Botanic Gardens, Two Bottles of Wine, and a First Date

This is on my brother's fridge. Apropos for my Saturday night.

As I sit on my couch and recount this tale, I will say this is a warning. Do NOT do this on a first date. I am a trained professional at making an ass of myself. With Gershwin and a cup of coffee I will retell my tale of laughter and accidental drunkeness with Hollywood (you know I don’t give names!).

“So…um…would you like to go out on a date with me sometime?”

It was just so endearing. He did the adult version of kicking the dirt with his feet. How could I possibly say no? I had been coming into the store where Hollywood worked for weeks in a row. I never really lead on that I thought he was handsome but perhaps it was stopping to have extended conversations with him that did it. Or maybe it was my comment in this particular meeting that I’m a pagan and well…I’m going on a camping trip and we get a bit crazy with Dionysus. Who knows? Either way, he got the balls up to ask.

This past Saturday night we met on the playing field of the first date. A Denver Botanic Gardens membership, bottle of red, bottle of white, a pack of smokes, and two strangers that have an attraction. GAME ON!

Many events happen at the Gardens on a summer Saturday night such as weddings, charity events, anniversary parties, you get the gist. I show up on my bike and am waiting only a few minutes when I see Hollywood. He navigates through the throng of wedding attendants, regular patrons and random passers-by to my perch on the bike rack wall. He hides the bottle of red I brought in his backpack. We make our way into the Gardens with the contraband wine, walk around a bit while he tells a tale of his grandfather (he invented Spring Break…hilarious!), and as it starts to rain on our 2 person parade, we find a cozy little spot that hides us in a bunch of pine trees.

Hollywood takes out the chilled bottle of white. A Gewürztraminer from the Willamette Valley in Oregon! Brownie points for him! Then 2 wine glasses follow. Actual glass. More brownie points for style. Good wine, interesting conversation, out in nature, and then he asks if I mind if he smokes. I only mind if you don’t give me one. Talk about bad kids breaking the rules! Bottle number one is down for the count and we start on bottle number two but not without an intermission, aka a potty break. Since we’re so far back in the Gardens, we have no clue where the nearest bathroom is so we do a little bushwacking to where Cheeseman Park butts up to the property line. I pop a squat and he’s looking at me, “AHEM! Be a gentleman and turn around!”. I think he was so stunned that I didn’t say we should try to find the bathrooms he forgot all his manners. Of course, that really didn’t matter to me. His job was to watch for any pedestrians coming our way, not watch me.

As the deed is done, we hear people coming our way so I do what I’ve been taught to do in the movies…pretend you’re making out to serve as a distraction and cover up. What can I say? It does actually work. Silly Americans and your adversity to public displays of affection.

We decide to walk the Gardens a bit more (flip flops off which was so nice to do) and end up, again, at the back in the Japanese  section on a very long bench. We continue drinking the red wine, having a wonderful conversation, feeling the moist earth under our feet as night time falls on us. The Gardens are becoming more quite as the Christmas lights in the trees become brighter. I love the Gardens at night. It makes me want to put my fairy wings on and go running around and climbing trees. I’m not really sure how it happened, but he kissed me. It started out as one of those passionately tender kisses, the kind that make you melt and rile up all those butterflies in your stomach. Then it became the kind of kiss that grabs you in the primal parts of your body and soul and nothing else exists except the two of you. I was aware that a few people started to walk the path where we were, then an ‘Oh!’ was heard and the steps went away.

I have no clue how long we were there kissing. It had been such a long time since I had felt such overwhelming passion and lust from just kissing, I didn’t care who saw us. Except when you realize there’s a flashlight on you and a guy saying, “The Gardens are closing. Make your way to the gate, please.”

Seriously, I felt like we were two teenagers making out minus the embarrassment of getting caught.

We make our way towards the main gate with a detour to the bathrooms. On the way, we walk through what looks like a separate event from the wedding that happened earlier. After our potty break, Hollywood gets the slim idea of seeing if they’d give us some wine. Man after my own heart….they give us two PINT glasses filled with white wine! Whoa! Hey, what’s over there? A big tent with soft lights on the lawn…perfect for dancing under. So of course we set the wine down and try our hand at the waltz. I’m laughing my ass off because we’re totally not doing the waltz (I’ve had dope training in waltz, foxtrot, and salsa), there’s no music, and we’re barefoot in the grass. As we’re laughing and dancing, the SAME GUY comes by and says EXACTLY the same thing. He’s apparently very into his job.

We finally make it to the main gate. My wine had taken a spill in the grass so my cup had maybe 3oz in it. Hollywood had about half a cup left. We drained our cups and made our way out onto the street. It was a beautiful night so we sat on the wall by my bike for a bit. We had started this date at 6pm and it was quite late now especially since we both had to work the next day. We started kissing again and the world went away. And then suddenly it came crashing back as we both tumbled about 2 feet off the wall into some pretty tough long grass. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t find my sunglasses! He helped me up, then bent over the wall and like magic they were in his hands. I decided that some water might be a good idea even though I was feeling pretty good, just a little dehydrated. I took a big sip. We kept kissing.

And it happened.

In no more than 2 minutes did my stomach protest the ingestion of something besides wine. The world started to spin and I said, “I don’t think the wine is mixing with the water very well…” and my brain said to my conscience, “Hey, I think we forgot to eat dinner before this date…” Whoops.

New guideline for living: Eat dinner before you meet a date for drinks. Yakking not fun on a first date.

Old guideline re-instated: Do not mix your drinks, i.e. white wine, then red wine, then champagne, then 2 shots of vodka…you get the idea. That was on a night about 4.5 years ago. Stick to what you start with.

We ended up laying down by the bike rack together, hidden from the sidewalk and road by a row of plants and a 2 foot wall. My head was on his chest, I could hear his heartbeat and feel him breathe. I love that. It’s just so relaxing for me to hear a heartbeat with the warmth of a chest under my cheek. Little to our knowledge, the Moonlight Ride was happening on the other side of the wall. We heard bells and peaked up over our man-made fox hole. Hundreds of bikers, young and old, passing by us and going into the parking garage. Great. I am Teresa’s sense of “Oh Shite, I hope no one recognizes me”.

Apparently Hollywood had dinner along with a better tolerance to wine (the tannins get me every freaking time) so he loaded up my bike in his car and drove me the 8 blocks home. Those were the 8 longest blocks in history. For all the fun it was, I was sure that this was going to be the first and last date. I fortified my senses, ready for the blow of “Yeah, I’ll call you later this week…” Translation: I am so totally not calling you ever again. Hollywood pulls up in front of my building, pulls my bike out, kisses me good night and asks if I would want to go on another date. What? For real?

Tonight: The Second Date

Wish me luck. We’re going for sushi.

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