Hey, did you know that a mild dose of real-life reality can kill a perfectly beautiful fledgling romance? Yeah, you probably did. My readers are much smarter and more perceptive than I am. Me? Not so much. The trap was set, the bait there for the taking and I walked right into it, heart on sleeve and WHAMMO! Broken. Fucking. Heart.
The One That
Got Ran Away proposed a lovely idea one afternoon: ‘Let’s spend a quiet evening together tonight at your place playing cards and drinking wine.’ (Yay! Two of my favorite activities! Yes, please.)
Poor naïve, silly, stupid Miss-Adventures. You know, I was more concerned with the fact that I had no sofa to sit on in my brand new apartment than the fact that my new ladyfriend’s chief concern (namely my ex wife) lived Just. Up. Stairs. I mean, honest to god, I knew she was somewhat concerned about my “very recent” break-up and with the fact that my ex and I were neighbors and learning to become friends again, but I really didn’t think it was such a big deal. Hindsight really is a motherfucker.
So the evening began with my picking up my date all the way across town on my motorcycle. I kissed her hello, helped her with her helmet and we headed straight to my place on my bike. I took the scenic route to my house: we drove along the marina docs, passed the world’s most magnificent bridge, zig-zagged through the redwood and eucalyptus trees and along the shoreline to my apartment. You cannot possibly make that drive and not fall in love with this city over and over again.
When we arrived at my house, I had to apologize for my lack of seating. In place of a sofa, I had an air mattress placed on the living room floor. Super sexy, right? Actually, it was … but more on that later.
In the absence of living room furniture, we set ourselves up at the dining room table. Wine, bread, cheese and a game of poker with a girl who had never played before. It was fun, easy and a great way to keep talking and getting to know each other. We occasionally broke for a cigarette on my back deck. We cuddled, kissed and smoked. It felt so comfortable, sweet, romantic, safe and sexy. How wrong I was to assume it would all be fine…
After several hours of wine drinking and poker lessons, we stepped outside for another cigarette and another cuddle on the back deck. As we were standing on my deck in an embrace, we heard my ex wife’s voice directly above us both.
Cue awkward silence and passing glances.
Feeling so very helpless and panicked, I asked my girl what she wanted to do. “Do you want to go back inside?” “Do you want me to introduce you?” “Do you want to escape and finish our cigarettes somewhere else?” The panic we both shared was palpable.
Personally, I wasn’t up for an awkward introduction. My ex and I were still just figuring out how to be friends again and things still felt unsettled. My ex, being the jokester she is, would have likely tried to say something crass to embarrass me or my ladyfriend. I felt protective of The One That
Got Ran Away and wanted to keep what we had sacred and private for just a little longer. What I wanted was to sneak quietly back into my place and forget that that moment had ever occurred. Unfortunately, though we did manage to sneak back into my place undetected, forgetting the awkward awkwardness was just not possible. The damage was done. And as soon as we walked back inside and sat down at the table, she uttered the phrase that no one ever wants to hear: “I can’t date you.”
Me: “What? Why?”
Her: “You still have feelings.”
Me: “Of course I have feelings. Feelings of regret. Feelings of failure. Feelings of sadness. But not feelings of love.”
Her: “I can see it in your face.”
So we talked about it for a while. I asked her to not give up on us so soon. She proposed that we take a six-month break and see where we’re at then. I flat out said, “no.” When she asked why, I told her that a six-month break can change everything and that if this is our window of opportunity, then we should take it and not let it pass us by.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all of this dating madness, it’s that timing is everything.
Eventually, she agreed. She agreed that it would be stupid to bail so soon before even getting this relationship off the ground. It was a bad idea to let something so good and so powerful go.
After talking it out, we moved into the living room and made ourselves comfortable on my in-lieu-of-a-sofa, very sexy indeed, air mattress (appropriately named “Spanish Fly”). We cuddled up, listened to music, held each other in a somewhat state of undress and kissed for hours. I was no angel, but I did obey my girl’s one-month no consummation probationary rule. It was both torture and heaven all at the same time.
At around three in the morning, I drove The One That