Whoever said the Windsor knot was easy should pick a dictionary for once in their lives. I don’t know how many times I’ve tried it, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t look right. I can tell, my own reflection on the mirror doesn’t lie. The suit looks damn good, the haircut is top notch, I’m looking great… except for the tie.
But really, I’m done with it. No more tries. Besides, Gemma won’t notice…
… Or will she? Maybe she will! Stupid knot, I’ll…!
No, stop! A subpar Windsor won’t ruin this night. Our night. Think positive, Nate, think positive…
… Think of the first time we met. That Size Diversity forum, three years ago. I still remember that silly “Hi, I’m NATE and I’m GIANT” tag. Heh... And all those good friends, both big and small. My roomie Josh introducing me to Gemma, how chill she was despite me being gigantic and her being… ‘normal sized’? She’s so cool with us giants… but aren’t they tinies so we are the normal ones?
No, focus, focus!
Fine. All those Size Diversity meetings, the time we’ve spent with our friends… And in those moments, both Gemma and I have always been connected, like in a different level. Since the very first minute, in a very personal way.
Good, stick with that, Nate. This ‘something’ we nurtured until it bloomed, with all those late-night chats, those jokes and those stories.
Yeah: we’re going on our first date! Tonight!
Damn, I’m getting nervous again, right? OK… Just take a deep breath, everything’s gonna be alright, nothing will go wrong, this is our night… Our night…
“Hey, Nate. Getting all fancy, big guy?”
Wait, who…? Oh, look who’s showing at the very last minute. Good old Josh, right on my nightstand. Six feet —how tall was that? Oh, yes, goes barely past my ankle—, but the guy knows how to navigate this giant’s house. And snarking as usual. What is he doing here, anyway? Didn’t he have plans for tonight too?
“Best I could, Josh. Must give a good impression, and…”
And there he is, staring at me, as if he was trying to discern something in a vast landscape. He’s stopped. His eyes are on… my neck? Did he… notice?
“A tie? Nate, you aren’t the tie kind. Wanna impress Gemma or something going full formal?”
Good thing he knows less about tie knots than I do, but…
“You got me. Being fancy in your first date, right?”
Oh my, that grin. I’m screwed, Josh knows something…
“No need to go so classy, dude. You’ve invited Gemma here, at Chez Nate et Josh. Also, I’ve seen the mess in the kitchen. Good thing I don’t have to clean that, because it’s ginormous!”
“So… You’ve seen our dinner.”
“Hard not to see, big boy! You know she’s normal sized, right? And I don’t think we have that many tupperwares.”
“I do… Err… Weren’t you planning something for tonight, Josh? You know…”
“Yup, Rosa and I are back, baby! Hey, speaking of that, wanna hear some advice for your special night, from not-so-big-guy to giant dude? Oh, I know! I could cancel our plans so I could be your Jiminy Cricket! I bet you’ve got a pocket in that jacket…”
“Rosa wouldn’t like that.”
No, she wouldn’t. It’s the third time they’re back together, and if he spends the night in my pocket instead of on her lap, I doubt there will be a fourth. Seriously, how do they keep coming back together again and again?
“OK… But I’ll tell you something, Nate, because I know about l’amour…”
“Could you stop butchering the French language, please?”
“Fine, fine… Now, in all seriousness: you are friends, and it’s true the next step is one different beast. But still, you two are the very same people. Don’t forget it.”
I know he means it. I bet I’m all nervous, trying to hide it, but the little fella has an eye for this stuff. For all the jokes and carelessness, he knows his stuff, I give it to him.
And… fist bump! I know it looks ridiculous with the size difference… Wait, why am I thinking of that? This is just our way to know we’re cool with each other! We’re close friends, after all.
“Make yourselves proud, big fella!”
Yes, he really cares about us. He’s a great friend, deep down all that snark.
“Thank you again. Have a good night you too!”
Everything is set, Josh left half an hour ago...
And here I am, waiting for her cab to arrive. And I can feel them, butterflies in my stomach. Am I that nervous? Am I just hungry? The third possibility is having actual butterflies down there, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t swallow any, and I know, I’d need tons of those to feel them.
Oh dear… am I derailing my own thoughts? Again? I’m that nervous! Damn it, Nate, take a hold of yourself! Don’t want to give Gemma the wrong impression, right? Unless this is the right impression… No, stop it!
I can see it now! That small taxi has already parked in front of the building. No matter how long we’ve been coexisting, it’s always funny seeing their so called ‘normal sized’ cars compared with ours. Why do I keep thinking this stuff? Who am I tell this? Myself?
Wait… There she is! Gemma’s gone for something simple yet elegant. A nice red dress, a bit of jewelry, her chestnut flocks flank her face… and that’s all she needs to look so good. That and her smile, the same smile that hooked me long ago, first as friends and now… What are we now? No, Nate, focus!
My hands are shaking a lot, but I’ll manage it. OK, just like you practiced… time to sign!
“Hello. You’re looking beautiful tonight.”
… I hope I got it right.
Even at her size, I can see how that smile widens. And she’s replying now. I kneel and keep track of her hands. Being huge has a bit of a disadvantage when reading ‘regular sized’ sign language… while she can see mine so clearly. And she’s damn good at reading my lips too! But I know she’s more comfortable if we both use signs instead.
“Thank you. You are looking gorgeous tonight, too.”
I bet I’m smiling like an idiot now. And I think I’m blushing too. I can tell from her hand on her mouth that I’ve understood her perfectly, and so did she understand me. Is this a good start? It is! I should relax.
