As I walked through the lobby of the hotel in my four inch pink heels, I remembered the last time I was here. I had worn a teal wrap dress with a Louis Vuitton shoulder bag. I was worried that my dress wasn’t classy enough for the Ritz. Back then I was interning for a partner at a law firm and I was at the then Ritz Carlton for a luncheon to celebrate an award she won.
This time, the hotel looked very different. Now branded as the Camby, it was much more contemporary but it still had a Ritz air about it. When I reached my room, I opened the curtains and admired the view: The Biltmore Fashion Park stood center and Camelback Mountain loomed in the distance.
I had only a moment to admire all of it before my phone buzzed. Was it Mr. Unicorn? No.”
This is Jolene. Yes, I’ll be meeting the client in the morning and I’ll make a decision depending on how it goes. I’ll give you an update midday.” I said to a colleague before dropping my phone by my side. Sitting on the sofa, I opened my laptop and began working. I had just a few emails to send and then I could allow myself time to unpack, lay out my dresses, order room service and a wake up call for the morning.
The next day would be full of meetings and then I would see Mr. Unicorn in person for the first time in 623 days. But who was counting?
My foundation went on like butter and my eyeshadow brush seemed to place just the right amount of soulful in the crease that night. I bronzed my skin with with careful strokes, let my hair down around my face and let out a deep breath of relief. He was coming to take me to dinner. This was really happening.
I stepped out of the bathroom and slipped into my favorite white dress. I wrapped a Chanel toggle necklace around my neck and put on cream ankle strap heels each with a delicate bow on the center of the toe box. As I stepped in front of the full length mirror to glance at my reflection, I felt confident. I knew I had chosen the perfect look for our second date. I looked delicate yet refined and classy – all of which were a true reflection of how I felt that night.
“I think I knocked on the wrong door. Did you say 646 or …?” Mr. Unicorn’s voice boomed through my speaker as he tried to find my room.
“I’m sorry, I think I told you the wrong room number. Its the first room to your right when you exit the elevator.” I explained.
When I opened the door, I saw a man that seemed taller and even more handsome than I had remembered and I realized that facetime was a poor substitute for real time. He wore a navy blue suit over a cream dress shirt. His shoes were a dark golden brown and everything I thought I felt for him before was surpassed by the emotions I felt now. By the end of that December night, I thought for sure it was love but it would be months before we would say those words.
As we walked through the lobby, I remembered how it felt to walk with him the last time. Some things don’t change. We stepped outside and a group of men and women turned toward us.
“Wow, I love your dress!” a man said as he admired me.
“Isn’t she stylish?” Mr. Unicorn responded with a smile.
He took me to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, opened doors for me and made me feel deeply appreciated. We found ourselves talking late into the night lying side by side. It was perfect but I wondered, would it last? How could it work with so much distance between us?
663 Days later…
Time and space no longer keep us apart. When we had our second date, we lived 384 miles away from each other.
Tonight he sleeps with his head rested on a pillow shared with a dog that was once his. Now, we lovingly refer to her as the baby. Tommy has fallen asleep before me and as I sit here with my long red nails tapping at the keys, I worry that I too will fall asleep before I finish this post.
I enjoy looking back to our second date and thinking about how much our relationship has evolved since then. Happiness fills my life in ways I could never have expected. We aren’t perfect. I forget to do things I’ve promised and sometimes he is too tired to give me the chiropractic squeeze I have become accustomed to.
What they say about love is that you’ll just know and before it happened to me, I often hoped the wrong person would turn into the right one. But these days, I’m grateful that those hopes went unfulfilled.
For me the most striking thing about the right relationship is the effect that unconditional love and unwavering support has on my life. From the start, Tommy has believed in me and saw me as the best version of myself. He encourages me to achieve my goals and that encouragement is freeing. We support each other’s ambitions and that is a wonderful feeling.
His love and support has allowed me to feel present in the pursuit of my goals. I never realized how much my career needed that.
To be continued…