A year of meals shared and truths told went by, and I hadn’t thought much about our relationship until Earl surprised me at supper one evening, “Would you go out with me?”
“Are you crazy?” All I could think about was how terrible I was. How can he like me?
A month later, he asked again, “Will you go out with me?”
Reluctantly I agreed and on a hot July evening, I sat waiting for Earl in the hospital parking lot because I wouldn’t tell him where I lived. My palms were sweaty and when I saw his baby-blue Thunderbird, I caught my breath. I still couldn’t believe I was going on a date with a preacher. (I’d even had my hair done and was wearing the only dress I owned.)
Getting in his car my voice cracked as I said, “Hi.”
“Where are we going?”
“I made reservations at The 91st Bomb Group restaurant on the Memphis airport flight line.” The restaurant reminded me of one my Uncle Don had taken me to when I was eighteen. After dinner, we sat in the lounge and watched the runway and airplane lights as planes took off and landed.
“Have I told you how much I like flying?”
“Yes, that’s why I brought you here. Doesn’t your uncle fly?”
“Yes, he has a Cherokee 180 now. I remember flying over my hometown as a little girl and seeing Momma waving at me from the sidewalk in front of the Candyland. I guess I’ve loved flying ever since. Uncle Don even let me take the controls a few times when I visited him as an adult.”
We were unusually quiet for us on the trip back to the hospital. Earl parked next to my car, turned and asked, “May I kiss you.”
“No!” I can’t kiss a preacher.
A Piper Cherokee 180