OK, I’ll do as I rehearsed: I’ll offer her my hands so I can carry her. They’re so huge next to her, my palms alone are as big as she’s tall. Good, she’s getting on them, and I must be careful myself. She’s keeping her balance as I get up, it’s not our first time, but this time, it’s very special. I’d say she looks fragile in my hands, but to stand there effortlessly and keeping that smile aren’t what you’d call fragile. She’s determined and pretty much more secure than I am.
A short trip to the first floor and I’m now pushing the door open. Should I have locked it? No, don’t think of it now, just carry Gemma to the table. Let her admire what you’ve done. All for her… no, now it’s for the both of us. It’s our night, remember?
Now, carefully leave her on the table. Oh, look at Gemma, admiring the large candles, towering her, and now she’s looking at the little table I set on the bigger one, with her own size’s chair, cutlery, plates and glass. So tiny when I look back at mine. Why am I taking this into account? I can feel a drop of sweat…
Focus, Nate, focus! Especially now that her hands are telling me something… Pay attention, boy.
“This looks wonderful. And intimate. Thank you, Nate.”
Take a deep breath, you deserve it, Nate. Oh, look, her smile is bigger now. Don’t lose your head, man. I know! I’ll offer her some wine. Fine, show the bottle. It’s a Rioja, red wine, her favorite. Careful, don’t drop any of it, this thing is fricking expensive. It’s hard when you’re huge, the bottle is huge too and the glass is tiny. Extra points for being nervous.
There! See? If you focus, you do well. And she’s pleased. Nice! OK, I’ll fill mine and…
She’s staring at me. Or maybe at the wine stain? How could I do it perfectly with her, so small, and now I’m this clumsy with my own glass? Fine, leave the bottle and excuse yourself for the mess.
“It’s OK, Nate. These things happen.”
She’s so nice and understanding. And I’m being so nervous and clumsy and stupid… But I’ve never felt like this with her before! Josh was right: this is a whole new level compared with just being friends. What was the other thing he said?
What am I doing? I need to relax. This started so well, am I going to screw it up now? Gotta go to the kitchen. The croquettes… those hors d’oeuvre… They’re in the oven. Did I turn it off before picking up Gemma? There’s no smoke, so I guess…
Wait… Gemma’s getting up. Maybe she has something to say. But the croquettes… Argh, those things can wait!
I need to get closer to her, she’s already signing and she’s going too fast. Oh, wait, she’s stopped. There’s something odd. What is…? I’ve just noticed: she isn’t smiling. Gemma doesn’t get serious that much, and when she does… No, don’t overthink! Fine, she’s taking a deep breath… Why am I narrating this to myself? Stupid nerves…
OK, she’s starting over…
“I know you’re nervous, Nate. So am I. I’m more in control, but…”
Well, I’m like an open book and she keeps her cool. That’s true.
“We’ve been friends for long and this… This is new, Nate. For the both of us. And we are… scared?”
I agree. Makes sense.
“And you’ve done a lot to make this a very special night. And I’m glad you did your best…”
I better sign a “thank you”, it’s the least I can do. Oh, she’s smiling again.
“We might have overdone it. Look at what we’re wearing. This isn’t us, right?”
She’s right. Totally right. What were we thinking? Especially me. Josh was right, no need to be so fancy. All that time with the Windsor knot wasted, but… You know what? It’s worth it. And we’re being honest now.
“The night isn’t over, Gemma. And I’m very glad to be here. With you. Together.”
“You tried your best, and that counts a lot, Nate. You wanted this to be a good night for the both of us.”
Sigh… Well, it’s true. I did my best. I tried to make this special and all. Even if I failed… But Gemma is right: the night isn’t over. And we’re together, no one else, only Gemma and me. And we’re feeling like ourselves.
Speaking of that, guess I won’t be needing this tie then… Fancy is fine, but comfy is much better. She’s nodding as I’m doing it, so I have her blessing. First step to being ourselves again!
Right, that was what Josh told me.
“Thank you again, Gemma. I’ve got some croquettes… and other stuff… Don’t worry if we don’t eat it all! We’ve got… tupperwares.”
Another nod. I’m getting more and more positive vibes. That’s nice. Maybe this wasn’t the first date we’ve been planning, maybe it isn’t even a proper first date. But we’re going to enjoy the rest of it.
… Now stop thinking, Nate, and get into it! Our night has just started.
Growth Pains (2021 ver.)
And speaking of challenges, this time the contest had to feature a giant man and a first day. In any way we wanted. As someone with zero experience when it comes to first dates but some in other first things, I wanted to show how one can be really nervous in a situation like this. That's why I chose a first person narration, to get Nate's thoughts show all that anxiety, and how you can derail and self-sabotage.
Also, I wanted to try something else, and even though I first wanted the mains of communication between giants and tinies was sign language... but ditched that since Josh was a talkative guy and would make it difficult, so just left it for Nate and Gemma —even though her deafness isn't as obvious as it would seem.
Anyway, here it is, so enjoy!
This is awesome, I love it that they use sign language because of there size difference. This is so cool and different. I also love your Growing Pains story. I have always been interested in giant tiny and giant growth gentle stories and art. I also like stories were a normal guy grows into a giant in a house and breaks through the house, via food, chemicals, anxiety. Great job on the stories
I admit, I thought they were using sign language to facilitate communication through their size difference, which made sense to me. The 'reading my lips' line should have clued me in though.
It's a heartwarming story with clever flourishes included. Nice work!