Remember the Beginning

Remember that time that you patiently answered every question that Big Sexy and Captain America had at the rugby game? The first time we met? I was charmed. You were boisterous and funny in the car ride, but then you gently taught the boys without bragging that you knew more than them. I liked the juxtaposition.

Remember when I reached out to you innocuously on Facebook because I hated that you hadn’t shown interest in me? I asked you about a TV show, you answered, and then I ignored you? Remember how you waited a week and then struck up the conversation again? It infuriates me that I had to pursue you. But you know what else? I like that we are equals. That you don’t lay down and let me walk all over you. And I like that you remember what I wore that day. That you remember that I touched your back when I had to scoot behind you.

Remember the long messages we would write each other? Remember how you didn’t ask for my number right away? I really loved that. You let me adjust to talking to you on Facebook messenger. It felt less forward. Friendly. Remember how smart you were (are)? You made me laugh. You caught my pop culture references. Remember how I still have to google yours? Maybe you’re too smart for me. Or maybe you have terrible taste in tv shows ūüėČ Remember how Big Sexy peaked over your shoulder one time at work and texted his wife and told her that we wrote “novels” to each other? We kind of did. I loved it. I loved that it wasn’t one sided. I loved that you had a lot to say.

Remember that I drove in to town and saw you that very first night? Big Sexy and HLM had an event to go to. You were out at The Garage for work. You were with your friends. I was nervous that we wouldn’t be able to talk easily. Or that you were already hammered. I still came out. I wore all black. And there you were just sitting with your two friends, drinking waters. Your back was to me and when you turned around to hug me, your friends nudged each other and were grinning. Your friends were nice and one of them kept quizzing me. He made me guess his home state with 5 questions. He still owes me a shot. I hope you remind him of that. Remember how we went to get a drink at the bar? Then just stayed there, ditching your friends. I offered to go back to their table, but you said “nah, they’re fine”. They came over to say bye to us. Shots friend leaned in and said “We hope to see a lot more of you around here!” We stayed for a long time. We only had one drink. We were too busy talking. You walked me to my car. You hesitated. I gave you a hug. You didn’t kiss me. You don’t know this, but I remember how I hoped you didn’t kiss me. I wanted a connection with you. I didn’t want to ruin it with a first kiss by my car in front of a bar named The Garage.

Remember how HLM always has people over for spaghetti nights? She did the same thing the next day. Except she conveniently forgot to invite anyone besides you. Remember how we promised to back each other up when she assigned you to bring wine and me to make crescent rolls? We didn’t need any backup. We sat outside under the twinkly lights. It was a little hot and we quickly drank the chardonnay you brought. I usually hate chardonnay, but it tasted really fantastic sitting next to you. The four of us finished both bottles. And margaritas. And after dinner drinks with XO. We told stories and you helped HLM clear the table. Big Sexy smiled at me. I sarcastically asked him what was wrong with his face. He genuinely responded, “I just like seeing you so happy.” You came back out and you held my hand and you whispered jokes in my ear.

Remember how you stayed over that night? Big Sexy suggested it since we had so much to drink. I hadn’t realized it, but I was very very drunk. I felt awful. I went into the bathroom and made myself throw up. Don’t worry. I brushed my teeth for 3 minutes straight. Remember how we sat on their big gray couch together? We talked about everything-families and dating and God and really truly liking each other. You kissed me then. It was sweet and full and easy. You stayed over that night. We probably went too far. We were a little too drunk. We shared too much, but then again, we have since Day 2 (Day 1 you ignored me at the rugby match, duh). I said we were too different. That we shouldn’t do this. You told me you wanted to try. I hope you still do.

Remember how the four of us had breakfast together the next morning? You ate all of HLM’s protein pancakes that I hated. Remember how Big Sexy waited until it got quiet and said “Sorry about last night” and we all burst out laughing because we all knew that we heard them having sex in the next room? I love that you’re a good sport. I love that you adapt well to new situations. I love that you can make light of things.

