Less than two months after I started corresponding with Frank, the Navy pilot I met through eHarmony, I volunteered to fly 3,000 miles, from New Jersey to Washington, so we could meet face-to-face. (You can read more in Part 1!)
“I should have been the one to invite you!” he moaned, which proved how little he knew me. He was the first person I met on eHarmony, and I had been the one to reach out. My middle name might as well be Sadie Hawkins.
Frank and I were communicating endlessly by that point, and I couldn’t bear the suspense any longer. We made plans to meet in Seattle, where we’d spend a night (“IN SEPARATE ROOMS,” I clarified repeatedly) and do some sightseeing, before heading north, closer to base, where I’d spend another two nights, he at home, me in a hotel. He hinted at a few surprises while I shopped for clothes and got my hair cut, both of us more excited as each day passed.
The weirdest part about the whole thing was that no one told me not to go. Not my parents, my siblings or my closest friends. Was I that stubborn? That in need of adventure? It was as if I’d been single for years instead of months; the ink was still wet on my divorce paperwork and I hadn’t been on the market in over ten years, yet I felt ready.
The flight to Seattle went smoothly, unlike picking up my rental car. I was delayed two hours, and wound up with the only thing they had left: A giant red minivan.
“I got this,” I told myself as I drove into a city I’d visited only once before. “No big deal. Just driving a MINIVAN into downtown Seattle by myself, about to meet my soul mate.”
“Is there any chance I can check in early?” I asked the front desk once I arrived at my hotel. My Pre-Soul Mate Meeting Plan definitely included a shower and change of clothes.
“No, I’m sorry,” the receptionist replied.
I went outside, suddenly feeling panicky, and texted my best friend.
“YOU GO IN THERE AND TELL THEM YOUR SITUATION,” she fired back. I obeyed, stomach in knots.
“I’m sorry,” the receptionist said, unmoved by my romantic tale. “There’s nothing I can do. But I can give you a free parking pass.”
I wound up changing in the main bathroom, right before Frank arrived, two hours early. It looked like I’d be making my grand entrance in the lobby, a la Kate Winslet on the stairs of the Titanic.
But somehow he had been able to check in (must’ve been the Southern charm of a native Tennessean).
“I can come down or you could meet me up here,” he said, from the shroud of his room.
“I’ll come to you,” I replied, taking a deep breath and heading to the third floor, eager to avoid an audience.
Moments later, I knocked on his door and he swung it open, looking as nervous as I felt. I had worn my black wedge heels, striped cotton dress and yellow cardigan from Old Navy because I knew he liked them, but now was cursing my decision. I felt huge, standing nearly six feet tall, and probably not much lighter than him, though I’d finally hit my goal weight that month. In heels, we were almost the same height, blue eyes anxiously meeting blue eyes.
We awkwardly embraced. Oh no. Oh no. This isn’t how I expected this to go. Will we really click? Was this a mistake? Does he really like me? Does he still think I’m pretty?
We walked the short distance to the Space Needle, struggling for conversation. The March weather was mild compared to temperatures back home, but I shivered anyway. I relied on the people skills I’d honed through my work as a project manager, trying to keep uncomfortable silences at bay. Once atop the Needle, Frank pointed out various landmarks, his command of the territory impressive. He must be used to seeing it from up here, I thought.
I listened to the slow, calm way he spoke, as if this kind of conversation could go on for hours with nothing more pressing to get in the way. A vast contrast to the animated, hyper speed I was used to, having grown up a breath away from New York City. I nodded and pretended to listen, while my head and heart and breath continued their intrinsic rhythm: Go-go-go.
Eventually, as we toured Pike Place Market, accepting the samples of exotic fruits and vegetables offered to us, he took my hand.
Oh thank god. Relief flooded my body. He likes me!
We shared a candlelit dinner followed by drinks at one of a million hipster bars in the city, where we both finally started to relax. We sat knee to knee in a cozy red booth, staring into each other’s eyes while he occasionally murmured compliments in my ear. I flushed from head to toe. My experience with romance up until then had been young and sweet and tongue in cheek, then familiar, comfortable and tongue in cheek.
I had never been so earnestly wooed.
It was working.
Next up: eHopeful Part 3: High Altitude! (Don’t worry. I’ll wrap this shiz up in Part 4.)
57 thoughts on “eHopeful Part 2: We Have Lift-off”
Sound okay so far. Looking forward to part 3.
“So far”…(*cue suspense music*)
Having the face covered is not a good sign
So fun! I want more more more – go, go, go!
Thanks! Wait. …Crap. I still have to write two more of these, don’t I?
Wonderful writing. Finger crossed for you.
