As you may have guessed from my recent vaguing about relationships, I’m in one. To be more specific, I’m back in one. With J.
I was walking to meet an internet date for dinner on a Friday night at the end of September. I’d planned it so it was in walking distance from my apartment and I didn’t have to drive, as is my prerogative!;) I’d gotten glammed up and looked good — well, I’d taken a shower, at least!
I was cantering down the commercial corridor where I live and spotted a car that looked like J’s. But I’d seen many of those around—each time, spotting a blue Subaru, darting my eyes through the windshield, assuming it wouldn’t be him since he didn’t live close but had been about to accept a job nearby when we’d parted in June.
Now, I spotted this familiar looking car. Then, I read the license plate. It was his. My eyes flashed through the windshield… and there he was. Sitting in his car, typing on his phone.
My breath stopped. I came to a halt beside his car. He looked over. He both smiled and looked horror-struck.
J. rolled down his passenger window. “Getting a haircut?” I asked. (He’d found a place he liked when we were living together and, once found, he was unlikely to veer from it!)
“Yep,” he replied.
We remained there, just kind of staring at one another. Eye-lock, look away. Eye-lock, look away.
We exchanged a few update words: You change jobs? Yep. You start the school year? Yep. I fiddled with the window frame. Well, this is hard, I said, half-smiling, somewhere near tearing up. Yep.
Somepoint soon, within this 3-minute conversation that reached to the horizon, we said goodbye.
Later that night after the date (underwhelming but fine), I dialed J’s number.
I’d texted about two weeks earlier, on the 90-day mark on my calendar that indicated it’d been 3 months since we’d spoken, my own self-imposed separation/no-contact. I’d written him if he were interested in being in each other’s lives, “friends or something.” He’d replied he’d love to, but he still saw a future for us together and it would be too hard, too painful. I typed okay. And resigned to / accepted that he would contact me, if and when he were ever ready, or not.
So, as the phone rang that Friday night in September, I didn’t know if he would pick up. The hurt of the break-up, the hope and pain of seeing one another. The love that had clearly not diminished an iota. … the constant comparison of J to any of the men I’d met or communicated with during my recent re-entry into dating.
No one was like him.
Our first date lasted two hours. We walked and talked and laughed. We were wry and joking from nearly minute one. There was such ease and familiarity … he could always make me laugh.
I wasn’t immediately sure after our first date. I went home and took the quiz I’d bookmarked, It’s Just a F*cking Date (from the authors of He’s Just Not That Into You and It’s Called a Breakup Cuz it’s Broken). He didn’t score record highs after that first date, partly because two of the questions were “did he make a plan?” and “did you like his plan?,” but I’d made the plan! (Coffee shop in walking distance of my house, naturally!)
But, he’d squeaked over the line to, “Give him a second shot.” So I did.
On the 2nd date, he scored full marks.
The phone rang. I perched on the edge of my bed, heart a bit full, a bit poundy.
And he picked up.