I had just turned 16 when I went on my first date. Jon and I were double-dating with my best friend and his best friend to a football game. The only thing I hated more than football was cold weather, and I had to try to get through both on that first date.
I wore heavy gray gloves that I refused to remove even in the car after the game. Those gloves were my protection against not only the cold, but any attempt my date might make to hold my hand. Of course that seemed pretty unlikely, since I was sitting as close to the door on my side as possible. I thought about keeping my hands hidden in my pockets, but the gloves were so bulky they wouldn't fit.
On the ride home, Jon and I were in the back seat when he asked me if I was cold.
"I'm OK," I answered warily.
"I just thought you might be cold since you still have your gloves on," he said.
"Yeah, well my hands are always cold," I responded, unwilling to relent even a little.
My best friend and his seemed to be having a fine time up front while poor Jon was still struggling to carry the conversation with little more than one-word responses from me.
I had nothing personal against Jon. He seemed nice, and I enjoyed talking with him in homeroom. I just wanted to be home with a good book. I couldn't understand why everyone had to be dating all of a sudden. I liked things the way they used to be.
It didn't matter anyway, because we were almost home when, without warning, I felt his hand gently close around my glove. My heart started pounding, but I didn't dare move or react. I just pretended not to notice, and before I knew it, we were home, and Jon released my gloved hand as gently as a brush of butterfly wings.
Relieved, I said good night quickly and hurried to the door. Before I could get safely inside, Jon was next to me, asking if we could go to a movie together next week.
"Gee," I thought, "he just won't leave me alone." Then I surprised myself by saying, "Sure, that sounds OK."
After he'd gone, I finally removed my gloves, putting them away carefully in my dresser drawer. Suddenly I felt so warm inside that I didn't think I would need them again.
It has been 30 years since that first date with Jon, and in October we will be married for 24 of them. I can't help wondering what might have happened if my hands had not been so cold.