Thanks so much, Tony! You might want to cross some toes, too…
OMG, I am on the edge of my seat! I want to hear more! So far, so good!
Okay, that’s a relief, because I seem to have locked myself into two more parts here… 😉 Thank you!!
Okay, come on, let’s go! Lol.
Can you believe the word count on part 2 alone was 1,000!?
That’s so exciting!
It really, really was. Thanks for reading! 🙂
You’d think people in Seattle would consider that minivan hip in an ironic loser-cruiser type way.
And I can’t wait to find out if someone at Pike place threw that ugly fish at Frank or not!
Ha! I wonder if I can get away with saying the same for my white jeans and red raincoat…
They actually did have a guy who would pop that scary-ass fish out at you when you walked by!
I can’t wait!! Part 3 and 4 today!!
I need that minivan back so my ego and I can both go places together! Thank you!
I’m loving this tale! 4 parts you say? Ok then, I accept that.
Ya’ll are too good to me. I’d better be careful or my next saga will need a Clif’s Notes version!
Awww… I love this. It makes me want to start dating again. Except for the whole “Freaking out inwardly while trying to look cool and composed on the outside.” I kind of suck at that part…
Right? All a girl needs is a little vodka, denial and Xanax to survive the dating pool!
So pleased it’s a good result (so far)…
You’re the third ‘…so far…’! It’s like maybe you guys think this doesn’t have a magical ending and in fact ends with embarrassment and tears and a broken heart or something!!! ha ha ha! As if THAT would ever happen! Ha ha…ha.
Nope, I’m in for a good ending/beginning… (said the chap happily married after such an encounter!)
Ooo, I love it! You’ve really sucked me in! (That’s what she said?). Frank looks kinda hot judging by his chin and hairline, plus he’s a pilot (bonus)!
I really hated having to cover up Frank’s real smile with a fake one. I’m a sucker for good teeth. (You should see my collection!)
I can not wait till the next part…sounds wonderful and fun…enjoy…
Thank you so much! Parts 2 and 3 were definitely wonderful and fun (oooh I’m such a tease)…! 😉
yes you are…so not fair lol
Waiting with bated breath….
ME TOO! Will you write parts 3 and 4 for me? Please??
Well, you deserve a great guy, so just enjoy it!
Good gravy, we have to wait even longer to hear the conclusion of eHopeful?!?! The suspense is killing me and I can’t wait for the big this-is-only-something-that-could-happen-when-you-date-online reveal because so far, it seems far too normal. Even with flying across the country for your first date.
I know, I know… Frank unceremoniously told you that he was in love with that scary looking fish and he wanted to pursue an interspecies relationship without fear of your rejection?
Ha! How did you guess?! And shame on me. I KNEW something smelled fishy…
We’ll, personally, I think red minivans are super sexy. And if he didn’t think so, then he’s obviously not a keeper. 😉
Right? I’m all, “Jet or red minivan?” and he’s all, “Ummm” and I was all, “Whaaa? This will NEVER work!”
Did you have fun though 🙂
Well I DID have the best bacon I’ve ever eaten, so no matter what? WORTH IT.
This is tough to read. Part of me is rooting for you to find true love and live happily ever after, but part of me knows that goofy dating-gone-wrong stuff is blog gold.
Oh, Dave. There’s a reason I’m back. I’m sitting on a f%&% goldmine.
Keep stringing us along, we cant seem to get enough of this. It’s like a romance novel where we kind of actually know one of the characters.
Oh, this is different. I thought I was just seeing the first installment again in my Reader, because I have trouble with basic numbers.
I am not getting a fab feeling about this guy for some reason, although he SOUNDS great on the surface. Better stay tuned.
You would think we’d be a perfect match since I’m better in print, too. (Oh I’ve missed you. You get my sassiest responses because I know you’ll appreciate them.)
Can’t wait to read parts 3 & 4! This series has me hooked!
Aw shucks – that’s awesome to hear! Thank you!! 🙂
Ahhhhh…!! (And nooo, that’s totally not me, screaming from Part 4…)
You are a brave woman. I don’t mean going to meet this man you only know through conversations, but to drive a minivan. You’re my hero…sort of. 😉
Forget Frank – that minivan was a game changer.
I hear you. I once drove a minivan. I had to go to therapy to get over the trauma of those self opening sliding doors. They’re plain creepy in an awesome kind of way.
Being tall AND blonde is NEVER a bad thing. Your outfit is perfect.
This is intense. I almost don’t want to read parts 3 through 17.
Oh, but you do. Parts 4-16 are dedicated to what accessories I chose!
Ok, I thought there was only 2 parts. I’ll come back!