wings and things

Chapter 53: First date [1978]

on October 25, 2021

It wasn’t a date per se but it was memorable nevertheless. Anthony had decided to take me out for dinner as a way of saying goodbye before I left for the strange Bible college in Sydney.

I had never been taken out for dinner before so I was very nervous and shy. When Anthony picked me up from my parents’ house, I was a bit nonplussed to see him looking rather dapper in his dressed-to-go-out clothes as I was so accustomed to seeing him in his dairy farmer attire – black football shorts and t-shirt.

I tried, and succeeded, not to swoon as he opened the passenger door of his beautifully polished car (I think it was the Torana A9X but it might have been the Holden GT- another story). We talked all the way to the restaurant in an adjacent town, Bunbury, but I have no recollection of what we talked about because, as well as the age gap, we had absolutely nothing in common.

At the time, Bunbury didn’t have that many restaurants but Eagle Towers had a reputation for their cuisine, so that’s where Anthony took me. The restaurant was a very old house and its conversion to an eating venue had included keeping the rather heavy decor – thick, red carpet and rather dramatic wallpaper in a black and white swirly pattern; it was almost brothel-like but of course I didn’t know what a brothel looked like then, and still don’t.

I remember how delicious the food was but I have no recollection of what we ate. It was probably dhufish which was very popular at the time. Anthony ordered a half bottle of champagne which I thought was terribly exciting. And, to finish off, we had Irish coffee which was also very exciting.

It would be so good if I could remember more details about this wonderful evening and I may, in fact, have misremembered some of the details about the decor, the food, our conversation, because none of those things really mattered. What mattered is/was how Anthony and I consolidated our connection as friends. The romance was just there, tentatively peeking through, but waiting in the wings. I already knew that I loved him with all my heart, but he didn’t. Or maybe he did but wouldn’t acknowledge it because I was so young.

I didn’t want to leave Eagle Towers; I wanted to stay there forever with Anthony but eventually it came time to pay the bill. As I stood beside my handsome best friend, I felt an extraordinary sense of well-being until the waitress gave him the bill and he was $5 short. That kind of discrepancy wouldn’t matter these days but, as the meal only came to $45, it was significant. Anthony was very embarrassed and I didn’t have any cash so we found ourselves in a bit of an awkward situation.

Somehow Anthony resolved things and we laughed all the way home to my parents’ house.

This is one of my favourite memories!

5 responses to “Chapter 53: First date [1978]

  1. susanpoozan says:

    What a lovely one.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Utterly delightful!

  3. So it should be, it is a lovely memory

  4. tootlepedal says:

    Champagne! Quite a night out.

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