“Let me take you out for a drink, just one,” he said.
It was summer and I was 20, caught between university semesters and, having recently relocated temporarily back to my parents, I was very much in lust with the idea of drinks with an older man in a city I didn’t want to leave.
So I stayed.
The drink, just one, was huge. A concoction of undetermined amounts of rum mixed with juices that very much resembled a grown-up fruit punch. Much sweeter than my usual drinks (at the time, I was also very much into gin and sodas and the occasional Tom Collins), I was hit hard by the Hurricane – both the unnecessarily large drink and, also, by him.
There are things you’ll always remember about a first date. You’ll probably tell too many stories, and as the drinks flow you may regret one or two of them. Your heart will race when his hand grazes yours and you’ll feel nervous when you laugh. There is a magical energy to the newness of first dates. I remember very vividly the way he kissed me. It caught me off guard, the way he lightly pulled me into him and kissed me with a passion usually reserved for established romance.
I thought of this last night as we took a seat at the bar, just as we had that hazy, summer night when I had a bus in two hours, but no intentions of catching it. Now at 26, I think to myself how it seems both everything and nothing has changed. How we are the same people but such different people. How sometimes I still yearn to be 20 when everything felt so young and love was so young, so young, it didn’t even exist yet.
When we met in the depths of a weekend night that summer, it was his brown eyes and tousled hair I noticed first. The dance floor was full of beautiful bodies, but I could see only him. Our first words were lost to too much youth and too much gin, first kisses much the same, but I still remember his mouth and his body and the feeling of my hands on his neck, his on my hips, his GNR belt buckle pressing into me.
While drinking Hurricanes on our first official date days later, I found myself wondering if you can love someone so soon after meeting them. I thought you had to grow up together, escape small towns together, not find each other in a darkened room, slurring words. But I believe in love at first sight because of that night. Because, sometimes, we still find ourselves sipping drinks at the same bar. On these nights, the world spins in circles round and round and it is like we were there again drunk off innocence and summer heat. Laughing and flirting like teenagers. Like if I closed my eyes and pretended hard enough I could almost believe we’d travelled back in time.
Except, when he orders a hurricane.
I order wine.
Sheena Lyonnais is Blonde’s Toronto editor. You can follow her on Twitter @SheenaLyonnais.