I had the privilege of going ice skating outdoors, in Houston for the first time last Christmas…twice. The experience was a great deal like déjà vu- except the same events happened in the same order two nights in a row, with two different people.
The first evening out was completely played off of the cuff. I met a good guy friend of mine downtown after work anticipating one of our usual marathon sessions of venturing to as many places in one night as we could, but we decided to change our pace… in the spirit of the holidays, of course. First, we tried a restaurant called The Grove at Discovery Green- which is not only elegant but delicious! Then, after a bit of deliberation, we strolled over to the outdoor ice skating rink where we weaved through wobbling teens, fallen children and couples skating hand-in-hand (I assumed for balance/support because I didn’t find the activity very romantic). When the ice got slushy, this is Houston after all, and they herded us all to the sidelines like cattle, we decided we had experienced all there was to the…er, concept of outdoor ice skating. We called it an early night (sore feet, ankles and all) and exchanged goodbyes, just as a set of sprinklers sprayed us with their icy cold mist.
The next morning I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers at work with a note that read “there’s more to come this evening, just be sure to dress warm,” signed “yours truly.” Sweet gesture aside, I was, at the time, rather smitten by this particular guy, so in preparation for the evening, which was a considerable degree colder than the previous, I left work early to shop for a new outfit. Houston living does not necessitate a solid winter weather wardrobe, and besides, I wanted to look my best!
He picked me up at my place and started heading into Houston, and further still into town until we arrived downtown. After parking, near Discovery Green, I felt the déjà vu.
He took me by the hand, smiled triumphantly and said “I really hope that you are hungry… you’re going to love this place!” After a short walk, we arrived at The Grove. He was right; I was going to love the place…I do love the place. I tried to act as surprised and in awe of the place as possible because I hated to ruin the evening for him by admitting I had been there the night before. I was just hoping that none of the wait staff recognized or outted me either.
After our meal, he hustled me out the door, down the short corridor to, you guessed it, the ice skating rink. He, a native Missourian, was so proud of himself for “being the first to take me on the ice outside;” I did not have the heart to tell him that someone popped that cherry the night before. I giggled to myself, smiled appreciatively and said I couldn’t wait to experience it with him. We skated around the rink, racing each other, then holding hands (it actually was kind of romantic after all with the right company) until, once again, we were ushered off of the rapidly melting ice.
We strolled through downtown, took pictures with a drunk bum dressed as Santa and tested the Christmas cake balls at Minuti Coffee, which I highly recommend! As the night neared its end, and we walked back to the car, (I could not make this up if I tried) a set of sprinklers spat out a freezing rain onto us forcing us to sprint the next block…with me in heels.