“I wish I could see you Monday, but I can’t, I already promised my cousin Xochitl that I’d go visit her in Austin, just us girls. I promise, I’ll be back Tuesday afternoon and we can do a late lunch.”
I let out a big sigh, I knew that she probably wasn’t going to be able to wiggle out of that obligation, but I was hoping that maybe, just maybe she would. “Lana, you’re breaking my heart, you know you are the air I breathe. I might suffocate without you.”
“Garrick, you are being melodramatic. I love you, but yeah, the melodramatics are a bit much my dear. I will be back for lunch on Tuesday, okay? You lived just fine without me for 30 years before you met me. While I am so glad that you will miss me so much that you may require scuba gear to get around in addition to your trusty white cane, I think you will be fine. Well, as long as you don’t put on the flippers, that is a tripping hazard for anyone, sighted or not.”
I laugh, as she does have a point, but I go on,“What am I going to do when the latest episode of NCIS comes on? Who is going to tell me what is going on? Ziva the kitty is not as talkative as her namesake on the show, you know.”
“Gar, you know that show is one of the few that has audio descriptions, right?”
I pout. Yes, I am a 30-year-old guy, pouting. I am madly in love with this girl!
“Fine, you win. The audio descriptions aren’t as good as yours, though.”
Lana giggles. “Oh Garrick, my darling, I’m flattered. If you are so worried that the audio descriptions fail to meet your high standards, then you can always DVR it and I’ll happily watch it with you when I get back.”
I sigh again, dramatically, “Okay, you promise?’
“Yes, I promise.”
As promised, Lana returned Tuesday afternoon. She knocked at my door to pick me up for our lunch date. I reached for her and she met my embrace. I inhaled her scent deeply. She was wearing her signature Lavender, but something was different about her. I reached up to her face, gave her a tender kiss and then went exploring. Her hair was different. Not shorter, but somehow different, it took me a moment to realize what was going on. I paused and asked her “What did you do to your hair? Did you…” I pat it a bit, “Did you straighten it?” Lana almost purred as I explored her hair.
“Yup, I was in the mood to straighten it, I’m usually too lazy, but since I was with my cousin Xochitl, she offered to do it for me, so I figured, why not?”
“Huh, different, I don’t mind getting my fingers tangled in your waves, but this is nice too.” As I finished that sentence, my stomach rumbled, “I guess it seems that my stomach has decided that it is definitely lunch time, shall we head out?”
Lana and I walked out the front door and she tapped the back of my hand and I slid my hand up to the usual spot on her elbow. I followed her to her car and asked, “So, where to? What are you in the mood for?”
Lana thought about it for a minute and then said “ How about burgers? I was thinking Chris Madrid’s? They have delicious burgers there!”
“Sounds good to me babe, let’s go!”
When we arrived it was very busy. I’m guessing it was a good place to eat judging by the volume of noise caused by the large amounts of people chatting. We got in line and placed our orders and then went to got find a seat. It must have been very busy because I ended up having to follow directly behind Lana to avoid tripping over people and chairs. We struggled to find a spot to sit, eventually, Lana spotted a table in the back and we were just happy not to be stuck outside. Soon the beeper thingy was buzzing and Lana went to pick up our order. Normally, I’d go with her, but it was so busy, that while we didn’t want to have to worry about navigating the crowd, the bigger concern was that we’d lose our seats. Lana quickly returned and set down our burgers and fries.
“Okay, Garrick, your burger is at your 9 o’clock, fries are kinda hanging out between 12 and 3 and I put the ketchup at your 6 and the pickle is pointing at … ehhh… 7:30?”
I laugh when she gets so specific like that, one of these days, she is going to bust out with something being at 3:17 and 43 seconds or something oddly precise like that! I start to dig in and I realize that she forgot to tell me where my drink was. I carefully search with the back of my hand so I don’t bowl over my cup, wherever it is when she slides it over to me. “Thanks, hon!” I tell her. “No problem!” she replies. I love how she just does little things like that and it is no big deal. We both enjoy our meal in near silence. Unusual yes, but we were both that hungry and it was that good! We head to the car and our exit is much less of a challenge to maneuver. We must have come at the end of the lunch rush because it is far less crowded as we leave.
We get in the car and Lana announces to me that “I had my girl time yesterday with Xochitl, so today, it is your turn! I have a little plan for us, but I’m not telling you where we are going just yet, it’s a little surprise.”
“Okie, dokie!” I respond, because what else can I say? I know my girl when she has a surprise planned, there is no getting any details out of her, so I just go with the flow.
Soon we are parked. Not too far from the burger place, which gives me a small clue, but not really. There is a faint scent of animal poo in the air, so I know we are near the zoo, but not that close. Hmm, we could be at The Witte Museum, but maybe not. We get out and she leads us to the gate where we enter, and I hear a fountain in the distance. Now I’m confused. She makes a bee-line for a certain area, which since I’m still not sure where we are, doesn’t help me figure this out in the slightest. She usually is good about describing things, but she really wants to surprise me. She finally stops. She gently takes my hand from her arm and places it on a…. a plant? Okay, well, this isn’t what I expected, but okay. Are we at a plant nursery that charges entry? Oh, I think I’ve figured this out. “Lana, are we at the Botanical Gardens?”
She sounds excited as she answers “Yes, yes we are!”
I smile, really just to placate her, as I am not exactly sure why she is so excited. She seems to realize that I’m not nearly as thrilled as she is, so she tells me “Gar, honey, give me your hand.” I place my hand in her general direction as she takes my hand and guides it towards something. A hard square, no, wait. I spend a moment exploring where my hand has been placed, and I realize that there is braille at the top of this. “Welcome to the Garden for the Blind” it reads. I continue reading “In this garden, you will find many scents and textures. Each plant has been labeled with its name and other information about the plant. Please enjoy.” I smile with a smile that fills my face, this is why she wanted to come here. I had never been to the Botanical Gardens because, I never thought there would be anything of interest to me, frankly I was afraid I’d end up in a poison ivy garden or something! “Lana! Come here you!” she comes to me, I pull her into me and well, thankfully we were alone in that garden that afternoon because things may have gotten a little steamy as I was very, very thankful for her surprise…