled at me mid-sentence, I blushed. And then to my surprise, she sat in on the workshop I was presenting. On her evaluation form, she left her phone number and a message “You should use this, sometime soon.”
While this sounds super cute—I had to turn in those evaluations to my supervisor, which was embarrassing. Before I did that though, I did copy her number down. I called Tina the next day and she answered but quickly asked me to text, explaining she couldn’t talk then. We texted back and forth for a few days with pauses only to sleep and work. Then Tina, asked if she could take me to lunch that Saturday. I agreed with excitement.
We met for lunch in her hometown, which was a 30-40 minute drive for me. Lunch was normal enough, the typical first date get to know you questions and nervous replies. After lunch she suggested going to a trail she loved, for a walk. It was a beautiful day and I thought, “Why not!?” She offered to drive us both and I didn’t think anything of it. Once there we walked a short loop trail, before sitting on a bench to talk more. Tina shared a lot of very personal stories—more than I was used to someone sharing on a first date. I justified that this just meant she was an open person, and that was a good quality, right? Soon, it began to feel like it was less of a date and more of a therapy session.
In mid-sentence, Tina interrupted herself, “I want ice cream! Do you want ice cream?”
“Uhh, sure I could go for some ice cream.” I replied.
She grabbed my hand and we started running to her car. Tina was giggling as she ran across the parking lot. I was winded and forcing nervous laughter in response. Once in her car, she took the “scenic route” to an ice cream shop. Along the drive she pointed out places she used to go to in high school and regaled in other memories from her past. One apartment complex we drove by brought up some intense memories and she began crying as she tried to finish a story. I looked at the time, it was 3:30pm. She asked for a Kleenex out of her glove box, I grabbed one. And just like that she was laughing at herself and apologizing for getting emotional. I reassured her that it was okay. Internally, I wondered if it really was okay.
We got ice cream and ate it mostly in silence. I started to feel less nervous. Maybe she was nervous and that’s why she was oversharing and overeager. As I took my last bite of ice cream, she asked, “Do you know what we should do now!?” through a huge Cheshire cat-like smile. I shook my head no, because if I had opened my mouth, “TAKE ME BACK TO MY CAR SO I CAN GO HOME, BECAUSE YOU ARE TOO MUCH!” would have leaked out.
“It’s going to be a surprise!” She exclaimed.
“Yay.” I said, flatly.
We got back into her car. I looked at the clock, it was 4:30pm. How much longer could this date go on for? When did it go from date to kidnapping? “Hey, Tina?” I asked.
“Yeah, babe!?” She replied.
Babe?! Did she just call me babe? I know this date had been a long one, but it was still the first one. Were we at the point of pet names already!? “I should really be getting back to my car. It’s a 40 minute drive home for me and my dog has—“
“You want to end our time together so soon?” She asked in a hurt tone.
“Well, it’s not that, exactly. I just wasn’t expecting this date to be so long, I guess?” I offered.
“It’s okay, I understand. Can I show you one more thing? It’s on our way back!” She said.
Before I could answer she started the car and pulled out of the lot. I guess I was going to be shown this one last thing, whether I wanted to or not. Ten minutes later and lots of weaving through dirt roads, she pulled into a dirt lot in front of a wooded area. So, this was it. She was going to kill me and hide my body. I really should have said no to the post-lunch walk. I don’t think I can outrun her, she definitely has more energy than I do and seems to be in better shape. I hope it’s a painless death.
She grabbed my hand and guided me to a narrow trail. After a few minutes of walking in silence and me contemplating my inevitable death by murder, Tina stopped and grabbed my other hand. Here we go. “Isn’t this beautifullllllll.” She sung, looking up at the trees. I looked up. She was right. The light cutting through the leaves was remarkable. We walked for a mile with the sound of Tina oversharing, accompanying us. After quite some time I could see the trailhead and Tina’s car. Maybe she wasn’t going to kill me, after all!
Back in the car, she thanked me for a wonderful day and agreed to get me back to my car. I looked at the clock, it was 6pm. Then right as I thought we were getting close to my car, she wanted to show me one more thing. As she turned, her phone rang.
“Hello?” She said. “BILLY!? Who’s phone are you calling from…..Gary’s….I left my phone in my car, babe. I was not ignoring you….with a friend….who? Jessie, I’m with Jessie. Yeah, I’m taking her back to her car now…..I’ll call you back in 10.” She put her phone back in the cup holder.
“You know my name is Jay, right? And who’s Billy?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
“I know. Billy is….my boyfriend.” She answered sheepishly.
I was in shock. She had basically told me her entire life story and taken me on 5 dates in one and yet had somehow forgotten to mention she was in a relationship!? And she apparently had also forgotten to tell Billy she was going on a date today. We pulled into the parking lot and I got out of the car like it was on fire. She yelled for me to wait. Then, she got out of the car and came around to me and tried to kiss me!
“Heyyyyyah, you’ve got a boyfriend. I don’t kiss women in relationships.” I said, backing away.
“Okay, well I’m breaking up with Billy, so I’ll call you?” She said.
I turned without saying a word, but mouthed “WOWWWWW!” as I walked back to my car.
She did call, that night. I didn’t answer.
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