We met at the software company where I worked in the DC metropolitan area. I was 22. I would later find out the he was 37. Lucky for him (and me) he didn’t look a day over 29. I happened to be standing in the reception area chatting with the receptionist when he breezed past, hurriedly. “Who is THAT?” I said to her. “Oh that’s the new guy, he just started today” was her answer. I turned and looked her dead in the eyes and said, “I’m going to marry him.” And that was that. If only the story could end there. Days went by before I was able to have any semblance of a real conversation with him outside of the obligatory, office-to-office, “Hi my name is…”
“The Guy” struck me as interesting, dark; despite his sometimes blue sometimes green eyes and blonde hair. I was intrigued, but I was also in a relationship, albeit a shitty one. Days went by without so much as a, “would you like to hang out?” or “So how are you liking your new digs?” Finally I decided that I would need to speed up this process a bit, so I added him to the inter-office chat system and asked him how work was going for him. Every once in a while I would swing past his office to chat or wave hello. I may have officially become a bona fide stalker, but I mean, it was only right, as he was seated right across from the kitchen. It’d be rude to not say hello! So, I said hello, often!
He’d come by my office and poke his head in and I would giggle at all the things he said, funny or not. I’d walk past his office and immediately disappear if I heard his boss’s voice or mine coming around the corner. I have to admit, it turned into a fun, little game. There were random, split second glances waiting in the line by the microwave and brushes of hands as both of us clamored to press the number “3” in the elevator on the way up to the our office suite. I liked it. But I never crossed any lines.
Spring rolled around and so did the semi-obligatory office happy hours, which I always invited my boyfriend to but he never seemed to want to attend and, in my book, that was fine. On one happy hour, “The Guy” turns and says to me, “How come your boyfriend never comes to these things? If I had a woman as beautiful as you, I would never say no!” I melted. Right then and there, I completely melted. I swear from that moment forward the flirting exponentially escalated. And I loved every minute of it!
So, in the interest of time, let’s fast forward to when “The Boyfriend” dumped me. Yup, you read that right. Mr. Perfect who never showed up to dinners, happy hours, movies or anything with me was actually the one who canned me. I later found out that he was clinically diagnosed as a recluse. I just happened to think that the DC winter weather kept him holed up in his moms basement, but turns out, he actually WAS a recluse who’d rather be alone. So, I left him alone and cried on “The Guy’s” shoulder whenever I needed an ear. I had opened some kind of door and I think he liked it.
When “The Boyfriend” dumped me, I refused to believe it. How could he? I had a great job, lived in a great city, I was far from perfect but I was sure I was the best a recluse could do. I had my shit together and he didn’t! But I guess the bigger question is – why didn’t I think I deserved more? That continues to be an answered question. So, he dumped me, I said, “No way –we’re still together my friend”, and I proceeded to say yes to a dinner invite from “The Guy”. You know? Dinner just as just friends. Suffice it to say, my guilt and I had dinner with “The Guy” 3 nights later, and there, on the curb by his car, in front of the dark, romantic little restaurant where we chose to disclose our former abuse, shitty family lives, past fucked up relationships and a mountain of other insanity, we kissed.
And that was it…I was sold. I really was going to marry this man…eventually.
There was so, so, so fucking much more, but for me, that was it.
To be continued…