| 2018 | 01 | 22 | #25dates 1. the one I should've walked away from |

I'm writing my #25dates series to try and remind myself that I've had some really great experiences with people and it actually can be fun.

I think first dates always carry with them the hope of a new beginning, the potential for something new. I just wish I'd left it there.

- - -

It was early June, around 20 degrees and I'd just finished my yoga class. I was slightly fearful that my carefully tied up hair and lightly made up face had long since slipped and that he'd see me not as a hot mess, but simply as a hot mess. 

I sighed, packing up my mat and trying to check my reflection in my phone all the while my yoga instructor touted positive assertions for the evening. I barely registered her chirpy goodbye and well wishing, murmuring what I deemed to be an appropriate response. Their faces informed me I may have misjudged things. Nothing new here. They think I'm weird anyway. 

I walked slowly from the building, heading over to the boat racks without wanting to look too keen. 

I was too keen. Damn it. I was early. 

I did another loop back to my car, dropping off my spare kit and changing my shoes. The low summer sun tickled my back and I smiled at the pre-date jitters. 

I wasn't nervous really though. I was slightly excited. 

The other group got off the river and walked up the muddy path to put their equipment away - he spotted me in the distance and waved. 

Ah. So much for keeping this low key. Twenty pairs of eyes were on us as he trotted over, a huge grin on his face. 

It was infectious, and soon the conversation was flowing, despite the chuckles and giggles from those around. I grabbed my stable K1 and we made our way down to the water. 

I can't really describe my love of the river in summer. You can't have a bad day out there. As we pushed off the pontoon I felt a calm wash over me and I'd borderline forgotten that I was meant to be making a good impression. 

We did a long version of the time trial course, putting our paddles down every other stroke to chat. I was being my usual bolshy self, and could see he wasn't quite sure what to make of it.

We were laughing, and generally getting along. 

All too soon the paddle had come to an end and we agreed it was time to get off the water. Walking back up to the racks he offered for me to come to dinner (which I declined) and left me with the words. 

'We should definitely hang out more.'

I smiled the whole way home.