The goal here, today, me and dating, dating and I, isn’t necessarily to find a boyfriend or love right off the hop. I’m also here to be present, me, as I am, enjoying the growth and the journey I’m on in each moment. I’m learning all moments have the opportunity for sweetness, even bittersweet. Eight will come to tell me, in a conversation towards the end of our brief nothing, that there’s “nothing sweet” about bittersweetness. How wrong he is. Are you ready to hear just how effective that Snapchat Story was? Lets go:
How has my summer been, he wants to know, or does he, its possibly the laziest way to test my waters but I was pushing myself back into his life with social media – something I would eventually find out eats up a lot of his time. I found it adorable that he included his name in the text; in case I had deleted his number, silly goose, we both had each others numbers in our phones, Snapchat needed those to add each other.
“It’s not rocket surgery.” – Eight, after meeting me in person the first time.
We talked about our summers: for him it was all sports and work. I told him I had been cottaging and working a lot as well. I think I followed up with asking how the sports season had been going, they were doing really well, and he felt as though they had a chance at the playoffs. I threw out a quick double entendre “I have a good feeling about your chances.” Did he pick up on it? He explained a few “unspoken rules” of his league, with regards to player behaviour, stuff I found genuinely interesting and wished he would keep talking about, and then boom, mid message about team drinks he dives straight into the fray.
“… So I’ve been meaning to ask you what your situation is? Are you divorced, separated, still living with your baby’s daddy??” Whoa destiny, I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure very few love stories start this way.
I tell him I was never married, just engaged, and provided as little context as I could manage without coming off as distant because the phrasing frankly feels like he thinks I spend some of my spare time being interviewed by Maury Povich. His inquiry that night focused around timelines for the split, where I was living. He commented that my situation was “still sort of fresh”, and I agreed the formality of it was, but the context of the separation was comfortable for me. My mind wandered off “Is he trying to figure out if I’m emotionally available yet? Because that’s adorable and exactly what I want.” I asked him if he had any longer relationships recently; he had none to speak of. I mistakenly used the phrase “been chilling” to describe one of the
circles of hell commonly understood levels of modern dating (we need to stop validating this shit), he agreed it was a good way to describe it. “Chilling seems like the decent play” he says, again referencing all the divorces his friends have gone through.
Over the next few days we start to exchange Snapchat selfies and videos while we’re at work. He’ll send little chat messages to tell me I’m cute, all of it is enough to make me smile when I see his name pop up. I make the bold move to send him a follow request on Instagram, he doesn’t post anything new, his account is full of travel photos from a big European trip from last summer, but he likes everything I post, and sometimes sends me a message to ask me about whatever he had seen. But the best moments of chatting with eight was when he would text me from his team bus on game nights. Those conversations are playful; there was banter and flirting and selfies. I assume that these conversations were the best because he was a captive audience who probably liked the idea of a girl texting him, A LOT, in front of his team mates – yes I’m a cynic. But none of that matters really; just that in those moments he is the eight I liked and miss now.
Full disclosure before this next part: Between all this fruitless texting I’m very busy being an employed, gym-frequenting, puppy-owning, shopaholic, coffee-addicted, mother-of-one who also happens to be involved in a fairly frequent and intentionally undefined friend-with-benefits situation with another “past life peripheral” guy, that you’ll find I am going to introduce as “fish”. And as of writing this, I still flop around on the fish deck.
One afternoon, it’s a game day for eight and he’s en route to a town three hours north of our city, he texts me that he’s had a horrible day at work. He never elaborates into detail about anything so instead I tell him I can UberEats him a steak and milkshake if that’ll cheer him up. He says all he really needs is a vacation and rest, but that the idea cheered him up. He asks me what I’m up to and I tell him I’m getting ready to go to the movies. He asks if I have a group of people to go with and I give him the most non-chalent non-answer I can muster “Yes I do have friends lol.”
The truth was I was going to the movies with the aforementioned fish that night. We had sex in the backseat of the car in the parking lot afterwards, because I’m a romantic at heart.
I changed the subject with eight to ask about pre-game rituals, and I think maybe this was the first time eight let me try to flirt with him: “And then what? Run around and talk about how good your butt looks in your pants?” He told me they leave that to the fans. I replied with “Can you be a fan if you’ve never been to a game? Asking for a friend.” He said “Of course you can.” And I set him straight: “They. Of course THEY can. My friend. You know.”
Later that night, after my teenage-esque tryst in the parking lot, my phone buzzed on my nightstand a few times – it was eight. I popped over to Twitter to see what their score had been; the tied up game had gone way over but they got the much needed win to continue on in the playoffs. “Just what I needed, over-time on a Tuesday” his text reads. Maybe he wants congratulations but I’m still fixated on his tush, so scolding he gets. “Stop it. Are you happy?” “Yep but tired.” “Happy makes you sleep well. Ride the high into Wednesday.” “You mean Thursday.” “Why not both?” “Good call.” I put my phone down and go to sleep. In the morning I woke to a video he had sent sometime during their bus ride home: it’s his face, only intermittently lit by oncoming traffic, loudly singing along to David Wilcox: “I’m sailing away from my heartache … on a Riverboat Fantasy.” I’ve mentioned before how I’m unreasonably swayed into romanticism by music – well, you better believe I played that song while I blow-dried my hair – and the grin on my face while I got ready for work on that Wednesday morning can only be described as stupid.
And dear readers, in the next post, I’m going to tell you how the very next evening, eight and I finally ended up face to face.