It was actually pretty interesting what I came across while reading old entries of Triumphs & Tribulations earlier. On this very day in 2010, I wrote in Triumphs & Tribulations XI about “a defining moment”. I had just got back to my room at The Georgian Terrace Hotel after having dinner with The Cocoa Goddess in what I deemed “the most important outing for us since the Rihanna concert at Wild Adventures”. While my thoughts lingered toward Tokyo in the Summer of 2011, especially with her wearing the diamond pendant necklace I gifted her, the reason I was even in Atlanta on that night wasn’t lost on me. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: The Nutcracker date at the Fox.
How I first came across this moment? After taking in The Nutcracker for the first time on Christmas Eve 2009 at the New National Theatre, Tokyo, I was hooked. I decided when I got back to my place in Fussa that I’d make it an annual thing. When I got notification, in February 2010, that I was going to be assigned to Joint Base Andrews, I actually had plans to check it out at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. A funny thing happened on the way to that manifesting: the Cocoa Goddess and I went steady. As our thing progressed, I decided we could go see the performance at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. It was a 2-hour JetBlue flight from Baltimore for me, a 3-hour drive up I-75 for her. We settled on a Friday night performance: December 10, 2010. I purchased the tickets, waited on time, and eventually made my way to Atlanta.
What it meant to me then? For me, it was a special occasion. Of course, the uber excitement of seeing The Nutcracker for the first time wasn’t at play here. What was at play was me taking a date to see The Nutcracker. I had planned to take Chavon to see it in Jacksonville back in December 2006 but the drama of our fast-unraveling relationship dashed that planned evening. I wore one of my best suits that night…and even took in a couple splashes of Burberry Touch. The performance itself was electrifying. The Atlanta Ballet definitely was well-rehearsed for the occasion. I made sure I got seats with a good view of the orchestra. At the end, this fake snow started falling from the ceiling and The Cocoa Goddess grabbed my hand as we both looked up. It was a magical couple of hours, which concluded with dinner in the hotel across the street. As the kids say, “you couldn’t tell me nothing”.
What it means to me now? Here we are, 11 years to the day of that night in Atlanta. I did go on to see The Nutcracker twice more—at Kennedy Center in 2011 and the Hong Kong Culture Centre in 2012. On both occasions, I attended alone. The 2010 performance at the Fox in Atlanta remains the only time I’ve taken a date to see the famed holiday ballet. But it was the events of the next morning that resonate when we consider what that moment means to me now. When we met for breakfast the next morning, The Cocoa Goddess returned the necklace and ended our relationship…the whole she wanted to be a Georgia girl forever thing. What was supposed to be a Saturday outing in the city turned into me hopping an early flight back to Maryland with my heart in shambles. Two things happened as a result of the aftermath of The Nutcracker date: (1) my uncomfortable disposition toward Atlanta intensified considerably and (2) it set off a chain of events that carried my dating life for the next 5 ½ years later. A couple of months later, I met The Community Planner and went steady with her…even though I was still mourning the loss of The Cocoa Goddess. A life-changing text message led that led to a summer I’d like to forget that led to me leaving for South Korea that led to me taking the USACE job and ending up in a relationship with Miss Stillman College that ended in sour fashion led to me striking out with The Canadian Cutie, which eventually led to me meeting my wife. I’m certainly grateful for everything that happened in hindsight.