american dragon and the 8-hour long first date (pt 1)

American Dragon picked me up from my parents’ almost late and we rushed over to the movie theater to catch our film, Shyamalan’s newest release, Split. That was just after 1. We got there just long enough into the movie to wonder if we had missed something important without having actually done so. For the rest of the date (part 1), we tried to decide if Split was a good movie. It was a question that’d remain unanswered for the moment.

This was February 2017 and if you don’t remember the winter was straight unseasonable — half the time more like Spring that month, and 3/4 so the month after. When we left the theater it was 60 degrees and I stood with the sun on my biceps in short sleeves and jeans, completely comfortable. Our only other plan was to hit up Jupiter Records in Wilmington, a place I’d never been before but heard about from other vinyl-heads with enthusiasm. American Drake had agreed: to Jupiter I had to go.

But first it was so nice out, and we didn’t have anything else planned, and movies are awful for getting to know someone. We walked down the Riverfront until I showed American Dragon the nature tower and marsh walk which made up the end of one side of the human-transversible, developed section of rivershore. We walked back, went further up. I remember we talked about his family, his brother and his sister, somewhat. How they and he were different. I told him about my prom as we walked by the Chase center and asked him about his. I fear I rambled excessively. He didn’t seem to mind.

When it got dark and chilly, around 5 it must’ve been, I said, “Finally, let’s go to Jupiter records!” I was trying to complete my Rolling Stones collection. I had 5 LPs remaining and, as I’d told American Dragon, had carefully amassed records so the remaining 5 were among the most easily procurable Stones albums I had missing and left. That way, I confided, I could consciously choose when to get each album and it’d be a special day, a commemorative occasion — and whether a used record store had that rare album or not wouldn’t thwart me.

Of course Jupiter had none of the common records I needed. Instead I got Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust album for like $11 and a rarity, a pressed interview with Jagger on Jagger, for maybe $5. The prices were great. I found a record by a band relating to American Dragon’s real name and we laughed, but didn’t need to buy it. Then he offered to take me home.

By now it was nearly 7 if not past it. I said yes, let’s go home, and on the way my sister called. She was starving and wanted to do dinner. At first I was going to end the date with American Dragon and hang with her…but I remembered, they’d met before and got along. She’d liked him. So I thought, why not let this date have a tiny test sort of thing and see if American Dragon would be up for dinner with my sister? She wanted sushi. A double test. My last ex wouldn’t eat anything she couldn’t pull apart in overcooked strings. American Dragon was fully down.

When the bill came American Dragon wanted to pay for it all, but we wouldn’t let him. Sushi is especially expensive, he wasn’t anticipating the fancy dinner (and its check), and I wouldn’t let him cover my sister entirely as well as me. To make up for it he tipped extra big.

American Dragon drove us home again. By the time we walked in my parents were home and he met them too. They spent 30 or 45 minutes telling stupid stories about Young ms.adventurous, including the one about when I got poison ivy over my face so bad I had to get steroids and my parents took photos, then emailed my dad’s parents the images and claimed I was their new Asian exchange student. American Dragon was quiet but so good natured about it all. He didn’t seem to mind one iota.

All throughout this time neither of us had had one sip of alcohol.

When I walked him out we kissed for the first time. It was sober, and awkward, and fine.

By the time American Dragon left it was 9 p.m., and I’d not only had a sober date, or a great sober date, but a great sober date which had stretched 8 hours out without me even noticing it. I couldn’t spend 8 hours of uninterrupted time with anyone without getting sick of it, or so I’d thought before then. Even my last ex got about 4 hours before I started checking my watch and scheduling activities, friends, meet-ups, drinks, drugs, to do next.

Yeah, even from Date 1, Part 1, American Dragon set himself off distinctly. American Dragon, no matter what, no matter me, would be different.