Friday night I met Mr. U at Darlington House in Dupont to meet some of his oldest friends. At this point, I'm beginning to feel like I'm being paraded in front of every friend Mr. U has ever had. At first, I felt as though I were being tested, but now I can only conclude that he's excited about me and proud of me and simply wants those persons closest to him to know that new part of him that is me and to share in his good fortune. It's a good feeling.
In some ways it feels as though we're the veteran couple even though of the four couples that were there, we had been together the shortest time. One couple bailed early to be alone at home right away, missing out on all the group fun. The others drank themselves silly and clung to their partners. MrU and I stood with his arms around me, calm and unassuming, nodding and smiling, as the others groped and giggled. What quiet happiness was ours. Like a secret.
On Saturday, we lazed around in bed as long as possible. Mr. U who had made us brunch reservations, coaxed me up repeatedly. "You know what would help?" I asked hopefully. "What?" he wondered. "If you would make me some coffee?" I replied greedily....After he left the room, I got up to get ready. He came back in shortly with the coffee. "You dear, dear man," I said as I kissed him on the cheek.
Soon enough, we were plodding through the puddled Dupont streets, making our way to the Tabard Inn. What a lovely gem it is! We ordered hot mulled ciders and took them into the lounge. We sat by the fire and perused the paper. It was deliciously lazy. After an hour or so we had breakfast. Warm muffins and biscuits, country fried steak, brie and shrimp omelet and white wine. We stuffed ourselves with tastiness.
Afterwards, we made our way back to Mr. U's apartment under a shared umbrella as the sky drizzled down around us. We curled up under a blanket snuggling close on a love seat. We read our books off and on between napping and chatting until we fell asleep for an hour or so soundly. We kissed each other sweetly and nonchalantly upon awakening and then it was time for me to go home. I packed my things and Mr. U walked me to the door. We made plans to see each other Thursday and he kissed me goodbye. I went home sleepy and content.
You'd think everything was perfect. But then...later that night, Mr U texted me. And I ignored it. In the morning he emailed and I failed to respond yet again. This was not an unfamiliar feeling. I knew it all too well. The fear of commitment and vulnerability was ever rising in my throat and threatening my new found happiness. I had felt this before and it felt like purposeful emotional numbness. And it meant that I didn't want to talk to him. Because I didn't know what to say. Instead I sat quietly and wrote this - to myself.
When he still hadn't heard from me, he called me later that night. That's the thing about Mr. U- While he doesn't know even close to the depth of my insecurities or fears, somehow he always seems to sense when I need a little extra push in the right direction.
"I just called to say hi," he said cheerfully. "We hadn't talked at all in a day and a half and that seemed...unusual...for us. How are you doing?" After a long talk about how we spent the rest of our weekends and what was coming up for the week ahead, he told me to get some rest and said goodbye.
I already felt better. But was not entirely assuaged. In the morning I got up and went to work and tried to focus but I felt restless all day. I took laps around my office floor and drank an obscene amount of coffee but nothing seemed to help. In the late afternoon, I grabbed my coat and told my coworker, "I. just. need. to. GET. OUT!" She nodded her head in agreement. I put my ear buds in and rode the elevator down into the lobby and then broke free out into the street. I started to walk. I walked and I walked and I walked. I turned the corner and then...
(I don't believe in God most of the time. Or fate. Or at least I don't think I do. But sometimes, things make me wonder.)
I turned the corner and then...I almost smacked dab right into Mr. U! -walking in the opposite direction. We had to pull our arms back away from each other to avoid a collision. "Well, hellooo," he said leaning down to kiss me. "Hi," I said. And there we stood. In the middle of the sidewalk, in the middle of downtown. Standing for what felt to me, like an eternity. With goofy grins, just staring at one another. What was this feeling? Happiness? Joy? A knowing? A recognition of the other.
A passerby maneuvering around us shook us out of our reality. "Where are you going?" he asked. "Oh just taking a walk," I said. "I'm heading back to the office," he said. "I just had a meeting with a client at their firm." "Would you like me to walk you back there?" I asked. "Sure," he said.
And just like that we were walking briskly down the street - together. Mr. U grabbed my hand and squeezed it tight. He asked me something and I was slow to respond. "Sorry," I stammered. "I was just, kinda, in my head just now. It's taking me a moment to snap out of it." "Don't over think it," he said purposefully. "But I always over think it," I exasperated. "I know you do, but don't," he countered.
We got to Mr. U's office. He gave me a few kisses goodbye. "Thanks for the walk," he said. "It was great to see you," I said. And with that, he turned into his building and never looked back.
I walked back to my office and sat down at my desk. Then when I opened my email, I read the following from Mr. U: "Seeing you, made my day." Short and simple and perfect. Just like him.
The whole encounter was just how we are. I see him and there's no one I'd rather see. He lifts my spirits. I'm sure I do the same in return. We could've talked about anything at all or nothing of consequence and the results would be the same. It almost made me feel guilty about writing a post about how unsure of all this I was. And unsure of him. And how hard it was to just try to accept being with him and being happy. Because nothing could be more ridiculous or insane. I see that now.
I read two posts yesterday. One by Maura Me to Love entitled "Lessons of the Weekend" and one by Quarter for Her Thoughts called "Climbing Walls." In Maura's post she discusses a frustrated but honest and resolute determination that the new guy she's been seeing, is simply not for her. At first she can't put her finger on it - he just doesn't have that extra something, that X-factor. There just isn't that thing. "Something is merely missing." In response, her friends and family fear she is "self-sabatoging this potentially great relationship." But then she pinpoints the problem further. "“We don’t have terrible amounts of fun," she acknowledges. "“He doesn’t make me laugh, " she adds. And after sadly concluding that her new man, is not the man, she wisely acknowledges: "When the heart speaks. We should listen." In Climbing Walls, IntriqueMe (Quarter for Her Thoughts' handle), writes a post very similar to my own previously panicked one. She describes a fear of something and someone new and an even greater fear that she might "pass up something great." She also fears falling for the wrong man again and says: "If I were to make another wrong relationship choice, I could lose everything I’ve worked so hard for… and so I have walls up." I understand these walls all too well.
These posts, Mr. U's email and some sound advice from one of my commenter's Tricia: "Take it from me, girl. You've got a good one on your hands. Don't let him go. Instead, let yourself go," made everything all too clear.
Unlike Maura, there is nothing missing. There is no X-factor that Mr. U lacks. We do have terrible amounts of fun together. I think the only way our time together can be described is "tremendous." We always have a tremendous time together. And in contrast to IntriqueMe's fear of another wrong relationship choice, I know, 100,000% that Mr. U is not a wrong choice. I love everything about him. The way he looks, the way he acts, the way he makes me feel, the way we are together. When I see him, in an instant, he calms every fear, every hesitation, every worry. With a hand, with a word, with a look. He makes me want to shout out loud the depth of my affection. Because he is right. We are right. I am this lucky. This is really happening. It's time to just let it happen, and let myself go.
I'm going to let myself go and believe in Unicorns. And I'm going to listen to and trust, in my heart.