Monthly Archives: August 2012

Day 34: Flashbacks and the Awaited Homecoming

The restaurant is intimate, ten tables at best. Dark wood compliments the maroon decor and subtle lighting casts an inviting glow. The near-impossible wait to get seated now seems so worth it. He eyes the menu, while I eye him. Defined jawline. Slight five o’clock shadow. Vibrant hazel eyes. It’s all perfection, really. I haven’t grown tired of that face since the moment we met. After the wine is uncorked, the lush Rioja warms our bodies and the conversation too. We reminisce about our journey, comforted by the shared transparency. The Spanish tapas arrive: grilled zucchini with roasted pecans and chicken cabrales empanadas, to name a few. “Delicious” isn’t even the word. The evening is enjoyable, just like ours always are. And the best part is, the night only intensifies as it progresses.

As fate has it, the elements are aligned for a perfect day at the beach. A ripe 74 degrees layered with a light breeze beckons us. We leave his apartment, only steps from the sand. I insist on bathing him in sunscreen because I care about his future state. He momentarily feigns resistance, but his adoration is obvious. We lay side by side, sprawled on the blanket, fingers interlaced. He switches on the latest Radiolab podcast and the topic is “space.” His favorite. He doesn’t know it, but his appreciation for science and learning makes me appreciate him even more. We don’t talk, just simply listen. All around us, there’s movement. People splashing in the salty ocean water. Bodies biking down the windy beach path to Venice. Not us. And in this moment, if time decided to stand still, I wouldn’t mind at all.

Flashbacks. N is out of town for an entire week and my only company is the memories – our collection of memories from last weekened that I wish could repeat in the coming days. After spending significant time with someone, it becomes second nature. You grow accustomed to their companionship. Their habits. Their touch…yes, especially their touch. Truth be told, I’m solitary by nature and I enjoy basking in the “me” time. But deep down, I prefer the “we” time. Holidays seem to jerk life into hyperspeed; the long-awaited next Monday will arrive soon enough. N, I know you’re reading this right now, a time zone ahead, from across the country. And well, all I can say to you is…

…come home.

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Day 31: OKCupid Men and Cutting Ties

I was completely immersed in the OKCupid dating world when N sent me the unexpected text message. Once we got back together, I needed to notify the men I was scheduled to meet in the coming days. A former, less mature version of myself may have attempted to simply disappear from the equation by deleting my OKCupid profile and ignoring incoming texts. Or even worse, fabricate excuses about my unavailability, stringing my dates along until they eventually gave up and sought greener pastures.

I knew what I had to do but, admittedly, the thought of addressing these men spurred apprehension. Part of my irrational discomfort stemmed from the fact that my reason for suddenly disappearing, although completely true, sounded like complete bullshit. “We’ve had some amazing conversations and our dinner date is tomorrow. I said I was really looking forward to meeting you, but I decided to get back with my ex last night. So sorry!” Um, really?

Ladies, I know you’ve all used the fictional “I’m dating my ex-boyfriend again” tactic before. It’s an easy, indisputable excuse to unleash when you want a man to stop pursuing you. Only this time, it happened to be true. I don’t personally know these OKCupid men and I shouldn’t care what they think, but I dislike being perceived as disingenuous – even by a complete stranger. However, I’m a firm believer in honesty, so I broke the news one by one. The responses I received ranged from incredibly understanding to downright desperate:

Z. – 28, Lawyer
I’d actually gone a first date with Z and he gave me my first taste of Peru. Z reached out again in an attempt to schedule another date when I told him that I was no longer single. His reaction was completely mature and gracious. Z thanked me for the update, said he enjoyed meeting me and wished me well with my relationship. Talk about a clean break! This scenario couldn’t have played out better if I had planned the entire exchange myself.

D. – 29, Advertising Executive
Based on his OKCupid profile and our limited conversations, I was almost certain that D and I weren’t a great match. Why did I agree to go on a date with him? He’s originally from England and incredibly handsome. I was in need of some eye candy and the allure of an accent was strong. Go ahead, judge me! D was definitely disappointed, but seemed empathetic until he ended our discussion with, “You’ll be single in a month. Text me.” Charming, no?

K. – 26, Tech Start-up CEO
I’d only briefly spoken with K and, quite honestly, I’d forgotten that we were supposed to plan a date. After K sent a reminder text, I disclosed my new relationship status. He followed up by asking if we could become Facebook friends “just in case.” Note: in his message, he actually put quotes around “just in case” (creepy) and he was very persistent about it. I passed, not wanting to give a stranger access to my personal information and updates.

L. – 29, Architect
L seemed like an interesting, charming guy. We had yet to go on our first date, but we spoke regularly and our chemistry was promising. When I shared the news, he was initially very sweet and wished me luck. But the next day, L texted me, sent multiple pictures and expressed how much he missed our conversations. I told him we could no longer text and any future contact would be inappropriate. Even after that, he still continued to text me throughout the day, saying he “just couldn’t help it.” Red flags. Everywhere. Eventually L got the message, but he’s clearly emotionally unstable.

After all was said and done, I felt like a massive weight had been lifted. Cue exhale. I could now start anew and focus on my relationship with N without any OKCupid men lurking the shadows. From here on out, it appears be smooth sailing ahead. Fingers crossed I don’t receive any more pleading text messages from L.

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Day 27: N, My Parents and (Not) Easing In

Every once in a while, bad timing rears its ugly head. N and I rekindled our relationship last weekend – the exact same weekend my parents were in town. Previously, I shared that my parents were supposed to meet N for the first time over dinner on this trip. But alas, when N and I unexpectedly broke up, those plans were swiftly canceled.

Fast-forward to last Saturday morning. N and I were still on our post-reconciliation high from the night before. I was preparing to meet my parents for lunch and a movie, and that’s when things got awkward. The elephant was in the room, trunk swinging, as I did my absolute best to steer clear of the oversized beast. N, on the other hand, was far less successful at avoidance.

So, your parents…” he began.

Yeah, I know we were all supposed to get together this weekend. Well, before,” I quickly reminded him. “I don’t know. It just might be…

Too soon?” he interjected, completing my thought.

Keep in mind, at this point my parents didn’t know that N and I had made amends. They still envisioned him as the man riddled with unanswered questions – the man who left their daughter’s heart fractured. Imagine the shock on their faces if I would have strolled into the restaurant with N suddenly in tow. Not quite the grand first impression I would have wanted for him. In response to N, I simply nodded and, truth be told, he felt the same way.

As a consolation prize, he offered, “Well, if for some reason things change, I can always meet you guys for dinner tonight.

Gah, is this man amazing or what? The thing is, I did want him to come with me to meet my parents and I know they would have enjoyed meeting him too. If only the timing was different. To introduce him then would have been too abrupt and disarming, which I explained.

“I know. You’ll just have to slowly ease them in,” he teased.

During the day with my parents, I couldn’t help but think about how nice it would have been if N was with us. They would have gotten to meet the man who I had spent so much time with and cared for over the last six months. This trip at least, it wasn’t meant to be. “Easing in” has never been part of my DNA; I’m very direct and I don’t postpone the inevitable. Before my parents left, I updated them about N. They were slightly cautious about N’s new-found direction, but they were genuinely happy for me.

Since then, N has planned a weekend trip for us in October to fly up north to visit my parents and his brother. My parents are looking forward to meeting him and now it will be on the right terms. I thought about everything for a moment. Spending time with each others families? Scheduling travel months in advance? Well, I guess this means that N plans to stick around for a little while. The good news is, so do I.

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