Or, 'The worst date I have ever had, ever!' by Rachel K Maddox
About a year and a half ago, I had an experience that sparked off my desire to write a book. I was a member of a small group at my church. We were all single women, but we didn't make too much of a big deal out of it (though it was a big deal really if we were honest). Sometimes we did activities directly relating to our 'single woman walk'. One evening we went to a talk about singleness and marriage by a Specialist – note the capital 'S'! She had just written a book, so we thought that she might have a few tips.
We went to the talk that Friday evening with hope and expectation in our hearts, bright-eyed and eager to hear some words of wisdom from a mature Christian lady. We got to the hall, did some worship – so far, so good. Then the Specialist arrived on stage. We sat up eagerly in our chairs, ready to receive some wisdom. But as the lady began speaking I could see my friends shrinking in their chairs – turning from alert, eager Christian women, all bright eyes and wet noses – into cowed and visibly shrivelled shadows of what they once were. The essential message of this lady's harangue was that it was our own fault we were single and we all needed to get our acts together – we had to get out there and grab our soul mates by the throat, shake some sense into them and get hitched. It was more than a little alarming. By the end of the evening, we were all exhausted and not one of us was any closer to finding our soul- mate.
Or were we . . .?
Perhaps there was a chance of something good coming from this evening after all . . .
At the very last minute hope was rekindled in the form of a pleasant looking chap called Richard.
Richard had clearly taken the 'go-getter' message of the evening to heart. Emboldened, he said hello –and asked for my number just as we walked out of the door. It certainly perked me up, and I gleefully (but subtly) exchanged numbers with him. So, Richard and I met again three days later in a well-known pizza restaurant (the not-so-up-market one), where we ate pizza, drank watery fizzy pop and chased it all down with an 'ice cream factory'.
I don't know if you have ever experienced an 'ice cream factory', but itis not an easy thing to have to deal with when you are trying to appear attractive to a member of the opposite sex. We stood in line with our little plastic bowls and when we reached the front, Richard filled his bowl with a modest amount of ice cream and decorated it skilfully with just enough chocolate sauce and marshmallows. He looked like a pro, even flicking the top of his ice cream into a neat little swirl. Phew – a hard act to follow!
Nervously I stepped up with my bowl, and turned on the machine. Soft coils of ice cream fell into the bowl, twisting round in a very satisfying way. Maybe this wasn't so bad! I watched the ice cream coils fall; the bowl filling gradually, the machine swirling. And then it was full. Time to turn off the machine.
I couldn't figure out how to make it stop. I tried twist- ing the nozzle, pressing it, squeezing it, but nothing worked – the ice cream kept coming and it wouldn't stop. Just as it looked like the ice cream was going to take over the whole restaurant, Richard came to my rescue, and flicked the off switch. I looked up, gasping, 'Thank you!' Sheepishly we both moved away from the scene of the crime.
Back at the table the mountain of plain ice cream towered between us (I had been too embarrassed to hang around decorating it). The monstrous pudding impeded our view of one another and also threatened imminent collapse at any moment. I began to excavate desperately, eating as fast as I could. But it was a warm restaurant and I simply couldn't keep up with the forces of nature. Slowly, inexorably, the pile of ice cream slumped to the side and then onto the table where it formed a small pool that began spreading out gradually across the tablecloth.
'Don't worry about it.' Richard smiled at me, and I smiled back with my head full of sugar, wondering if this could be love.
Mud and bird flu
I smiled back with my head full of sugar, wondering if this could be love.
The ice cream factory incident didn't seem to have put Richard off and, the next Saturday, we met up again. This time we drove to a nearby village for a cosy pub lunch. Well, maybe it was the lack of an ice cream factory to get things going, but it didn't go too well over lunch. On that damp Saturday afternoon we began to run out of conversation.
The date went from bad to worse after lunch. I had told him that I was a keen walker, so we decided to go for a walk. As we walked and talked, I'm sorry to say that our common ground dwindled. He professed an interest in music. I said I enjoyed music too. Nothing. I tried to tell him about my overseas trips. He said he had been abroad a few times as well. Then, nothing. It seemed like nothing was going to work, and a dull boredom set in.
It was then that things went from bad to downright strange.
A pigeon fell out of the sky. Right in front of us. Richard and I let go of each other's hands in surprise.
We both looked at the pigeon.
It was dead.
We both looked up into the sky to see where it had come from. The sky was clear. We looked down at the pigeon again. We must have looked hilarious to God at that moment. Like a couple of nodding dogs in a field, one covered with mud.
We were completely flummoxed. There were no trees or shrubbery or pigeon hiding places. It must have simply been flying and dropped dead. Maybe of a heart attack. Or bird flu. Or mad pigeon syndrome. Who knows?
Back in the car park we encountered another problem. The car wouldn't start. We sat for nearly an hour trying to make it go. I'm afraid at this point I did something rather dishonourable. I called a taxi and went home, leaving Richard to sort out the car. I did have a prior appointment, but I still felt bad as the taxi drove off.
Fortunately I received a text message ten minutes later saying that the car's engine had mysteriously sprung into life almost as soon as I left.
Richard and I never made contact again.
And we never did find out why that pigeon fell from the sky.
On the face of it this date looks like a disaster, and in many ways perhaps it was. But I would actually see it as a success, because at least we tested the water and found out that we were not suited.
No harm done, no bones broken. No dignity permanently lost, just temporarily mislaid.
(I exclude the pigeon from this summary. Sadly, he permanently lost everything on that day.)
I'm glad that Richard was bold enough to ask me out and get things going with the dates. I understand hat he has now met the woman of his dreams and is soon to marry her; which shows that his attitude paid off in the end. Well done, Richard. And as for me, well after the pigeon date I was ready for anything. It was time to start searching for men to date!
20 First Dates: My Search for My Right is published by Authentic Media
March 13th, 2012 - Posted & Written by Authentic Publishing