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Will you go out to dinner with me?

I stepped into the restaurant for the hundredth time, and as always, the memories of our first time came to mind...

'I had walked in, as she strolled in with her beautiful dress into the chair I had pulled out for her. Thoughts were rushing through my mind, as they had been for the past two days. I had asked her out to a nice Cuban restaurant a nice 10 minute stroll from our university. Papi's it was called, and the nervousness I tried to hide. Why was I so afraid, I had thought to myself, god, I was being ridiculous.

"Hey, I'm Mark, i'll be your waiter today, let's start off, what can I get y'all to drink :)?"

The usual, I'd take an Iron Beer. She looked at me in confusion and I gladly explained the non-alcoholic nature of the Cuban soda I had ordered. She giggled. Mark came back and took our orders as we dreamed on about our desires to travel and our crazy ideas as to where we would go.

As we went through the main course, I finally felt at ease. I felt like I had really gotten to know this girl, and I was slowly getting to feel really comfortable talking to her.'

What a great memory I had at that restaurant. And here I was yet again, building more memories as today was our first year anniversary. We had spent 365 days together, and here we sat in the same Cuban restaurant, celebrating our year, as I ordered my traditional Iron Beer with the daily special dish of rice, beans, and 'ropa vieja', along with some lovely platanos. I remembered how scared I was when my cold hands pulled out that antique wooden chair in the corner of that restaurant I had grown to love. I knew how much she would love the petals on the pink roses I bought alongside the heart shaped Tres Leches I had custom-made for her. Mark still worked there and winked at me as we prepared to have dessert*. We had talked time and time again about the details of tonight, and he had prepared the final part of our dinner to perfection. I was ecstatic. As he approached, a fellow friend of Mark came over, and served a bowl of Ferrero Rocher chocolates with a shot of Khalua in mid-center in front of me. Mark put down the lovely Tres Leches surrounded by pink petals exactly as we had over-rehearsed, and we looked up to each other, as our lips synchronized 'Happy Anniversary'. We had both planned surprises for the same dinner dish and Mark kept his mouth shut the whole time. It all worked to warm my heart as I realized, I love this girl. And that was a thought I had never had when I first took a bite of the garlic yuca we had as an appetizer exactly one year back.

Love is nothing when you meet, it is merely an idea of something that lies in the future, something that you can only get with living experiences and with moments of true happiness, peak experiences in the words of Abraham Maslow, it is those moments when you truly get to know your significant other, that builds up to love.

Love isn't about the appetizer, it's long ways away down near the heart-felt dessert of a shot of Khalua waiting to be tasted. It's in the petals of a pink rose, that are a long ways away from that first date. Sometimes, it'll be the dessert you'll take with you forever, but sometimes it'll just be a simple dinner that ended there, with an overcooked apple pie or an ice cream that was left out to melt for too long before it was served. But those other times, it'll be perfect. It'll melt in your mouth just as you wanted it to, and warm your heart like a melting ice cream as it shimmers above a passionately hot brownie.

What can I say, it was a good dinner. But whatever you do, whether its skip to dessert or just have an appetizer, I beg of you one thing, don't ever stop eating <3.

qk

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