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Why can't my mouth have a mute button?
by lauren finchum
Not For Sale
Author requests article critique


It’s my tenth date with Lane—yes, I’m keeping count—and he’s taking me to the fancy place that he was going to take me at Christmas, but couldn’t because his heart was just too big.
Anyway, he says he’s glad to start the New Year off with me and our relationship. I can’t help but agree.

I get ready for this dream date by dressing in a black off-the-shoulder dress, and bejeweled, black heels.
With my hair in a French twist and sprit of Brittany Spear’s Fantasy, I’m ready for this dream date I’ve wished of all my life—a hot guy picking me up to go to a fancy place to eat.

As I get lost from reality—as I do on a daily basis—Lane is ringing my doorbell. I answer the door to see the stud’s frame adorned with an untucked, orange button-up with the first three buttons un-done, and a silver chain playing hide and seek in-between the shirt’s opening.
He has a brown leather bomber jacket, and dark wash jeans. He dressed the jeans up very well, he looks quite chic.
“Hello, my heart.” He hands me a single rose.
This guy is all the romantic.
And people say men like this only exist in fairytales.
Well, if the IS a dream, I hope I sleep forever.
“Oh, thank you.” I smile and sniff the rose’s aroma, “Wait, how did you know I liked pink roses instead of red?” I ask with a grin.
“Oh, I have my ways.” He grins slickly.
Not the “Ew, yuck, beat it slime ball” kinda slick, the “be still my heart, I can’t breath” kinda slick.
That kind of slick is unwarily done by the men who do it, but stills the heart of their lover.
“Oh, you.” I playfully slap his arm.

After I put the flower in the bud vase I bought years ago in faith of this very moment, we head off to The Crystal Roof for our night.
I love it!
“Our night”.
Sigh, again.
This chic restaurant we’re headed to gets its name from the glass skylight that takes up the center of the ceiling.
I hear it’s beautiful inside, and I can’t wait to see if it’s true.

As we get out and Lane opens the mildly Art Deco style doors with “The Crystal Roof” written on them in gold script, I see that it is lovely inside.
There are chandeliers all over the parts of the ceiling that aren’t the skylight, and the floor has a pit where some table are, and stairs that lead a higher level where the tables have a view of the city and all its lights.

That’s where the matre’d leads us, to a table near the huge plate glass window.
“Oh, Lane, it’s gorgeous.” I coo as he takes my wrap, “this place, the view. . .”I trail.
He smiles, “Not as gorgeous as the eyes beholding them.”
Move over Shakespeare!
I just smile, but on the inside I burst with girly giggles.

The waiter comes and asks us what we want to drink. We both order sparkling mineral water A.K.A Perrier, and we look at what to order.
I get a grilled chicken breast smothered in wine sauce and mushrooms, and Lane gets—what else—filet minion with blue cheese crumbles.
We delight in conversation till the food comes. When it does we hold each other’s hand and pray, then begin to eat.
I smile as he cuts his medium steak, and tastes it. “Mmm, really good. How’s yours?”
“Great.” I taste the grilled wonder.
Then we feed each other bites of our entrees.

After a dessert of Cherries Jubilee, Lane surprises me and says he booked a carriage ride through the park.
My eyes dance at the thought; all we need is a glass slipper and viola! Perfect.
We slid into the carriage, and after some cooing a kissing like two doves, we watch the stars in the velvety black sky.
“Can you believe all that wonder?” Lane looks into the depth of the galaxy, “to think God made all that. Makes you feel pretty small.”
“Yes, it does.” I say softly.
Lane tells the guy to go around the park again, and gives me his jacket for my cold shoulders as we look up at the heavens.
This starts some deep conversation.
“I heard a preacher say this is the year of the open door.” I say.
“Yes, I heard that, too. On TV.” Lane replies.
That’s where I heard it.
“Isn’t that great?” I smile, “A door God opened, and you just have to walk through.”
“And just leave everything bad behind. Thoughts, the past.”
With the phrase “the past” I freeze.
I suck my lower lip into my mouth in thought.

I feel Lane pet my hand, “Do you have a past you want to leave behind?” even in the dark this man can read me like a book.
I open my mouth and before I know it, words are flying out, “Well, my mom and dad separated when I was younger, and it was a mess.”
“I’m sorry.” Lane goes to say more, but my words run him over.
“No, I was relieved when it happened. My ‘father’,” making quote marks with fingers, “was verbally and mentally abusive. He did weird and disturbing mind games. He said mean things to me. Said I was stupid and fat.”
Lane eyebrows cock, “Fat?” he sounds a little annoyed, “What is your waist? All of 32 inches? You’re not fat, and you’re the smartest woman I know.”
Must not know many women.
I hear him, but I keep going, “Well, my mom finally left after much prayer. People didn’t like it.”
“You where in an abuse situation, and if God gave you the go ahead you listen.”
“Yeah, well, people didn’t see bruises, and my dad was a great actor, so they didn’t believe me.” I say a little bluntly.
Way to over share, Olivia
I continue, “My mom remarried this guy, and well, he’s the best thing that ever happened to us—besides Jesus, I mean. He’s strong and loving. Kind and Godly. His heart’s too big for his own good” I laugh through a tear, “and well, he’s the only father I will ever know. I love him very much. I know that sounds cheesy but,” I wipe away the tears that are now flowing like the Guard’s at the Wizard’s castle door in The Wizard of Oz, “it’s just true. I had a happy ending, but people make me feel guilty.”
There’s a way to end a date, Olivia.
Play Drama Queen.

I realize I just blew my heart out through my mouth like I blew my nose. . .and it all landed on Lane.
I’d just rattled off words like someone said I had to spiel three paragraphs in four seconds by penalty of law.
I swallow.
He thinks I’m nuts, I know it.
He sees why I’m so weird now, I have issues, and who wants to date a crazy chick with issues.

I can hear it now, the “it’s not you it’s me” speech. While on the inside they're thinking, “no, it’s you”.
Lane just silently puts his arms around me.
After a few moments I say, “You think I’m nuts, don’t you?”
He chuckles, “No, I don’t think your nuts. Bad things happen to good people sometimes, that doesn’t make you bad.”
There’s a thought, if only everyone felt that way.
“Do you wish you were dating someone else? You know, someone normal.” I say, half wry, half pitiful.
“You’re more normal than you think.” Lane consoles me.
“One man left your life, I’m not.” He lifts up my chin, “The best advice I can give is too leave that man in the past where he belongs. He’s not here, he can’t hurt you. The memories are just that, memories. No need to fear them, they can’t hurt you either. Nothing can when you believe in God. He’ll keep you safe.” Lane smiles, “Jesus’ blood is a hard thing to survive for evil.”
“Impossible to.” I smile.
“Yes, impossible.” Lane strokes my cheek with his long fingers.
Lane hugs me, and I realize that my Step-dad isn’t the only man on the earth willing to love me.
I have him, I have Lane, and most of all I have my Jesus.
I’m not as screwed as I thought.
No, I’m a Princess of The King.

(Author’s note: To my knowledge, I made up The Crystal Roof, and it’s a fictional place.)

(c) 2007

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