Luke’s and I’s last date night was May 3, 2019. We went out for sushi like we so often would on nights we didn’t have previous commitments or weekly gigs. Being newly married without kids, we usually had plenty of time for date nights. This one was different, though. This one wasn’t in celebration, but in an effort to cheer us both up after receiving the news that I had PCOS. Luke called it the “Sorry Your Ovaries Are Covered in Cysts” date night (I do get a good chuckle out of that now, but at the time it wasn’t that humorous). That whole week prior was full of blood work and ultrasounds and waiting… lots and lots of waiting. Prior to that was 6 months of negative tests thrown into a trashcan, quickly covered with layers of Puffs w/ Lotion that held the tears of shame and disappointment that my body had failed yet again. A cheering up kind of date night was very needed, at this point.
I don’t remember the food being exceptionally stellar or the drinks being too strong. I don’t even remember what either of us wore. What I do remember is the way Luke held open every door and pulled out my chair before I sat down. I remember the way his cologne smelled on his chest and the softness of his hands as they held mine. I remember the way he looked at me…the same way he looked at me the first night we met, the night we got engaged, and our wedding night. He smiled that dimple-filled grin, and he spoke to me so sweetly. “You look beautiful tonight, my sweetheart,” he said.
We didn’t talk about the diagnosis. We didn’t talk about infertility. We didn’t talk about sad things. Instead, we laughed. We cheers-ed our cocktails like we did every time, we talked about our days and upcoming weekend plans, and we relished in each other’s company.
We spent the drive home with fingers interlocked and listening to old, familiar music. We opened a bottle of wine in the living room, and we spent the next couple hours playing his old Nintendo 64. Luke was enthralled that I grew up playing the same games that he did, and he was continuously surprised that I was good at them. He cheered me on as I tried to beat levels, the same way he would cheer me on if I was attempting a challenging new recipe or playing a tricky song on the piano. He never stopped encouraging me and affirming me that my best was more than enough. My best was even better than he imagined.
As the night grew late, I headed to bed before him, as I did nearly every night. I kissed his warm, soft (very much not dead) lips, and I went to bed. I said the same thing to him that night that I did every single night of our relationship: “I love you. Sweet dreams.” It will always be sad to think that it was the last time I’d say that to my husband. It will always be sad to know that I would spend the next night in a stuffy ICU room praying over my lifeless soulmate. That memory will always be sad, but the memory of our last date night together will always make me smile. As morbid as it sounds, it was about as perfect of a night as you would want before you are going to die the next day.
I’ve since been back to that restaurant many times since that night, and while the food and drinks and atmosphere have stayed the same, it will always feel a little different…a little bittersweet. I imagine that Luke sits down next to me every time I go there now, and I silently cheers him every time. I don’t know what Heaven looks like, but if Luke is involved, I know that the bartender up there must make a mean Sake-Tini…
*raises glass of red wine*
Cheers, Babe…I miss you down here.