This is going to be a long one. It’s been over a month since I’ve made an appearance here, and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with the whirlwind of it all. Last month, I had a long conversation with BC about my dating life and ended my lengthy diatribe with the statement, “I don’t know why I say that I want love, when I just want everyone who likes me to leave me alone.” He laughed.
He knows me too well. Because the world waits for the right time to laugh at my plans, the following weekend I went to see my MiniMe, the ex’s little sister, graduate from college. I was nervous- the ex and the entire family would be there, but I couldn’t miss her big day just because I didn’t want to face them. I found my seat, took 100 pictures of her crossing the stage and then looked up into the balcony. There they were. The ex mother-in-law, the new girlfriend, the brother and… no ex. It turns out, he had been out drinking the night before and just no-showed. His own sister’s graduation.
While I find it difficult to be shocked by his thoughtlessness, this was a new low. Then I ran into his new girlfriend out front trying to explain to MiniMe that he was “sick” and couldn’t make it. And my heart opened up. His new girlfriend isn’t my biggest fan, but in that moment I thought, “Poor her. I know how that feels trying to make excuses for him.” Empathy. I hugged her and wished them all a great celebration.
The next week, the ex called unexpectedly. I imagine he expected a rant about graduation and he’d made some excuse about needing to pick up some papers he’d forgotten in a box in my basement. And then, he started in on his usual “I want to be friends,” speech. And I took a deep breath. And calmly explained that I wished him no ill will, but I never wanted to be his friend. That my friends are people who treat me well and that he had never bothered to do so. That his need to know how I am is, as usual, about him and has nothing to do with me. I wished him well and ended the call. It was like finishing War and Peace, the entire plot wrapped up and I closed the cover solidly with a thud. It was finished.
And then, because the world works in bizarre hippie-dippie ways that I make every attempt to deny, something happened. Or rather, someone.
And here’s where all of those awful clichés about finding the one when you least expect it, and missing what is right in front of you, and working on you so that you can be ready when the right one comes along, slam into me. I hate all of those pieces of advice. I’m a planner. I like being the one making things happen. I like to see things all laid out in front of me and know exactly what’s coming. Life says HA to all of that.
It just so happens, that while I was wandering around just being me for the past few months, I got noticed. And because I am a guppy in a paper cup when it comes to thinking anyone could like me, I had no idea. BC and I would go out to happy hour, I would run into my neighbors out in the neighborhood, and all of a sudden everywhere I went, I kept running into the same person. The same woman everywhere I went. And it just so happened that she and I had gone to the same college. And that she shared work clients with BC. And that she kept buying me drinks and wanting to hear all about me.
And because a) she is a she after all (not that it’s a first, but still), and b) she is profoundly cool and smart and liked by everyone I know, I missed every signal. But then , she offered to walk me home one night. Friday the 13th, no less. And while we were standing on my stoop talking, I looked over at her and she blushed. And then…. I got it. I am so slow sometimes. And when I had a poetry reading the next week, she asked if she could come. And I ignored her. I was awful. She hung around in the background while I talked to my friends and thanked people for coming, and I didn’t introduce her to anyone. I was horrible.
And she handed me a red pen as a congratulations gift and said, winking, “Even mistakes can be fun, sometimes.” And then she didn’t call me for a week. And I thought I was totally off the hook. I was relieved. I saw her out a few times and she kept her polite distance. But every one of my friends who met her started a campaign. I couldn’t go two days without hearing how great she was. I agreed, and then said it would never work out.
But Pride weekend was coming and she knew BC, his boyfriend, and I would be at every event. So, she sidled up to me at the bar and offered to get me a beer. And I politely declined and told her I had no interest in having a girlfriend. Period. She asked if she could say hi if she saw me over the weekend, and I agreed. And she left. And the next day when I ran into her again, she said that she had no interest in being my girlfriend, but wanted to go to dinner. And then, met me at the concert. And then went to the same party I did, at my invitation. And over and over again, everyone who met her had nothing but wonderful things to say about her.
And no matter how hard I tried to find a reason not to like her, not to spend time with her, to figure out what was wrong with her for liking me so much, I just couldn’t do it. She’s brilliant. She’s a professional do-gooder. She’s hilarious and likes wild, late night adventures as much as I do, but pays all of her bills and takes care of her responsibilities like a grown up. She’s good to little kids and loyal to her friends. She draws, and plays music, and loves her family. She has great manners and is a killer soccer goalie. She’s got gorgeous eyes. And she thinks I was worth the wait.
Oh yeah, and she’s a redhead. And so far, she makes me very, very happy.