I could have bought eight chickens with the amount of money that Glenn was willing to pay for just the meat as I glanced at the prices on the menu. The baked potato was seven dollars and the salad another ten. I closed the menu and looked at Glenn and said, “You don’t have to pay this much money for dinner. I like you already, there’s no need to spend this kind of money.” Very firmly and in a low voice, Glenn assured me that he eats in restaurants like this all of the time. He just doesn’t know that I can prepare meals far more elaborate and delicious than what we were about to have. If he only knew that I am a good cook.
I met Glenn in a chat room shortly before I was divorced. We talked for a few months, and then he begged me to meet him. He lived in southern Indiana near Louisville and I live in the Northern portion of the state. We decided to meet half way in Indianapolis and make a day of it while we were there. It was really too soon for me to be dating someone. The divorce knocked the wind out of me, and I desperately needed to know that someone else would find me attractive.
Glenn is a Native American from the Lumbee tribe, with short salt and pepper hair, dark brown eyes, perfect pearly white teeth, and is not a whole lot taller than I am. He drove up in a silver car that resembled one from the 40’s with narrow windows that the gangsters used to shoot their guns out of in the movies. He arrived, wearing jeans, a light blue dress shirt, and cowboy boots. The boots were a golden color, almost yellow, with about an inch or so heel. He said that they were alligator. I’ve never seen a yellow alligator. They looked so out of place with his ensemble, but strangely right for him. Draped around his neck was a gold chain and his hands were adorned with rings. He was dressed to impress. Glenn spoke with the most wonderful Southern drawl. I was quickly drawn in. Although, I found it odd that an Indian would succumb to speaking like the rest of the Southerners but was delighted that he gave in it.
Our day started with breakfast at a quaint little diner in the heart of the city. We ate and chatted for a long time. He told me stories about his family. Like me, he grew up poor. Living in North Carolina with his mother and brothers, they grew tobacco in order to survive. Growing up on the reservation proved to be difficult, with lack of opportunities, and no prospects on the horizon. In the middle of their one room shack was a pot belly stove that provided hot meals and warmth for their home. Their father left when Glenn was a child. His mother loved them all very much and administered strict discipline on her fatherless children as often as she saw fit, which means in Southern terms he got a lot of whoopings. He eventually worked hard enough to get an electricians degree and makes a good living.
After breakfast, we made our way to the White River Canal. I guess it is a well known tourist spot in Indianapolis. In a way it reminded me of pictures of Italy. Shops lined both sides of the canal and one could stop off and have a cold drink or a bite to eat while strolling along. Quaint little bridges crossed the canal and I expected to see a gondola go by at any time.
The next stop was at the Indian Museum and then on to the Children’s Museum. We spent hours looking at paintings, sculptures, and glass ceilings. We walked and talked until near exhaustion. Around 4 o’clock we were starving. Glenn suggested that I choose a place to eat. He expressed that he really wanted to eat steak. I had only been to Indianapolis a few times and didn’t know where many restaurants were. We were told that there were a lot of good places to eat in the area. We were given a map and I picked Ruth Cris not knowing anything about the establishment. This restaurant is much like Eddie Merlot’s in Fort Wayne. When we arrived it was lavish on the inside. The lights were dim and the tables had white tablecloths with all of the finery that one expects in such a high class place. I was not dressed well enough to dine there and felt out of place because I was wearing jeans and gym shoes. Glenn insisted that we give it a try. We were shown a table right away and given menus. The prices were extravagant for just everyday food. I would have much rather ate at the Texas Roadhouse than to blow money in such a way. We talked for a long time after dinner. Then we made our way back to my car. We hugged each other and said goodbye, then each one headed back to their home. He promised to call, but I knew that I wasn’t ready yet to put my heart out there again. I still loved my husband. I thought about him while driving back home. The tears welled in my eyes and spilled over onto my cheeks. Why can’t love be easy?