Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The Math Teacher: Part 6
I got off work at 4pm. Pretty much unheard of at my office. But I didn't care. This was more important somehow.
I met him at the metro a few blocks from my office. And he looked goooood. There's one thing about this guy that can't be denied - he is an attractive man. Tall and lean. Tan. Longish, roughed up hair. He even has nice fingernails and feet. It's a little intimidating.
He was quieter than usual. I'm sure I confused him. I'm sure I had hurt him. I'm sure he didn't know quite what to make of me. But neither did I you know? I was a mess. A tired, stressed, overworked, overcaffeinated, recently dumped mess. I didn't know anything. Least of all anything useful about who I was at any given moment or what I wanted.
We road the train to Clarendon to meet our friends. I was nervous and talked too much. He smiled and laughed appropriately but wasn't as giving of himself as usual.
We got to the Chinese restaurant before our friends. We took two stools along the bar and ordered beers. Despite the slight awkwardness, (being the elephant in the room that was my repeated cancellation of our dates), the one thing that had always been there between us (an ability to talk about anything), once again saved the day and before long we were chit chatting like old friends again.
Then our friends came along. One by one, and three at a time and then a half a dozen at once. We sat apart from one another and caught up with our friends on our own and in our own time. But there were glances. From our friends at us. And from us at each other.
Before two long, MT got up. He started saying goodbye to people. I wasn't sure exactly why he was leaving. He came over to me last.
"I have to go," he said. "Oh really?" I said the disappointment apparent in my voice. I did mean it. I really did. I didn't want him to go. "Yeah, I have a friend's barbecue thing. I'm trying to set up my buddy with an old college friend." "Oh," I said, still disappointed. "Will you come back?" I asked hopefully. "I'm not sure," he said and I could see and tell that he was hurt and confused by my recent behavior and that being around me might not be as fun as it should be if we were dating on mutually, respectful ground.
"I'm really sorry you know?" I said out of nowhere. "Are you?" he asked almost bitterly. "Yes. yes I am," I said sincerely. "I feel like shit." "Do you?" he asked, again still sounding unconvinced. "Yes, I really do feel like shit. I wanted to go to dinner with you last night. I really did. I just couldn't. I'm sorry." "Listen," he said, a little kinder - "maybe from now on if you want to do something with me, you should call me."
Ouch. That one hurt a little.
"But you don't want to. Do you?" he continued. "Of course I do," I said. He shook his head slightly. "I gotta go," he said finally. "Try to come back," I said. "We'll see," he said and gathered his friend and said a last farewell to the group. He walk out the front door and I watched him walk away from the restaurant and then around the corner through the restaurant's glass windows until he was out of sight.
And I felt regret in my stomach. Had I blown it? Had I thrown away this great guy who treated me amazing because I was a complete brat? Because of Fuckface David? Because I didn't know how to love the right guy? Because I didn't let the right guys love me? I wasn't sure. I did know that I felt awful.
Everyone at the table knew something was wrong.
My friend Mike who can be a bit crass said: "What are you so upset about for? Isn't he supposed to be the rebound guy?"
"He was," I said and then paused. "But he just won't bound. He just stays."
"I'd love it if some girl wanted to use me as the rebound guy. I tell her - 'no problem, just let me know when you're done with me and I'll be on my way'."
"Wow, that's great Mike. Very helpful."
But I actually like him. I think. But I've blown him off and treated him poorly and now he's really pissed. I didn't even know MT could get pissed. I don't know anything...
And so I sulked for a little bit, deeply lost in my own thoughts. Was I upset because I wanted to like him and didn't? Or was I upset because I liked him but wasn't ready for him? Or upset because I liked him and was pushing him away for reasons I couldn't fathom?
It just wasn't clear. Nothing really was. Except that the Math Teacher had left the restaurant without me. And I wished he hadn't.
To be continued...