I don’t think Adam or I tried to meet each other with ideas in our heads, but after almost two months of communicating, it was impossible not to. For me, there was a feeling of curiosity about what he’d be like, how he’d move, what his smile looked like when at first his face was at rest and then broke into a grin. And while I tried not to be excited for the future, I simply felt closer to him than any other man simply based on amount of communication we’d had. Not to say I hadn’t been in contact with some of my dates from around the country. Still, the consistency of Adam made managing hope a bit like trying to catch a cloud.*
What I’d never have guessed from our interactions was that Adam wouldn’t be into me. He’d often mentioned he was worried I wouldn’t be into him, and we’d talked a lot about different outcomes from our correspondence. What if we smell wrong to each other? he once asked. What if there’s no chemistry? But given the continuous nature of our communication, the idea that it would come to him skipping out on me felt nearly impossible.
He evaporated quickly from my physical presence. We went on three quasi-dates, out and about to a movie, a bar, and another bar with his roommate. We then spent the rest of our times together listening to records or talking about books, each meeting becoming farther between though always with texting and phone calls every day. It was puzzling.
And then, it was frustrating. I felt as though I had been on this life-changing journey where in theory, I’d learned so much: and the first thing I did was walk back into a situation eerily reminiscent of the ex who had spurred this whole endeavor: Someone who just wasn’t that into me but didn’t know how to say it because they liked me personally, or maybe someone who wasn’t ready, or whatever other reasoning there was behind me not getting what I wanted from a potential partner. Had I really learned nothing? And if I hadn’t learned anything…what did that say about me?
After a day of record-shopping, local pizza, and hanging out in his professional studio chatting about some favorite authors in between research (me) and work (him), he drove me home a bit unexpectedly. Even though I knew the answer, I queried him before getting out of the car about what I should be considering moving forward. He shrugged, gave excuses, apologized for hurting me. Attempting not to tear up (at least not where he could see me), I failed at the “not-crying in front of him” moment when he noted the fantasy of me was just easier to handle than the reality of a person who wanted attention and support. I fled into the security of my apartment building.
Climbing the stairs, I knew this was for the best for me and probably for him, too. While I felt duped, like a fool, and all the other emotions that come from a pseudo break-up, I also felt relief. My instincts had been correct (when would I learn to listen to those?), I hadn’t invested as much as I could have, and hey…at least I knew how to feel.
That was over, it was time to move forward.
*Not that I wasn’t communicating with other guys from the road. More on that soon. Think you know who? Post in comments section welcome.