Fire in the hole! (Not a metaphor, you with the dirty mind.)
It was going great. A little whisky on ice. My scarf, my shoes, my sweater, this is a small apartment, how is my stuff all over the place?
He’s saying all the right things but I’m nervous as hell. The last time I got naked with a new guy I was in my 30s, my body was hard and tight. Youth covers a lot of flaws. Now, I’m 56, squishy and soft and self conscious as hell.
“You’re telling me you’ve been walking around for a year, more, alone, and no one snapped you up? White guys are fucking idiots. Look at you. You’re fucking gorgeous. What the fuck?!”
I completely forget the things I hate about my body for an hour. Two. Three. It was going great.
“I know this is weird but I saw the whole thing the minute I laid eyes on you. I am in love with you. I want to be your man. I’m going to make you happy. I’m just waiting for you to catch up. I love you.”
Let’s pause the replay button for a minute so I can make a confession. I have fallen in love at first sight. That’s what happened with my future ex-husband. We were together for more than 20 years. This shit happens. The current scorched earth state of my marriage doesn’t negate the fact that when we met, I thought, “Well, would you look at that, he’s here for me.” Years later, I remember that moment quite clearly.
So I’m not — in theory or practice — against the idea of having big feelings about someone you just met. I also don’t think this is some kind of player talk, a man doesn’t have to confess love to get a woman in bed. My jeans were already on the floor in the living room. There was no need.
Okay, let’s go back to the tape.
He was a bit drunk. I decided to go home. I hunted for one of my gloves, it had been eaten by the couch.
“You’re not going to stay the night? I was hoping you would stay.”
“Okay. Okay, but listen. I’m going to tell you again, I love you.”
“Walk me to my car. I’m going home.”
This adventure feels like an adult board game where no one wins or loses. There are a series of tasks you must complete, but the outcome is not clear. Roll the dice, move forward, pick a card.
Go on your first date in 20 years without throwing up from nerves.
Make a connection online that fizzles out the minute you meet in person.
Kiss a relative stranger and catch a harmless yet annoying virus that steals three days of your vacation while you recover.
Pull on your clothes and leave a man’s apartment, your joints tight, your mouth dry from whisky. Drive home in the rain.
On that last one.
Setting aside the weirdness of how last night played out, this morning I’m drinking coffee and thinking, “Wow, you really have moved on, haven’t you? Congratulations on that. Good job.”