Tuesday night was date night. I would sneak out of work five minutes early to catch the train, dart out onto the street dodging traffic as I went and bound up the escalator. No time for standing. I was on a mission. Tap tap tap. The ride home was an exercise in self-control as my excitement tried to escape through my jittering fingertips and tapping toes. A quick stop on my way home and I burst through the door of our little townhouse which we shared with two other guys. He was waiting for me. No words were exchanged. We scurried into our room and the evening of exhilaration began.
The machines were already running, their gentle humming enough to quicken my heart. I placed the paper bag carefully on the bed and served out our two shares. He got us prepped and set up.
“Ready?” He asked. I’d already started. He helped himself and we both agreed wordlessly that this was the best ones we’d had. Or was it just the anticipation from last week’s session?
He always finished before I did. But he never started the next part without me. He waited patiently and even tidied up a bit. I washed my hands and sat down next to him.
“Are they there? Let’s go!” I said, and put on my headphones. I started my session and was dropped into a war zone, bringing up the rear behind my teammates who were in reality spread across the country but to me were right there with me, in my ears and waving directions at each other.
“I’m down!” Scout said.
“Coming!” I replied and ran over with my defib.
Four hours later I was struggling to keep my eyes open but my heart was still pounding. My reflexes were on edge. But my cheeks were hurting from the smile on my face. It was time to log off and say good night. And clean up the food wrappers that we’d left strewn around the room.
I went to sleep with the game’s theme music playing in my head on repeat – and woke up with it playing.
Greeting my colleagues in the morning someone asked if I’d gotten up to anything last night.
“Oh just date night,” I said.
“Ooooh did you have a good night?”
“Sure did! We played games for four hours!”
“Oh.” She replied. And promptly walked away.
Best date ever.