My husband’s SUV has leather seats, so already the night feels fancy. On our way out of the house, he had rushed past me to open the car door on my side. He doesn’t always do that these days, not like he used to when we were dating. It takes me back. I know he’s as invested in this evening as I am when he turns the radio dial from his talk shows to the country music station.
Where to eat dinner is always one of our biggest decisions. It will be a local establishment, we’re not much for restaurant chains, but which one this time? Our friend owns the one with the best boneless wings. The fried pickles at the nearby brewery are amazing. We could do Mexican again, but neither of us has much self-control when it comes to bottomless baskets of chips with salsa. Of course, there’s our all-time favorite restaurant, but it should be a pretty special occasion, like an anniversary or a birthday, to justify the price tag.
We decide on the brand new brewery about 35 minutes away. We do a little visiting on the way there, but silence fits fine too. Singing along from time to time with the radio is a given. Looking over at him, I’m reminded how I still think he’s handsome. I reach for his hand, where it’s settled on the middle console, like it always is.
Dinner is good. Since tonight is a bit out of the ordinary, we don’t even split a meal. Which means I order something with pesto or weird vegetables, menu selections I don’t get to try when we share. As he does every time we eat out, my husband has made a new friend with our server before the meal is finished. He always asks their opinion on what to order, their choice between an item or two. I settle into the familiar rhythms of dinner with my man.
After dinner, we often visit one of two places. There’s a coffee shop just down the road from the restaurant. We might go there and order one coffee to share. He likes it extra hot, with only one pump of syrup. Not too sweet. Sitting down at a table for two, he drinks the latte until it’s cool enough he loses interest. At that point, the temperature is just right for me, so I finish it off. We scroll through our phones, sharing anything we find interesting. If I thought to grab my e-reader, I’ll read a chapter or two in my latest book.
Or we might head to a bookstore. What a special night indeed when I find myself with a few hours to browse bookshelves! I pick out three or four books from a variety of genres, and he meets me at a table with a short stack of magazines. Eventually, we make our final selections and pay for those items. The night’s activities may not seem like much, but just being together alone is satisfying.
Driving home, I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude. It was an excellent date night. Felt just like us. We've still got it.