I believe in fate, karma and energy. I believe that we meet people for a reason, every experience has a lesson and nothing happens by accident. I also believe that once we have truly learned whatever lesson the universe is trying to teach us, we move on.
I met Randy* in the spring of 2009. We met online (damn that eHarmony free communication weekend!) and seemed to have a lot of things in common. He's from the same area in Northern New Mexico that my dad is from (we aren't cousins, I checked); I liked his taste in music; and I really liked the fact that he is educated - in fact, he was just finishing his degree when we met. We developed a good rapport and agreed to meet for lunch. I was really nervous. When I saw him, my first thought was "wow, he's really handsome" and then my next thought was "damn this f&*#@% parking meter!" I had just parked and was trying to feed the meter when he walked up to me. He politely waited for me to finish making a fool of myself and we went into the restaurant.
We met for sushi which was awkward (I was nervous, a little un-skilled with my chopsticks and I think I even got soy sauce in my hair - don't ask). To make matters worse, he ordered a hand roll and didn't know how to eat it without looking silly. Conversation was, at best, polite. He was shy and quiet, and being that I'm not the most outgoing person upon meeting someone (remember the walls?) there were definitely lulls in the conversation and a lot of moments of silence.
After lunch, we said goodbye and I thought.... eh, whatever. To my surprise, he emailed me and asked me out for the following Saturday night. We went to dinner, a movie and then went to a bar. The beer loosened us up and conversation flowed a lot better. He met one of my best friends who happened to show up, met other friends and we both enjoyed the music. He walked me to my car and we shared a quick kiss. We went on a hike a few days later, and while he was still little quiet and I a little shy, we began opening up to each other.
Over time, we began spending a lot of time together and we grew really close. I began spending the weekend at his apartment, we were going out all the time and he met a lot of my friends. Things were going great between us. One night I made a special dinner for him (which has come to be known as the Dinner That Changed Everything). While I was making him dinner we were laughing, talking, drinking wine and listening to the Buena Vista Social Club. We sat down to eat and halfway through the meal, I started the conversation that changed the course of our relationship.
I told him I didn't want to date other people and that if he was, I couldn't date him. Granted, it's okay to say something like that but my timing was wrong - we hadn't been dating that long, maybe a month or so. I couldn't believe those words were coming out of my mouth. My brain was screaming "SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP" but my mouth kept talking. Randy freaked out. He said he needed time to respond and while we continued on with our evening, things were different and tense between us. His demeanor changed toward me; I was suddenly really self-conscious and just waiting for the break-up conversation. A few weeks passed and we finally had to talk about it - he said he wasn't ready to make a serious commitment and that he wasn't ready to stop dating other people (for the record, he wasn't dating anyone else and to my knowledge, still hasn't). I was so sad, and while I didn't take action that night, a few days later I broke it off. The break-up was amicable with very little drama, but very sad nonetheless.
I could delve into other factors of our break-up, like the fact that his sister was jealous of me and had a big influence over him, or that he had just graduated from his bachelor's program and had no idea where his life was going. On my part, I thought I had my life together but really, I still had a bunch of pesky little demons that I hadn't even dealt with and I wasn't even aware of my commitment issues. If I hashed out all of those points then this would be a six-part series. What it all boils down to is this: it was bad timing on both of our parts.
While Randy wasn't my first or latest break-up, it was definitely the worst one in recent years. The break-up with Freddy was a Level 4 heartbreak. Astro Boy was a Level 3 bummer. Randy, on the other hand, was a Level 5 devastation. He is the reason a playlist exists on my computer entitled "Sometimes I Cry." The week we broke up my friends each took a night to basically take care of me (I know I've mentioned this before, but I have awesome friends). I blamed myself for a really long time - "why did I ask that? Why did I say anything? Why did I open my big mouth?" Everyone tried to tell me otherwise - my very wise niece D. reminded me that if he was the right person for me, nothing would have scared him away; nothing would have deterred him. It would be a long time before I heard that for what it was and even longer time before I believed her.
I began dating with a vengeance, which is how I ended up on a date with Bookstore Guy and then met Weird Walgreens Guy (not to be confused with New Walgreens Guy or Other Walgreens Guy). I wish there was a really long, juicy story about WWG, but there isn't - he didn't even last a week. I was miserable and missed Randy so much. A month after we broke up, Randy and I met up for drinks. One thing led to another and I ended up at his house. At the end of the evening we had a new agreement - we were going to start seeing each other again, but with zero expectations. We would take it easy and not put so much pressure on ourselves. No problem, right?
Next Week: Part Two
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the badly timed.