Steven is all I can think about. When I’m not thinking about him, I’m texting him, talking to him on the phone, creating playlists for him, writing about him. We’ve talked on the phone for hours after only two weeks of meeting. It’s like we’d started a conversation some time ago before memory and we’re continuing that conversation. There’s not a single person for whom I’ve felt this intensely before. Two other men came close, and I loved my oldest best friend deeply, but I never wanted to make love to her. At night I can’t sleep, during the day I’m distracted. In my mind we’re already in the life we’re building together, many steps down the road, living together, and I even imagine his kids as part of my life, in a positive way, and I hope it will be that for them too. In the past I didn’t want to date anyone with kids, and I felt jealous of the old man’s kids, and I didn’t imagine myself as part of their lives. I hope Steven’s children will like me and understand how much I adore their father.
We had our second date at the same place, even the same table, because the other restaurants were closed on Mondays, and because last time was so magical and private and romantic, he requested the same table. The waiter was so nice, allowing us to stay as long as we wanted, saying his mom is the owner and that he would be there for another hour and that we weren’t bothering him at all. I think he could feel our electricity and just felt happy for us.
Steven and I couldn’t keep our hands off each other. He arrived soon after I pulled into the parking lot, but I went ahead and walked down the parking lot so he could be surprised by me when he stepped out. I wore a black long-sleeved mini-dress that looked like something out of “Mad Men,” strappy black platform wedges, turquoise and gold jewelry, toenails a vibrant fuchsia color, fingernails a natural, pale pink color. When he saw me he stopped and just soaked me in, going on and on about how beautiful I looked, and he made me feel very beautiful. We kissed immediately in the parking lot before the date even started, and then we walked a few feet and stopped to kiss again several times before going into the restaurant. The restaurant is a big old house tucked away in the trees, very romantic.
During the date all we could do was talk about how into each other we are. Mostly him telling me at first, because I felt shy, because there had been a part of me that wondered if this was all real. While we were apart over the past week, sometimes I couldn’t even remember what he looked like, so I’d have to look at his pictures as a reminder. And I had this fear that what if I’m making this into more than what it is, simply because it’s what I want. The funny thing is that he mentioned that he’d also forgotten what I looked like and had to look at my pictures. He too had the fear that this may not be real. The truth is that we have the same interests in music, entertainment, sense of humor. He just feels like an old friend, a true friend.
I really hope this isn’t going to be a situation in which I open up to someone who’s going to rip my heart out. It’s possible that telling someone who you’ve met two weeks ago that you believe they’re your soulmate is a bit hasty and just plain crazy. But then it can’t be any more crazy than telling each other you’re falling in love and want to spend the rest of your lives together. Actually. It IS a bit crazier. The word “soulmate” really takes it many steps further, far beyond just falling in love. It’s like knowing each other in a past life and meeting again in this life, and it’s a familiar surprise. Falling in love is just something that can easily be re-labeled as infatuation with hindsight.
What I still want to know is what the meaning of all this is. Why is God bringing this to me, when I was pretty sure that the universe’s plan for me was to go back to my career and move into a high-rise in the city. Why this distraction. And if it’s just so I can get my heart ripped out then this is all a very cruel joke. And this thing that is happening is keeping me from going after the job.
In the meantime another big thing is happening which is that my dog is dying. Her time is near, and it’s up to me to decide when, and I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to deal with it. How do you schedule your dog’s death? I want Steven to be there, and Steven wants to be there, but he’s going out of town twice later this month, and we both have work. I feel that it’s only right I take time off work just to lay by her side and look into her eyes so that she knows she is loved in this lifetime, and will be loved in the next, that I will love her forever. That I will never forget her, she is immortal because she lives in my memory and my heart forever. I’ve never known another being that was so attached to me as this dog. Since the day I got her she has been by my side. And although it’s a fucked up thing to be proud of, I never abused her. Some alcoholics do that to their pets, and somehow I manage to find it a point of pride that I never did, and I know I never did because my first husband was crazy about dogs, and would’ve told me had I done that in a blackout. He’d have had me committed. He had no problem telling me all the humiliating things I did during blackouts.
I don’t like thinking of all these things. All I want to think about is this man and our future together. He created a playlist for me that I turned on before going to sleep so that I could absorb the music into my mind and heart while drifting off to the subconscious world, and awoke in the middle of the night to hear this gorgeous song:
That’s the song that plays before the egg donor commercial that blasts itself into my ear, reminding me I’m not their target market, and how I wish I could call their marketing agency and tell them to just hire me to do their marketing because clearly they don’t understand the fundamentals of online targeting, which is that they need to turn off their targeting options for women over 35. I included the year of my birthday on Facebook so they really should know better. Mom had suggested I freeze my eggs in case I change my mind so I filled out an online form a year or so ago but never got around to doing more, since it seemed pointless, knowing I don’t really want to spend my 40s chasing a toddler, and perhaps this is why they’re targeting me, this being the online form that I filled out, which doesn’t make sense because it’s the opposite of what I was considering at the time, but that’s how my brain works at three in the morning.
And I think of a conversation I had with a co-worker earlier today.
“What you do on your day off?” Jose asked me in his Peruvian accent, rolling his r’s when he says my name, which I’m not including here because this is an anonymous blog.
I told him that I run errands, do laundry, clean. He asked me if I cook, and I said yes, everyday, Jose.
“You make a good housewife,” he said.
“I make a damn good housewife, Jose,” I confirm.
Jose is a very sweet man. Every day he says hello to me, addressing me by name. One day in the breakroom I saw him eating some home cooked meal from a Tupperware container, and I asked him if his wife had made that for him and he’d said yes, and I remember thinking it was the sweetest thing. He has a beautiful little daughter of about five years old who he uses for his Facebook profile picture, and I just think he’s the sweetest man. He always asks me if I need help getting boxes down from the back, and I remind him that I move boxes of 25 and 50 pounds every day all day, that I am strong, that indeed I am actually kind of a badass, but I always appreciate him having the gentlemanliness of offering to do that and to climb up on the ladder to get anything I need. Most of the other guys don’t offer, especially not the younger ones, and while it’s my job to do these things, there’s a very old-fashioned Southern belle in me who feels annoyed when they don’t offer to help me.
“I just don’t want you breaking a nail,” Jose says to me, and I can’t tell if he’s serious or joking, but I appreciate it either way, because it is true that I like getting manicures and don’t like breaking a nail or for my hands to look bad.
It’s nearly four in the morning and I need to get to sleep because I have to get up soon for work, but all I can think about is how Steven is turning my entire world upside down.