We ended up at a diner at 4 A.M., convulsed in laughter and not even because we were drunk. It was 5 A.M. when we caught a cab back uptown, and between the cake and the company I was ready for the kiss. Open body language, the artful tilt of the head, city block after city block—nothing. That Morty may not have been choosy about his blind dates, but he knew what he was doing.
The next day I got an e-mail wishing me a happy birthday, and a phone call later to say it in person. On Monday he e-mailed to make a plan:
My mom's been busy on my behalf—I’m seeing Shlomo Feingold tonight and Seymour Hirschenbaum tomorrow.
A hundred bucks says Shlomo and Seymour don't get in a combined twenty-five words of conversation.
I was no longer drunk, and Morty was still funny. A good sign! My heart did that little flip again. Or maybe it was my stomach—Morty had fed me well.
I consider it emblematic of our relationship that on our second date we saw Dude, Where's My Car? We were giggling as we left the theatre, still high on dumb humor and sitting next to each other in the dark for ninety minutes. I seriously almost grabbed him right there, but we had the good manners to wait until we got to a bar. Is there anything better than the googly-eyed look on someone's face just before they kiss you for the first time? I can still remember. Champagne and butterflies. There's nothing better.
I feel a little guilty leading you on like this since I know how it ended, namely three-and-a-half months later with me whipping a beanie baby across his apartment. (Drama!) And even though I know it's for the best, we're better as friends, etc., etc., etc., it does make me sort of sad as I relive it in my head, and now on paper. My mom was so proud of herself. As she should have been—she had set me up with a terrific, terrific guy, however inadvertently. But "terrific" doesn't necessarily mean "right"—and when it's not right, it has to end at some point. So, on we go.