On hole 16 of the Boomers Mini-Golf she hit her ball into a hole in which it disappeared entirely.
We spent a short time standing over the tiny abyss attempting to peer through the darkness for any hint of a small pink ball. There was nothing.
Prodding the suspicious opening with my putter, I briefly bent down and considered whether or not it would be a good idea to reach my hand into a hole from which there was apparently no return.
We looked at eachother and collectively decided against it.
It was clear that the hole must have led into a tunnel which led to another part of the course. We decided to take a look around for any other possible exit areas. The most obvious was the little circular patch of torn astro-turf only a few feet away. There were three holes for the ball to escape from, yet there was no evidence of it's presence. We walked around the perimiter of the small course and surveyed any other possible options, such as the miniature Eiffel Tower not far away.
The most likely reason for the ball's disappearance was that it had somehow lodged itself in the vast underground tunnels of Boomers.
We both stood back near the miniature Eiffel Tower as a family behind us played their way through the same course. It was clear that they were putt-putt pro's, as none of their balls even came close to the same hole we encountered and instead rolled their way up the ramp and into another hole further away.
While this was good for the family, considering that they wouldn't have to deal with an insant game-over, for us the mystery of the black hole on the Boomers miniature golf course looked like it would never be solved.
The good news however, was that we both realized neither of us actually liked miniature golf that much.
It was our second choice after my idea of ice skating was foiled by odd closing hours. This was another mystery that wouldn't be solved that night due to the fact that the only person we could ask was a foreign street sweeper. When I asked him "What time does the ice rink close?" He replied with a helpful, "Eet's closed." and then continued to sweep the rest of the abandoned parking lot.
So we continued putting our way through Boomers and their disturbingly complex mini-golf layout. This time we continued with one ball, and having long ago discarded any urge to keep score we hit the ball back and forth, often getting stuck on steep ramps.
I believe it was on hole 19 that we found ourselves putting endlessly over a small mound of turf, and I didn't just feel content, I felt something more than that.
I leaned in to her while on the couch and I said exactly what I had been so scared to ask, whether or not I could put my arm around her.
She hummed a yes, and I twisted my arm in the air, surprising myself in how much it was unintentionally similar to the way guys do it in the movies. It was an awkward movement. My arm reached high above me until my elbow passed her head, and it lowered comfortably behind her.
All throughout dinner with her, all I could think about was how much I just wanted to hold her close to me. She was sitting with her familiar yellow jacket talking about her family, and all I wanted to do was be closer to her. I wanted her to know that if there's one thing in this world that anyone did right it was helping her become who she is today,
With my head leaning over hers, her soft hair tucked underneath my chin, I realized I knew it far better than any words could describe.
On hole 16 that ball disappeared into a strange abyss where it would apparently remain lost forever, but in that very moment, I never felt more comfortable about where I was.