Purple by moonlight

Last December was one of new adventure for me. Unlike the previous year, when I was dealing with my mother's illness, it was a time of firsts for me. As I have mentioned before, I took my first plane ride, from Columbus to Portland, Oregon via Minneapolis. While there I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time. I also enjoyed a weekend in Seattle during my first trip out west. But by December 21, 2009, I was ready to come home. I had been gone a couple of weeks, and good night calls with the boys just weren't cutting it when I knew there were hugs to be had. And there was another reason I was anxious to get up at one a.m., and drive the three hours from my hotel back to Portland to catch the plane.



When I first arrived in Oregon, I found myself with some time on my hands. I had been meaning to write an ad and post it on a dating website. I decided my first night out west I would do that, and publish it in Columbus. That way if I got any substantial replies I would have a couple weeks to weed them out and see if they were crazy from 3000 miles away. The first couple of days the ad got a lot of attention. Turns out the post was pretty good, the kind that attracted all types of women. I spoke to quite a few people, but there was no spark or connection in the conversation so I let them all fade away. After 10 days or so without any progress I decided to remove it, because it didn't net the results I was looking for. But then I got an email response that intrigued me very much. I responded and began conversing with what appeared to be a real, attractive, stable, person. A real breath of fresh air, trust me. We talked on and off for the next couple of days, and I knew that when I got back to Ohio I would want to get to know this person a lot better. So at 6 am on December 21st of last year (yes the 21st, I stand corrected) I climbed onto that United airlines jetliner headed to Chicago, where I would catch another to Columbus that evening.

Once aboard I settled into my seat. The middle seat. As a larger than normal guy, I knew the next couple of hours were going to be a little uncomfortable. I texted my new friend and told her that I was on board and would have to be turning off my phone. Safe travels she said, and let me know when you get into Chicago. I shut it down and tucked it into my laptop bag, which I quickly stowed away before the flight attendant came by. Then the captain's voice came on. "Folks, there is a snowstorm in Chicago, so we are going to be an hour late leaving." Groans and moans from the cabin as we all squirmed, it was way too early for this. An hour later, again we heard him. This time, he told us he couldn't tell us when we would be wheels up. We were told to relax, enjoy a complimentary beverage, and watch the movie they were about to show. As 500 days of Summer came on the screen, I put my headphones on and endured the wait. 90 minutes later we were in the air.

My layover in Chicago was supposed to be 3 hours. The delay had left me with only 30 minutes til scheduled take off. We gated in terminal number three, and I had to find my way to terminal one. Running full speed with my carry on and laptop, I caught the shuttle, then ran through terminal one until I found the flight board. Flight 4263 from Chicago to Columbus. Cancelled. Out of breath and feeling a little defeated, I approached the flight desk, and was informed I would not be able to catch another until the next day.

I texted my new friend and told her about the Chicago debacle. She asked what I was going to do, and I replied that if I could find a car to rent I was going to drive home. I wanted to be there, not stuck in hotel in the windy city. I had been traveling since 1 am, well 3 am Chicago time. It was 4 pm, and I was looking at a six hour drive. "If you make it tonight, I will meet you somewhere" she told me. Knowing I may not make it back until midnight with the weather, I asked if she was sure. Yes. Within 30 minutes I was in a car, without a GPS or map, trying to find my way home.

The drive itself was almost as bad as the flight and wait. But the company was great. She talked to me the whole way, never once having a long break in the conversation or running out of things to say. I learned a lot about her. She learned as much about me. With every text I became a little more intrigued and my foot got a little heavier. Who was this woman? Why did she bookmark my ad for 10 days before replying? Why is someone like this available? And is her hair really purple? I rolled into Columbus about 11 pm.

We met at Cushions at midnight. After almost 20 hours of traveling I couldn't imagine what I must have looked like. Or smelled like for that matter. I waited outside for her and she pulled up. She wasn't lying. Purple hair. Black leather coat. White fuzzy sweater. Purple hair. Awesome green eyes. Really short purple hair. WOW. We grabbed a table and talked face to face for the first time. The conversation was as good as the email and texts. She was funny, outgoing, and intelligent, and we covered a lot of ground. After an hour or so, we said goodnight. A friendly hug capped it off and we drove our separate ways.

As I drove away I thought to myself, today was worth everything I dealt with just for that one hour. What happened after is a story best left untold. But this was the coolest first date I ever had. And one I will never forget.

Its Thursday, so it must be boys night. I am so grateful to have them tonight, and to be in a position to share Christmas Morning with them and their mother. We haven't always been on the same page, but when it comes to them we both put everything else aside.

Good Night All............................

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