So…years ago, a meaningful and somewhat turbulent relationship had come to an end. I spent the better part of 4 months after the breakup flip-flopping between reorganizing my life and focusing on what could have been if only…this or that. Somehow, my ex and I kept finding ways to return to one another…whether it be a very platonic sleepover or a lunch date.
I knew she wasn’t ready to let go of our friendship, and I would agree that that was the hardest part of the entire breakup. Who cared that we wouldn’t be sleeping with one another ever again? When it came down to it, knowing that we would never be able to look across a room at one another and have a deep conversation within a split second’s worth of eye contact was the reason it hurt so much.
I had told this person just about everything I could imagine, and I had heard her every thought as well. We knew each others dreams and fears and everything in between. But suddenly we were holding all of these pieces to a picture neither of us dared to hang on our walls. It was a very jilting moment.
I will never forget the night I went to a party after the breakup. She and I had always gone to events together, and we had been known to host a good number of gatherings at our place as well. First, let me admit that I am a self-proclaimed homebody. I love hanging out at home or meeting with small groups of people. She was different. She wanted the attention of a room. She wanted parties and drinks and music, and it was always too much for me.
So, when I went to this party it was different. It was on my own terms for once. I showed up alone and knew that I could leave whenever I wanted. That made me happy…and then I saw her there. She greeted me in that way that a friend greets a friend…very happily but with distance, and I was angry. I watched her have a good time with our joint friends that night and watched as she and a friend of mine flirted in front of me. And even now after all this time, part of me still feels bitter… and maybe someone would excuse this feeling and say that I maybe could or should have felt disrespected by my ex, but I was more disgusted by my friend whom had constantly said she was worried about me as she watched me lose close to 40 pounds in a matter of 8 weeks. What bullshit all of that was.
It was at this party I remember deciding I needed to move on. I needed to talk to someone new whether that be a friend or whatever. I just felt like I needed a distraction. So, the OK Cupid account went up, and I got a couple of hits but mostly from people in which I had no interest. Suddenly… I got this cryptic message from someone.
Well, to clarify, it was the name that was cryptic, not the message, and the messenger did not have a picture on her account. She alleged that she did not have a picture because she didn’t want her students to find her. I found out that she was teaching at University and getting a masters in creative writing. Naturally, I became interested, and before I knew it, I found myself meeting with her a block from campus.
The date was… interesting. I remember parking and then walking up to a coffee shop to meet her on the patio. I believe she already had a cup of tea, and I remember her asking me if I wanted anything but I said no because I wasn’t drinking coffee at the time. Come to find out, she was not eating at the time, so we were quite the pair.
We set out on our walk, and I learned that she was on a cleanse and that a friend had introduced her to these daily juices. I told her I had gone on a couple of cleanses but that I made my own juices. She suddenly became very inquisitive about how it affected my bowel movements, which was not entirely off putting because I can put things into a clinical perspective; however, I admit I did find it a bit odd considering it was the first date.
As we continued on, she told me she preferred to walk. I asked if she felt safe and if she carried pepper spray or anything with her.
“Nooooo,” she said. “Do you?”
I pulled a bottle from my purse to show her what it looked like. Again, this curious woman began to ask questions, including if I would allow her to spray it in her tea because culinary artists were then “flavoring food with pepper spray.”
“It’s a really big deal right now,” she said.
I obligingly handed it over to the strange woman, and reflecting on it now, she could have sprayed me in the face with my own weapon if she were any more outrageous than I surmised she was (but she didn’t). I watched her take timid sips of the tea.
“It’s peppery,” she said. “Do you want to try it?” She held the cup out to me.
“No, thank you,” I told her. I couldn’t imagine drinking after her.
Before I knew it, the long walk had wound up at her door step, and within a half hour I had already found myself in a strange woman’s living room. The house was very calm and clean…a lot like my own at the time. She showed me her juices and some books she had about happiness, one of which I still actually have in my possession.
“Do you want to play scrabble?” she asked with this wild look in her eyes. I had this feeling that she played scrabble religiously, or perhaps with her former partner, which I have neglected to mention until now. She spent a very good portion of the date telling me about her ex and asking me questions about mine. I avoided these questions and not out of fear of vulnerability. It was a date after all, and why would I talk about my ex on a date with someone when the entire point of the encounter was to focus on something other than her?
Anyhow, I agreed to play, and play we did until it was apparent that I was bored due to being more than 100 points behind.
“Do you want to lie down?” she asked.
I was quiet for a few seconds, and I didn’t want to be rude/uncool. “I guess,” I replied.
We went into her room and lie down on the bed.
“Do you mind if I cuddle with you a little?” she asked draping her arm across my body.
I literally stared up at the ceiling in silence. What the hell was I doing? More importantly, what the hell was I letting happen because I wasn’t exactly initiating or refusing…I was now a couple miles away from my vehicle, and it was getting dark outside.
She began to talk about pain…about darkness, about anger.
“You seem so calm. So regal,” she said. “Are you ever angry?”
“No, not really.” I told her, “I don’t know how to be.” I stiffened.
“It’s in there. It’s somewhere. Everyone is angry….You’re so quiet.”
Yes, I am lying in a strange woman’s bed because I didn’t have the sense to say no or the creativity to suggest something else! I thought to myself.
She went on to say something about still waters running deep and then asked if she could kiss me. Suddenly, I grew a spine and told her that I could not do that, that that wasn’t a good idea and I needed to get going. I thanked her for her time, and she walked me back to my car, which was 2. miles. away.
When we got back to the car, she handed me a note. She told me not to open it–that she had planned on slipping it into my purse to later find but couldn’t because I unlike most women did not leave my purse unzipped.
Once home, I opened the small envelop and pulled out a note which had been drafted on a typewriter sometime prior to the date. It mentioned that she liked me along with bread and butter pickles…