Friday, January 22, 2010

The "Kid" is Mine

Back in 1985 I was a newly single mother of two small daughters. I had to find a way to support myself so I went back to the restaurant that I worked at when I first moved to Simi Valley. I am not one to feel regret but I know that taking a job as a waitress again made me feel as thought I’d failed myself somehow. It turned out to be one of the best moves of my life. Alphys Restaurant is where I met John, my husband of more than twenty years.

Our first meeting, however, gave me no indication we would be spending the rest of our lives together.

When I went in to ask for a job the female manager hired me to work the graveyard shift. Desperate, I took the job. I also figured I would be able to spend the day with my girls and work while they were asleep. I am not a night person, and after that first shift came to an end I approached the night manger and said, “You can fire me if you want to, but I’m not working graveyard again.” That took courage; I needed the job but there is something inside of me that knows how to take care of myself. I didn’t get fired and began working right away on day and evening shifts.

That night manager was a young kid by the name of John. I must have made quite an impression on him that night: first I dare him to fire me, then I lock my keys in my car and had to enlist his aid in getting them out. Over the course of the next few months John and I got to know one another but nothing indicated we would be more than boss and employee. In fact, I didn’t really like him much at first.

He was pretty cocky and I just didn’t have the time or the humor to find him amusing. He would pull a comb out of his back pocket, run it through his thick wavy hair and point outside and say, “See that Porsche (it was a 1966 model) out there? It’s mine.” Puhleeze! Yeah, John thought he was pretty hot stuff back then. If I’d thought he was a romantic prospect, I am pretty sure I would not have been all smart-alecky with him, but to me he was just a kid. I was all of 27-years-old, you see, with kids to support and he was just a 23-year-old with no worries in the world.

I think I can pretty much guess when I caught his attention, though. It was a busy time in the restaurant and while John was holding court with all the cute little waitresses that hovered around him, I whisked by and said to him, “Hey, there’s people at the door that need to be seated.” A few moments later I was summoned to the back office where Mr. Manager reprimanded me with a “don’t talk to me like that” scolding. I shot back at him, saying that if I’m busy and I see he’s not, well then he needed to take care of the customers. See, I saw him as a kid and not necessarily as my boss. Told you – guts!

Once again I was spared from being fired. Soon after, a flirtation between the Kid and me began. We would talk and he’d tell me about some of his failed relationships; I played the advisor telling him he should ask this waitress or that one out on a date. He would look into my eyes and tell me how beautiful they were. I wasn’t affected at first but I remember saying to him, “It may be on the shelf, but it’s not dead. Stop flirting with me!” “It” referred to my dormant desires; I think I had a pretty explicit dream about him, which stirred some feeling I didn’t have the time to attend to.

Tell a young, cocky kid that you are having dreams and that he’s getting under your skin, and then tell him to leave you alone; it’s the ultimate game of going after someone who is playing hard to get. But, I swear, I didn’t have an agenda in mind, I really wanted to concentrate on getting my life in order.

He asked me out. I said yes. The rest is history.

Last August was the 30th anniversary of our first date. Back then we went to Miceli’s, an Italian restaurant in Los Angles where we ate, where I opened up to him about my life in a way I’d never done with anyone before. After dinner he took me to the beach where I had to initiate the first kiss. When we got back to my house I opened up even more, something I had also never done before on a first date. He never really went home after that first night.

There were a lot of “firsts” that took place for me because of John. Two-plus decades later and we are still discovering one another. I don’t know what I did right but I am one of the luckiest people in the world and I owe so much of it to the Kid who married me.
First dance at our wedding


L.T. Elliot said...

What a great love story! You know what I love the most? You were always yourself first and love came in and filled up the missing pieces. Happy 25 and here's to another 25!

Debbie said...

What a wonderful love story. I hope you all have another great 25 years of love.

Donna B said...

Sigh....loved your love story. I can relate to so much of what you write. I too was a newly separated Mother of two small daughters in 1985, ages 8 and 6. We were not divorced until 88. I too worked as a waitress after the divorce. I did not met my dream man until my daughters were grown and out of the house. Happy 25 years of first dates, and may you enjoy many, many more!

Donna B said...

Lisa, please stop by my blog for a sweet surprise...

Ribbon said...

Simply beautiful :)

it's nice to feel lucky

best wishes

Jeanie said...

Another glimpse into events of the past that made you who you are today. This was a beautiful story.