Remember how two days later you picked up the three of us in your very clean black car? You drive a stick, which I was a little bummed to see. Less hand holding you know? You realized that the other day and mumbled to yourself that maybe you should get rid of it. You drove us to your friends’ new house. They were having a BBQ. You wore a Hawaiian shirt. It made me laugh. I actually liked it…minus the fact that you wore a black mock turtleneck underneath it. You told me later that you liked how you didn’t have to be right next to me the whole time. That I tried to join in the conversation even though you boys dominated it with shop talk. I told you that I loved how you saved Big Sexy from going down a rabbit hole that other people wouldn’t enjoy. You would touch my back when you walked by me. It gave me chills. I love when you touch me. Remember how you told me you don’t like PDA after that day? I’ve made fun of you ever since. You also told me that you think its maybe something you’ll have to get used to. I think you’re too hard on yourself about this, honestly. It hasn’t been an issue, but I am still going to tease you. Pinch your butt when no one is looking. I remember how you made sure not to leave me hanging though. You quickly came around to introduce me. I loved that you paid attention to me. Not everyone does that. I’m lucky.

Remember how all of this happened before we even went on a date?

I loved it all.

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Not-Dating, Dating

Mr. Hard Body Security invited me over for dinner last night. I wore matching navy lacy undergarments that have a single thread of gold woven throughout. I also wore a maroon dress, but thats neither here nor there.

His apartment is clean, industrial, and sparse. He has neon beer signs which he swears were in his garage, but which now line the area on top of the kitchen cabinets. He swears they’re going to get put back in the garage as soon as he moves back in to a house. Mr. Hard Body Security opens the door and his mildly sweet cologne affronts my nose as I took in his medium wash straight leg jeans, forest green oxford shirt, and slightly scuffed, square-toed boots. His handsome face was set off by his dark wavy hair that he tamed with a touch of gel. Cheap gel, I found out later when I used his bathroom.

I don’t remember if he complimented me or not, but his smile indicated his visual appreciation. Mr. Hard Body Security makes excuses for dinner not being ready, “I haven’t used this oven since I moved in. I forgot I need to pre-heat it and all. I thought I had it timed perfectly.” I took in the table he had pulled out, complete with placemats and candles. He had the two types of red wine I had mentioned I liked out on the table, and the white chilling in the fridge. On the TV, he had (only semi) jokingly streamed¬†the “Fireplace” channel from Netflix. As I recounted stores about my day, I noticed I was singing along to a Hozier song, humming along to miss Dolly, then as the song from the dance scene from The Perks of Being A Wallflower came on, I had a realization. I turned to him quickly, surprised, “You made me a playlist?!” I exclaimed before I could exhibit my usually much more controlled behavior. He slowly smiled at me, nodded once, and quickly pecked my forehead before my phone rang.

It was my sister. She’s always been good about cutting in whenever she’s not wanted. She asked me what I’m up to and I filled her in before letting her know to absolutely not tell mom. My mom had called earlier and asked what I was doing for dinner. I answered with a vague “Oh…just munching on…food…you know…” It’s not a lie if its by omission, right? My mother has no idea what Tinder is or what one would use it for or who I meet on there. Meeting¬†at a bar¬†is enough to make her furrow her brow and pray that I meet someone at a much more respectable establishment. So no. She doesn’t get to know.

He finished cooking, offers to make me a plate, grabbed me a glass of water along with my wine, and listened intently to every story I tell about my work day. He tells me that we should take a cooking class together. Then a dance class when he Google told him there are no cooking classes in our city. He mentioned that he got rid of Tinder. Already?!¬†I thought to myself. “I already met the best girl on it.”¬†Shit.¬†

We were supposed to watch The Notebook. The DVD I brought wouldn’t work, so we watched a scary movie. He absent mind-edly traced his hand the whole time along either my shoulder or around my knee. His arms were big and his cuddling was bigger. Eventually, I was pressed against his wall, kissed along my neck, then picked up and moved onto his bed. This is where the navy bra and panty set come in to play. He liked it. And just like earlier in the evening, he traced his fingers along my body; he paid attention to how and when I reacted to his touch. He was big and muscular and attentive. There is not an ounce of fat on him and his tan skin is smooth and warm.

Eventually, he rests on top of me while never letting his body fully relax on to mine. Mr. Hard Body Security looks at me, dips his head low so I can’t see his eyes, and spoke slowly, “I think…you’re perfect. You’re perfect.” I subsequently, freak out. I do and absolutely don’t enjoy being told that I am perfect at the same time. My response? “I’m not perfect. I have debt. Split ends. I’m hard on people when they disappoint me. My weight fluctuates…” I trail off to his laughter. “Are you trying to scare me off or get me to like you more? Because I do. I like you”. Then he kissed my left cheek, my right cheek, above my left eyebrow, and finally rested his lips above my right eyebrow and relaxed in to me.

