So, I had finally told a couple people about it the week previous. The Monday when I was wayyyy over thinking things. Though that was always going to be a problem of mine. But knowing his mom knew, made me feel a little bad that mine didn't.
On Sunday, I realized that I had a window on Monday (Labor Day) in which I could slip a trip to Smithfield into my schedule. B and I had brunch plans. Beth and I had dinner plans. Both were farther side of Raleigh adjacent. Yes, I could justify a trip to Smithfield.
We had talked about tracking down the Neuse Riverwalk, but Labor Day loomed extremely warm. 99 degrees is not my friend, but I was going to give it a try--until, somehow, my flip-flop broke--completely. And not just any pair, the perfect semi-nice pair that you can use to dress down a maxi dress but also works with jeans and a t-shirt.
I usually keep an extra pair in the car--or at least my gym shoes. But I had unpacked my gym bag to use for Saturday's Super Saturday activity, and had not gotten my work-out shoes back into the bag. I do keep a roll of packing tape in my car, and I tried to tape the shoes. We were going to still have to run to the Walmart and look for a quick replacement (as most places don't carry a women's 12).
He was very calm and sweet, and I, as per usual, was freaking out. Yes, I could just take off the shoes and go, but I couldn't do it. You don't know what is on the floor?!? It was awful. I was Quasimodo, dragging my left foot along the ground to keep my taped-with-packing-tape-but-totally-coming-apart flip-flops, and a cute guy holding my hand. I kept muttering, "Sorry, babe, a little slower," under my breath, and dying of humiliation.
Of course the shoe department was completely across the store in the very far back left. It takes forever to get back there, and I really am just internally cringing the whole time. There are three pairs of flip-flops left that will even work. One looks like the worst male sandals ever made. One, I'm pretty sure is made of melted plastic toys, and it would have cut into my feet. The last one is the color of Pepto Bismol, and an inch thick of foam on the bottom.
I rip off the tag, pull off the plastic thing holding it all together; throw the broken shoes into my purse, and slide the shoes on. As slow as I was going before, I power-walk to the front, dragging poor N in my wake.
I flash the tag, show my shoes, pay the $4.58 for the truly appalling shoes, and march for the front door, when N stops me.
"Hey," he says--waiting for me to look at him. When I finally make eye contact because I'm so embarrassed, he continues, "Hey, it's okay. I'm not embarrassed--you shouldn't be. We're great."
And I sigh and take a deep breath, and I feel less like someone dying internally. Hey, it is only date five--I'm not ready to give a bad impression yet. Anyway, with it being ridiculously hot outside and new not super-comfy shoes, we decide to drive the Riverwalk.
We make the first stop, and as we finally could just relax, N leans in for some dessert--but breaks it off, when we realize from about 20 feet away there is a little girl staring intently into the car. Both of us start laughing uproariously, and I am a little annoyed that I show off how embarrassed I am much easier than he does--stupid pale genetics. Read: I am bright red.
The next stop seems like it would be better, so we drive a little more until we're ensconced on the banks of the river, chatting, holding hands, scrolling through our various playlists, and watching the river. Oddly enough, as he leans in for some more dessert, the little girl and her family ride by on their bikes, and we start laughing again.
We saw each other from 2 until 5:30ish, and then I run to Beth's for some more girl time. Hours later (9pm), Beth goes to give me a hug--then she comes back at me again, and I pull back with a "Huh?" look.
"Oh, oh, oh, some snuggling has been going on here!" she accuses with a grin.
"Wha--?" I respond.
"Because you smell like you--but you also smell like cologne."
Again, I'm bright red--like you-can-see-it-from-space red.
"Mmm-hmm," she laughs at me and heads into her house.
To be continued. . .