Almost a full day passed after my first date with Anthony, and I'd heard absolutely nothing. But being the progressive-minded woman I am, I shot him a text, thanking him again for the beer and expressing how much fun I'd had with him. I also threw in my flight information for the following week in case he was still interested in grabbing a drink.
He responded quicker than usual, saying that it had been fun and that we should get a drink soon. But the day I had mind was still too far away to make firm plans (it was over the 4th of July) and he had family plans he had to work around.
Me: No worries! Let's touch base sometime early next week and figure something out :)
Anthony: Sounds good! Have fun warming up Denver for me :)
And we didn't speak again for three weeks.
My roommate and I ventured back to the brewery where Anthony worked. Contrary to my plan to casually run into him, he wasn't working. Naturally, and being a bit buzzed, I texted him.
Hey, I'm at Fulton and you're not working!
I sent that text around 9 p.m. and after about an hour with no reply, I gave up hope. Chalk it up to another ghosting.
But, around 1 a.m., he responded, explaining that he'd taken the day off for his birthday. We ended up chatting throughout the next day, and I learned he was working and it was going to be his last shift. Throwing caution to the wind, I decided to go in for one last free beer. What was the harm?
I entered the brewery with my friend Katherine in tow, and the place was packed, courtesy of a Guns 'N Roses concert at Target Field later that night. (It was a weird crowd, that's all I'm going to say.) It took me a good 20 minutes to get a beer, and a total of 45 for Anthony to even notice that I was there.
When the crowd around the bar finally dispersed, Anthony waved me over, smiling broadly.
"Hey! How long have you been here?"
"Ummm, about 40 minutes," I responded, immediately struck again by his eyes.
Why hadn't I followed up with this kid, again?
"How've you been?" he asked
"I've been good! Looks like you've been getting your ass kicked all day," I replied, nodding to the loud, leather-clad beer patrons around us.
"Yeah, it's been fuckin' insane today," he laughed.
"Kind of a weird crowd too," I speculated.
"Very weird crowd."
We kept chatting as he cleaned up the bar and started stacking glasses. By this point, my friend Katherine had bowed out. (We took separate cars for a reason.) After a bit, we reached a long pause and Anthony stood there staring at me with this adorable smirk.
"What?" I asked, arching my eyebrow pointedly at him.
"Nothing," he shrugged, walking away to retrieve a lonely pint glass at the other end of the bar.
"No," I said firmly, giving him a teasing glare. "What."
"Nothing," he paused then smiled, almost to himself. "You're cute, that's all."
As we caught up more, he revealed he was moving to Dallas for months that coming Thursday--as in four days from then. He got an internship with a firm there and was going to do a sort of makeshift study abroad within the U.S. All of this explained why I hadn't heard from him in regard to our second date plans--something I gave him endless amounts of shit for. (To be completely fair, I hadn't followed up either, but I kind of assumed the ball was in his court once I gave him my flight information.)
"So yeah, I'm leaving in like four days," he paused before continuing. "But what are you doing tomorrow? Do you want to grab a drink or something?"
(As if I already had plans on a Monday.)
"Yeah," I smiled. "Let's do it."
So we set a general time, and I said I'd follow up with him in regard to where to meet. He's lived in Minneapolis for almost eight years and rarely ventures to St. Paul, so naturally, I was going to pick a place in the coolest area of St. Paul--Cathedral Hill.
The whole next day was a marathon for Anthony. He closed down the brewery and stayed until 1 a.m. saying goodbye to all his coworkers, got up at 5 a.m. to move out of his apartment on his own, went to his full-time internship until 4:30 p.m. and then a barbecue with his bosses before driving 30 minutes to meet me for a drink.
I couldn't believe he even made the time for me with everything he had going on.
I arrived early to the bar (as I do) and snagged a table on the patio. Anthony entered through the restaurant door, still dressed in his work attire--a pin-striped button down with navy slacks and brown oxfords.
He greeted me with a huge hug and we settled into our chairs and fluent sarcasm. Our second date was honestly so much better than the first. I could tell we were infinitely more comfortable with one another and that comfort level allowed for more fluid, teasing conversation that before.
We sat for two rounds of drinks, then I took him for a walk down one of the historic streets in St. Paul, Summit Avenue, to see the mansions. We held hands and strolled in the moonlight. But eventually, we started to head back towards my car.
Neither of us really knew what to do or say because he was leaving for four months. (Though he had made a point of mentioning that he'd be back in town about once a month for classes and seminars.)
"I'll see you again," he smiled, looking down at me. "I'm not going to disappear on you." I shot him a mischievous look.
"It wouldn't be the first time," I teased, unable to miss the opportunity to point out that he'd basically ghosted me after making plans for a second date.
As we arrived at my car, he pulled me in for along hug before kissing me goodnight. I got in my car and watched him walk away, possibly for the last time or perhaps for the first of many goodbyes to come.
That's unclear at this point in time. But I will say I'm awfully glad we got the chance to have a second date.