I said nothing. He didn’t ask more of me. Which is good, because I don’t have much else to give.

My Middle Name

The Second One was (is) 5′ 11″, big blue eyes, cheekbones that cut sharply above his slightly red hued beard, and lips that¬†were perfect, symmetrical pillows. He wooed me. He chased me. Quite literally…he chased me down in the church parking lot, one month after I thought he was going to do that exact thing. In that one month, I had continued to date Captain, broke it off; I made out hurried and high school style with my best friend’s boyfriend’s Abercrombie model-esque younger brother. Things had¬†happened. I no longer cared if he asked me out or not.

Except I did. And he did. We went out on an art trail in our little city. He had printed off a map with locations and times and events. Most people just stop by the wineries then meander downtown. The Second One never meandered.

The Second One planned. He had plans to reinvent himself:
Step 1) Lose 80 pounds and transform his outward appearance. Check.
Step 2) Quit frat boy binge drinking and start going to church like he meant it. Get involved and portray his goodness to everyone. Check.
Step 3) Find a¬†good Christian girl¬†that does not judge his past and get her to fall in love….No surprise here, but this one also gets checked.

Step 4) Marry her and have a perfect house and possibly 2 kids (but only if they’re perfectly well behaved) and never have anything bad happen and have everyone validate him all of the time and never have to divulge any real parts of himself and never, ever,¬†ever,¬†delve in and connect to the grittiness that is another person.

That one didn’t get checked. At least not by me.

But that first date, we walked around according to his map. I soaked up the glances of jealousy from both men and women. I hung on every non-compliment he gave me. We went to a little bar with huge leather couches and sipped red wine until my cracked lips were stained. His lips didn’t stained. The Second One always reapplied his Burt’s Bees chapstick so as not to be imperfect. Buzzed, he opened up enough to make me want more. He was stable and good and grown up and handsome. Everything The First One was not. I hadn’t been in love in a long time. I fell fast and I fell hard.

Then it stopped. He stopped. He could give no more of himself and didn’t want to know any more about me. In the last week, he didn’t know my middle name. After months together.¬†Does he ever even listen to me? Does he truly care?¬† were the only thoughts that could run through my brain.

He hasn’t talked to me in almost two months. Then a G-chat today:
“I was searching for art classes to help me build up my portfolio to apply to the architecture department next June and I saw that the [local arts center]¬†offers pottery throwing classes. I remember that you wanted to take a class on that.”

You remembered? You listened to me? And you tell me now? Please don’t. Please stop. It hurts to fall in love with someone who can’t give of themselves to you. I don’t want to know that you know any part of me. I want to forget that there were reasons I fell in love with you.¬†

Love Field’s Calling Card

In my wallet I have approximately 6 different punch cards for various coffee shops. I have an expired voters registration (don’t condemn me! my updated one is at home), my Target card, business cards that I never hand out, and the remnants of a washing machine chewed up drivers license. I also still have the drink coupon that a mister D. Jackson gave me in Love Field one day.

I was traveling back from a work conference. Tired of my coworkers, in need of delicious food and a decent drink, I stopped in to the mid-scale wine bar in the Southwest Airlines hub of the airport. I ordered a little flight of wine and opened up my book.

Within 5 minutes, I felt that prickle. The one that rises the minuscule hairs behind your ears. The same ones that long to be breathed upon and lightly kissed. The spot that everyone want to feel the brush of lips. Those hairs instinctually know that someone worth knowing is standing behind you. Gazing at the seat next to you.

The man sits down next to me at the bar. He asks me what I’m drinking and for a recommendation. He looks like a cross between Anderson Cooper and the nice guy you date in college. Mr. Jackson asks me why I’m traveling, what I enjoy doing, and tells me about his life as an environmental engineer. He talks about grey water systems and business.

Mr. Jackson and myself talk for an hour. He gets up to leave and conspiratorially half whispers,¬†“Well, it was a pleasure meeting you. This is the best conversation I’ve had in a long time. I’ve successfully waited out the traffic.” He slips me a drink coupon, “Have a drink from me.”

I attempt to google him a few weeks later. No traces of Mr. College Boy Cooper. The Instinctual Hairs will need to keep up their vigilant watch.

And the drink coupon sits expired in the little zippered pouch. A calling card perhaps?