“When your mom and I first moved here, we would always watch Monday Night Football with Bobby Jackson, Jimbo, Uncle Jeff and Kapa at that place.”
“Was it fun?”
More fun that I can tell her. I think I’ll leave out the part about the enormous $1.50 plastic mugs, the 2 AM phone calls berating “lame” (translation: “sober” or "sensible") friends, and the fruitless search for late night eats that once resulted in eating (shudder) carrot omelets. (I repeat, once.) She has plenty of time to learn about that later.
I find myself on a date with my two favorite girls, only one of which is sitting next to me. The other one is waiting for us at home, but her presence is tangible as we rumble past some of our old haunts. I wonder if I’ll ever travel through Uptown and not have her with me.
“Your mom and I lived just a couple blocks that way. Jimbo was our roommate. Our parents thought we were crazy.”
“Once you get married, people don’t expect you to share an apartment with someone else. But we loved it.”
True to form from my single days, I’ve made a mess of this date. I was supposed to drive downtown to work today, but forgot and took the bus. This means that when I picked up The Chatty Chatty Princess™ from choir practice at the Basilica, we needed to ride the pokey #4 bus down Lyndale to get home. At night. In the rain. Fortunately, as also often happened in my single days, my date is rising to the occasion.
“Dad, do you know where Minnehaha School is?”
“You mean Minnehaha Academy? Yes. You took ice skating lessons there a couple of times. You hated it.”
“I got a notice from school that they’re giving lessons again.” She pauses. “Do you remember the time that you were little and mom wanted to ice skate with you, but you couldn’t ice skate and so you didn’t go?”
I can’t believe she remembers that story. When did I tell her about that? “That wasn’t your mom. That was a different little girl. I was only 10. I didn’t meet your mom for another 12 years.”
“Oh. So you were 22 when you met mom?”
Yes, I was. A week away from turning 23. And as if she hasn’t become a big enough part of this night already, now a reality exists in which I’ve known her since I was 10. (Why not? God knows I felt like that when I first met her.)
“So, um, I’ve heard from two girls in my class that a boy likes me.”
“Uh-huh. Kyle. First Marianna heard him say that, and she told me, and then I told Ariel, and she talked to him, and he said that to her, and she told me too.”
So that’s what this night is about. Boy, am I stupid. We’re not on a date – we’re on a double date. Each of us with our non-present significant others.
“So what should I do? Should I walk up to him and ask him if he likes me?”
Why are you asking me kid? Did I mention my idea of a date is a public bus ride down Lyndale in the rain while I openly reminisce about the other girl in my life?
“No. He might get scared. What would you do if there was girl that wanted to be your friend?”
“I’d just start acting like we’re already friends.”
“Do that with Kyle. At the very least, he’ll likely be a friend. And maybe he’ll end up being your boyfriend.”
“Dad!", she scolds, "I’m only eight years old. I’m too young to be thinking about boyfriends."
Apparently none of us are ever too young.
Or too old.