I met Dilly at my father’s funeral. I don’t know what made me just know that she was the ONE. But I did. I’ll admit that I wasn’t very suave at our first meeting. Who would be? It was my dad’s funeral.
She said something like, “Hi, I’m Dilly Pidgin; I’m here to pick up my mother. I’m sorry for your loss.” My reply was something like, “I’m Les. Your mom is playing in the sprinkler. I didn’t know she had a daughter.”
“Yeah. That’s me,” she said.
“I don’t know many people in town. We just moved here. I am just glad some people came to the funeral.” God, why was I talking about the funeral? I wanted to tell her how pretty she was and ask her out. I restrained myself because it would have been inappropriate to ask her out while I was supposed to be mourning my dad. She probably already thought I was awkward enough.
I did manage to say, “It was nice to meet you Dilly. I hope we can meet again soon” just before she took her mom home. I remember feeling excited and nervous and sick to my stomach when she said, “Sure Les. I’d like that,” as she ushered her mom into their car.
In the days following my dad’s funeral, I never felt so alone. When Mom died, I at least had Dad to lean on. Now I had no one. But I remembered what my dad said about love. I couldn’t let my grief prevent me from loving. I didn’t want to be alone. I wanted to have a large family. I couldn’t wallow in my loneliness or in my grief. I’d have to make my life happen.
So I called Dilly and asked her out. In my jogs around town after Mom died, I had found this really neat old amphitheatre. I loved being outdoors and I found the whole place very picturesque and romantic. My hope was that Dilly would like it too. I imagined us sitting under the stars and talking like couples do on first dates. Maybe she would want to cuddle up with me because it got cold. Maybe she’d even let me kiss her under the stars. I thought it was a good plan.
We talked for quite some time. I explained that I was a farmer growing organic vegetables and fruit for the local grocer. I told her about us coming from our failed farm in Riverview and how the city of Twinbrook had given us a sort of land grant. “I think that’s great, Les,” she said, touching my arm. “I am a vegetarian, so I am one of your customers. I buy organic all the time.” Dilly was the first person in Twinbrook who seemed to understand what I did for a living and didn’t wonder why I hadn’t gotten a “real” job.
I found out that Dilly worked for the newspaper. She said she wasn’t a great writer, but she wanted to be on television some day. “Television,” I said (here’s where the date went a little south). “I don’t understand why people need television in their lives. It ruins people’s minds. Technology is the opiate of the masses.” (I had heard that somewhere and felt smart saying it out loud.)
“What? There’s nothing wrong with television. People need entertainment in their lives or they turn to more destructive things like drugs or alcohol,” Dilly argued. We debated for a time and I found out that Dilly was a pretty prolific reader. We agreed to disagree on the issue of television and talked about books, but I could tell that the romance of the stars and the amphitheatre lights had worn off. Nevertheless, I attempted a goodnight kiss before I took Dilly home. It was a bust.
The worst part of being alone is there is no one to help do the house chores. Farmers don’t make a lot of money. I may be more successful here than in Riverview, but I don’t have enough to hire a maid. I’m the only one in the house, so I do all of the cleaning, laundry, cooking, minor repairs, etc. It’s exhausting at times.
I met Dilly at the door. I greeted her with a handshake, which I know was sort of dumb and awkward. I didn’t feel like we were on hugging terms yet, though. I hoped to be by the end of the date. I really wanted to hug her.
“Did you make this yourself?” Dilly seemed impressed that I could cook. “I don’t know how to cook,” she admitted. “I’ve always wanted to try, but my mom insists on eating take-out or going out to eat. She doesn’t keep any food in the house. Not even leftovers. She’s a bit eccentric.”
I found out that Dilly’s mom was not just eccentric, but also a little insane. I had already sensed from my interactions with her that she had an almost child-like mind, but then so did Dilly. The difference between her and her mother was that Dilly could take care of herself. Milly could not. Dilly told me about how Milly was always searching for men to take care of her. The latest man, Dilly said, was half her mother’s age. Dilly didn’t like him.
“The funny thing is that there really isn’t any money.” Dilly explained that most of her mom’s worth was in the house they lived in. Dilly’s father had left it to her Mom but had provided a clause in his will saying that it would revert to the state when Milly passed away. Even the allowance that Milly received would go to local charities after she passed on. Dilly didn’t think that Chet Racket knew about her dad’s conditions.
“Dad was also a little crazy,” Dilly admitted.
“Why didn’t you get the house and some of the money?” I asked. Dilly blushed.
“Well, I’m not really his daughter. Not by blood. No one knows who my real dad is. I don’t even think Milly knows.”
I thought that was terrible, but I didn’t say it out loud. Instead I changed the subject to my own family. Dilly enjoyed my stories of my mom and dad. She said she always wanted a family more like mine. This made me very happy.
The evenings is one of the best ones of my life. I will always remember it. Dilly and I played chess out on the porch. Neither of us were very good at the game, but that just made it more fun. We laughed a lot when we made errors. Then we danced while the sun set behind us. Dilly didn’t even mind the terrible view of the junkyard. Instead she commented on how the sunlight reflected off the river and how green and alive my plants looked.
“I’d like to kiss you,” I said when we were slow dancing.
“I’d like that,” Dilly said, blushing slightly.
And so I did. It was my first kiss. I knew it would be amazing and it was.