It’s just one of those things I fought off—like an overly-amorous cat who just will not stop rubbing your leg, purring, and hoping for a scrap of affection. My last relationship was such an unmitigated disaster I swore it would be the last, at least until thousands of dollars were expended in therapy and I was cured of the need to torture myself by way of another hopeless relationship in my life.
He was just there, amongst friends, and hardly noticeable in the beginning. When he took a short sabbatical from my usual circle I noticed, even noticed enough to mention his name a few times and occasionally feel a sort of “missing something” pang. But I swear that was all.
During the worst winter weather, a close friend and I witnessed a terrible accident. A young boy was hit broadside by a car in an intersection. We were on the way to meet said friends when it happened and I was terribly distraught. And there he was, trying his best to comfort me. You might think that one thing led to another at that point, but instead, I bit his head off and accused him of being callous. Ah, you can see that wall around me, can’t you? Ten feet high. Three feet deep.
Finally, around the time of year Valentine’s Day is having its way with us single folk, I had dropped off one of my many friends at her house, realized it was still early, and I was sinking. Acting completely on impulse and without a second thought about the folly of acting at such a low point, I called him. Would you go for a bite to eat? I just needed someone to talk to. Preferably of the male persuasion.
And so it began. Instead of meeting me, he asked me to come over to his house for a sandwich. The hours went by quickly and before I knew it I was leaving with a lighter heart and a full stomach. We had more in common than I’d realized but I wasn’t ready to make any leaps—not at that point, at least.
I found him creeping into my thoughts more as the week wore on and it just seemed natural to invite him to a hockey game later—Dutch treat, of course—because we would just be two friends hanging out. At least that’s what I told myself. And by the end of the hockey game, I had already determined we were most definitely not for each other. After all, he had acted as if we were just two friends hanging out the entire evening! Making our way through the crowds, he lead off as if I were simply tagging along, and even if he offered to buy my soda, I was convinced he had no further intentions.
On the way home, he opened up and told me things he had planned, hopes he had for the future, and shared dreams of things to come. And suddenly, my heart began to soften. Something sparked and I wondered to myself if I was supposed to be listening more closely.
Our first official “date” was church. His church. He informed me on the way inside the huge building that I would be meeting his family. If I had been able to run in heels, that would have been it, right then. Luckily, “the family” was only his brother who is currently separated from his wife, and the fear dissipated. Thankfully, they actually played music I recognized and it was easier to feel at home.
Like that overly amorous cat, each and every exposure to him and his world beckons me closer: just a little scratch behind the ears, perhaps, or a soft pat here and there. The ice has softened to frost and that is warming slowly. He tells me I have never known anyone who asks so many questions. I ask more.
At some point, the answers are beginning to scare me. Same favorite color. Same politics. Same drinks. And the day I am perusing CDs, thinking I will most certainly have to introduce him to an old favorite. Adrian Belew was only in Dallas once that I know of and that was during the last year. I had my heart set on going to see him but that plan was quashed by my ex—who, when it came to so many of my cherished plans, dismissed it without a thought.
It must surely be a sign that the Caribbean Jerk Chicken turned out so well last night. He really liked it—and not the kind of “liked it” that is required of one to be polite. And as we are smooching on the couch, listening to my old Rickie Lee Jones, it’s just there. He says we really ought to get some Adrian Belew. Oh, please be still. My beating heart.