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Valentine's Day, 2002
February 14th was right around the corner. I felt as though I had no real romantic prospect in sight. Sure, Amy and I had developed a close friendship, but it was still strictly platonic in nature.
So, we agreed that if we couldn't find a "real" date, we were each other's back-up plan. After all, who wants to stay at home on Valentine's Day?
Unbeknownst to me, Amy was in her apartment, trying nearly everything on in her closet, surprised by the butterflies in her stomach.
She couldn't figure it out. She asked her roommate to help her get a handle on her feelings.
"Adam's a nice guy and everything. I love spending time with him, but he's just not my type. But for some reason, I want to look good for him tonight."
"Maybe there is something there after all," her roommate Amy Gossett offered.
"I don't know," she replied. "Well, this is weird."
By the time I arrived at her apartment's front door, she had rejected some red top which she called a "shell" in favor of a purple button-down shirt, black pants, and silver drop earrings dangling from her cute little earlobes. I must say she washed up very nicely!
That night I whisked her away in my trusty '95 maroon Buick LaSabre. She told me much later that she thought I drove an "old man's car."
I might not be the most fashionable guy around, but I bought it used, it was completely paid for and it fit my 6'3" tall frame comfortably. Maybe that's why I've always identified with the TV detective Columbo, played by Peter Falk. His raincoat was rumpled and he drove a beat up '59 Peugeot which seemed to have the elegance and dependability of a Yugo.
As Amy and I sat down at the Lighthouse Coffee and Café that night at the corner of Loop 1604 and Stone Oak Parkway, it was as if we were meeting each other for the first time. I can't explain it. There was a romantic spark between the two of us that hadn't been there before.
LeMae Koogler and her mother, Martha Garriffa, the co-owners of the Lighthouse, put on quite a spread. Each table was covered in a crisp white tablecloth, adorned with a flickering candle and a fragrant red rose in a small vase. Martha even took a Polaroid snapshot of each couple to capture the special moment.
Despite their casual name, we ate four courses of deliciously eye-catching and upscale gourmet food exquisitely prepared by Chef Eric Rocha, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. This ain't no ordinary Christian coffeehouse let me assure you.
The relationship that had flourished for six months in the soil of friendship was blossoming into a full-fledged romance. It took us both by surprise.
Those bright blue Holzer eyes were on high-beam sparkle. And I couldn't get enough. It was as though the rest of the people in the room, including our waitress, faded out of focus and Amy and I were the only two people in the restaurant that night.
The Next Step
In addition to compiling a new promotional packet to send to radio stations across the nation to find my next talk show host job, I was paying my bills by working as a door-to-door salesman in the evening, selling oil change discount cards for local service stations. Good training on the art of overcoming objections. Quite handy now that I'm back on the radio when I debate the occasional liberal guest or caller. Except now I'm not selling a tangible product, but a Biblical worldview.
The Countdown to June 1st
In fact, during the week leading up to June 1st, I flooded her with gifts at the Marriott River Center downtown where she worked as a sales representative. Starting Monday and running straight through Friday, I sent something different. A flower arrangement one day, a wicker basket filled with Origins products the next, followed by a Cookie Bouquet, an invitation to a romantic dinner and the special Clinique bar of soap which she loved so much.
In one of my cards to her that week, I wrote, "I feel like I've been wandering around the wilderness with you, hoping against hopes that one day we would walk across the River Jordan into the Promised Land of a new relationship together."
I was pumped. Unbeknownst to me, she was scared to death!
I'm a gift-giver. That's my love language, as I learned from reading "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman.
My intention was to communicate my excitement about the prospect of dating her, spending time with her exclusively.
Her interpretation of my Niagara Waterfall torrent of gifts was to conclude that I was on the verge of getting down on one knee to propose. So, she freaked out and called it off before the Houston announcer ever declared, "Lift off."
Needless to say, I was crushed and bewildered. So we stopped hanging out, stopped talking on the phone and stopped e-mailing. Even though we had not "officially" dated, I felt as though a part of me had been amputated.
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