And so the story continued as we sang our way along the grey and busy highway of Gauteng, heading toward the beautiful guesthouse that Magic Man had so kindly arranged for me. There was something so beautiful in this act of kindness, a notion of feeling seen and understood, taking all the physical pressure off of our first in-person meeting, even though so many intense conversations had happened and so many deep thoughts had passed between us. I kept touching his arm to find out if this was real. I still had that butterfly sitting high up in my throat, where nerves, excitement, and adoration all boiled into one. I had never met anyone who made me feel as safe as he did.
He didn’t like this word safe. I loved it.
We slipped into a “comfort and knowing” that felt like years had passed between us. He left me to get settled into my little room, as he went back to his home to do whatever it is that men do before going out for the night. As I pushed my weekend bag over to the corner of the room, I saw a beautiful gift bag perched on the dressing table – “A cape town girl’s survival kit to JHB”. I couldn’t believe it, this was something I would have done for someone. I giggled my way through the hilarious contents of the gift – each one attached with an explanation and each one funnier than the one before.
While I freshened myself up, I kept catching my eye in the mirror, I couldn’t stop smiling. My cheeks couldn’t stop beaming. Once ready, I noticed that Magic Man was standing by the pool of the guesthouse chatting to the owner. He was so at ease, so confident and sure of himself. There is something so magical in a man who holds himself with quiet confidence, who doesn’t need to be the center of the room, but who can hold the space he is in with grace. His smile seemed to fill up his entire face and I could see by the response of the owner, that she felt just as charmed by him.
He gave me that wonderful look that any girl wishes to see when she has put effort into her outfit. I felt myself blush as I walked over to join the poolside chat. He asked me how I felt about joining the owners and their friends for a drink before heading out. This kind of change of plan and spontaneity is something I love and was so happy he seemed to, too. As we sat down at the table with them, a glass of Cape Chenin in front of us both, the friend leaned to us and said, “So how long have you been together for?”, we both looked at each other and laughed, we started launching into the story of how this was our first proper date. They were shocked, telling us it had looked like we had been together forever. Something in me wanted to whisper back, “I kind of feel like that, too”. A drink there turned into another drink down the road at one of MM’s friends’ house. We had similar reactions from people there. I felt like I was floating around the room next to him, wondering how the F I got so lucky.
From there we made our way to the Michael McIntyre show at Monte Casino. As a man who seemed quite together, he had actually got the venue wrong and so we landed up running into the opening act a little late. Luckily, actually, cause the first guy was terrible. But, when Michael McIntyre came on, I couldn’t stop laughing. As a girl, who had never really watched comedy, I had been a little nervous that I was not gonna find it funny. But I was in hysterics! To this day, when I need a lift-up, Michael Mc is my go-to! And the best thing, throughout the whole show, we kept having those beautiful moments of sideways glances and secret smiles. My heart was hopping and only started to calm down in that teenage moment when his hand found its way to mine and I just wanted to melt. Where has this man been hiding???
I won’t lie that I had a moment where I looked down and saw his hand and after being in a relationship with another man for so long, it felt foreign and it sent me into a panic for a bit. It felt foreign, and I started to question myself, was this all a little bit too soon. Me, the girl who normally takes years and years to get over someone. How was this happening only 4 months later? I had promised myself to stay true to myself, and so I shifted my hands from his grasp and moved myself a little towards the middle of my seat. I knew he had noticed, but I also knew, he would understand. This was the magic of this man.
And the beauty of this, was once we left the venue and found ourselves sitting at a bar with a GNT in front of us, we unpacked this. What had I felt? Did I need to listen to this feeling? Was I okay? How it made him feel? All the questions that I normally kept reserved for my head or my journal, this beautiful man was facilitating and allowing me to communicate. A style of communication I had never been gifted before. I could tell him my fears and he sat next to me and listened. He didn’t get up, his eyes didn’t get shifty. Or rolly. He sat, he listened and he heard. My gosh, what a gift.
We went back to the guest house with so many words between us. With so much more understanding. Our first date had surpassed any other I had ever had. I fell asleep last night, with a beautiful kiss between us and a head that was swimming with hope and possibility. For myself. But for women, in general, men, lie this was not just fictional characters, they existed. Not a Prince Charming, who stood gallantly on a horse, but a man who value partnership, authentic communication, and vulnerability. And who made me laugh.
I had been instructed to wake up at 5h30am. The next morning was a surprise. And what a beautiful surprise it was. Instead of Prince Charming on a horse, Magic Man was holding out a helmet for me, commandeering his motorbike. He was taking me to Magaliesburg for breakfast. The heaviness of what had passed between us the night before swept away with the wind and we swerved our way a long the beautiful scenery of the Gauteng Province. 5 words I never knew I would say of it 🙂 (CT joke!)
And we sat at a beautiful restaurant, eating our eggs on toast, laughing, holding hands, and doing all the beautiful romantic things you would expect to do when whisked away on a romantic date 🙂 And I was happy. Truly happy.
The flight back to Cape Town was filled with smiles as I reflected on the last 24 hours, filled with so many emotions, so many beautiful moments and so much adoration. Both ways. This was big, this man had the potential to change the way I thought about loving and truly being in love.
To be continued…