ride with me

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He picked me up Six o’clock sharp.

I was extremely nervous to say the least, and found myself debating weather I was dressed well enough for whatever he had prepared for us. I wanted to look effortlessly good. I wanted him to see me and think immediately that he had made the right choice by taking me out on a date.

He smiled sweetly as he got out of his car and circled around it until he could wrapped his hands around me. “It’s good to see you” He said pulling away from my speeding heart. I swear he could hear my irregular heartbeat. “It’s cold…” I replied nervously trying to figure out what I should say in a situation that for many, many, many years I hadn’t been in. I had a jacket folded between my arms which made the comment totally absurd.

I think he sensed that I was nervous and was in unfamiliar territory and so he just gave me that mischievous smile that seems to stay in my memory even long after he is gone.

He leaned in to open the car door for me and I entered his car half wishing he hadn’t done that because immediately I found myself drawn to him more than I had expected. We drove away from my comfort zone and into a night with no expectations but with very high hopes.

We pulled up to his cousin’s house ( I know not a very typical first date but nothing about us is typical) and asked if I was nervous.  I assured him I wasn’t but my insides were screeching. I could feel the motor of my heart speeding- causing me to sweat despite the low temperature outside. He lead the way as I followed behind him telling myself that it was all going to be alright. To smile. To enjoy the moment and be myself.

A crowd gathered inside the living room all turning at once when the door flew open. I could feel their eyes fly from Peter to me like racing cars all coming to a sudden jolt when they saw who he was with. We had hit the brakes and there was no turning back.

Two hours later I had met his cousins, his aunts, uncles and siblings. I had also had a quick conversation with his mother and decided that it wasn’t that bad. It was like being at my family gatherings with everyone being loud and playful.

By the end of the night as people started to leave and only close family stayed behind I found out that this was not only new for me but for them too. According to them this was a first. Peter was also stepping in unfamiliar territory by bringing a guy over. They questioned us asking me how long we’d been dating and I uncomfortably replied that this was our first date. It was awkward of course but they all seemed to understand though the question remained in my mind- why had he brought me here?

The days that followed were great.

We saw each other again. We stayed in touch and made plans to meet the following weekend. I began to wonder if this was a route I wanted to take but decided that this was a situation that I did not want to sabotage. Not this time, not today, and not anytime soon. On our second date I asked him why he had taken me to his families that first night and he replied that he was curious to see how I would interact around such an uncomfortable situation. Given the fact that we’ve know each other for about eight years I figured it was “normal” for him to question that so I just nodded in agreement.  It all seemed fast, like racing cars trying to get to the finish line but I knew that somehow it was all right. I don’t know if this is normal: meeting the family before you even establish anything between each other? But again nothing about this feels normal. It all feels fucking great.

On our fourth date I realized what it was that was wrong.

Of course, life wouldn’t be life if there was no catch to it all and apparently life has hell of a sense of humor. Turns out that I was not the only one who found Peter attractive. Someone also did too- EJ.

Yes, my ex-boyfriend that left me for a much younger sexually active Nineteen year old. Peter explained that EJ had messaged him after our break up. That he had tried to meet up with him despite the fact that he was already with someone else and had recently broken up with me. Nothing happened and Peter was not interested but actions and messages were left behind like debris from a wreck.

It was difficult for me to hear but I thanked him for his honesty, though to tell you the truth nothing surprises me anymore and knowing this piece of information only validated that EJ and I were better left apart.

A couple dates later and with all past relationships out of the way he decided it was time to introduce me at his next family gathering as his boyfriend. It came to me as a huge surprise like everything else he does. I felt a car crashing on my heart as the words spilled from his lips like an uncontrollable drunk driver.

“Tia (aunt) this is my boyfriend German…” He would say as we made our way through the crowd. Again I found myself unable to stop the situation and decided to stop questioning and just enjoy the sweet ride.

Once back in the car he turned on to the highway and we made our way through the city he asked what he had already established to be true before properly asking me. “German, will you be my boyfriend?” his hand wrapped around mine with the rose tattoo that I love on his hand sweetly facing me.

I looked up at the road ahead shining bright by the headlights and decided that denying him would be like denying myself the privilege to live. Regardless of my situation of what could happen once he knows the truth I couldn’t deny myself the satisfaction of having someone there holding my hand in this bumpy ride we call life.

“Yes.” I turned back to look at him and he just gave me that mischievous smile that seems to stay in my memory even long after he is gone…

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