I can’t help but compare my present life with the events in my past. It’s like I’m in a parallel universe as I live and experience things now and reminisce about things way back when. When it comes to relationships, I’m not sure if I’ve matured enough since then…I’m single again. I had to make a tough decision recently, not because I didn’t love her, but because I love myself more. That’s not being selfish, it’s being realistic. I think about the woman with whom I just ended a relationship…she was gorgeous, smart, self-sufficient and seemed to say all the right things. We moved very quickly, but something was unsettling. She didn’t make time for me. Sure, she got me flowers, jewelry, but I felt like they were empty replacements — all I wanted was her. When comparing this relationship to the one I had with Theresa, eh, that didn’t last long enough to turn into a relationship and I completely screwed the pooch on that one. What was different about me then versus now?
I suppose that back then I wasn’t truly looking for a life partner. I was 100% content with myself and confident that I didn’t need or want anyone. Seeing Theresa in a bar was purely coincidental and I really liked her. I wanted to take things very slowly — not being in a typical lesbian relationship where we’re moved in, married and pregnant within a month. Recently, I met ‘Sharon’ on a dating site…I was looking for a life mate, a confidante, a lover, a future wife. And so was she, at least that’s what she said. I still believe that she was being honest, it’s just that Sharon doesn’t know how to let someone into her life. She played too many games in an effort to be cute, when she really didn’t need to try that hard. She likes drama, was quite jealous and, I think, loved the chase.
And here I had Theresa, who was making herself available, showed genuine interest in my life without false promises and forced enthusiasm. In my attempt at nonchalance, I fear that I may have lost out on a fabulous relationship. If I could just switch out when these two entered my life…but let’s not dwell on what may or may not have been. I’ll just tell you what happen.
My second date with Theresa went fairly well. She came over for dinner. I made Cornish hens with a couple of sides…yes, I can cook…and we had some wine. We laughed, talked and everything seemed to be going really well. And then she took me to the movies. I let her choose the movie — ‘Monster’s Ball.’ Yeah, not a date movie, but who would have guessed that from the previews? She apologized profusely. I didn’t mind, it was still nice but my make-up was smeared from crying when Halle’s son died and also from Diddy‘s poor acting skills. We got back to my place and I was determined to keep things moving very slowly, so when she moved in for the kiss, I froze. She kissed me and I can only imagine it was like kissing concrete. I don’t know why I was in shock, but I just stood there. Again, she apologized. And then I had to apologize because the look on her face was pure, ‘oh sh*t, I just offended her.’ When, in fact, I was elated. I just wanted to play it cool. And I did; it was like December in Toronto on the sidewalk in front of my place. To try to make up for it, I hugged her and we agreed to have dinner the next night. Whew. I hadn’t blown it. I knew I needed to loosen up and find a balance: show Theresa that you really like her without seeming too eager.
The next morning brought a new dilemma to the surface: my throat was killing me and I knew that a cold was brewing in my body. I had a choice, though. I could keep the date with Theresa, dinner only, and then head home to get under the covers and prepare for the worst – or – I could try to reschedule. Considering how the date ended the night before, I knew that if I canceled the date, Theresa would surely think that her kiss had put me off, which was the furthest thing from the truth. I envisioned that conversation: Me – ‘Theresa, can we reschedule? I’m coming down with a cold.’ Theresa – ‘Really? Could you come up with a more original excuse than that?’ Click. What to do? Okay, dinner only. Don’t get sucked into a movie or whatever, or, heaven forbid, a make out session. The last thing you want to do is give the person that you really like the flu. That’s just mean. So, of course, I loaded up with as much vitamin C, Dayquil and ephedrine as legally and medically possible, slept as much as I could and prayed for the best.
I woke up to a call from Theresa confirming our date. I confirmed with as much enthusiasm as I could muster. After I hung up, I knew I was in the throes of the flu. Swallowing was like swallowing razor blades…coated in lemon juice. What the hell was I supposed to do? If I cancelled, she wouldn’t call me again, I knew it. I would look like a flake who plays games…I would look like my recent ex, Sharon, tempting her just enough to get her interest and then simultaneously saying ‘come here, now go away, no wait, come here…’ That’s just mean. I slowly got myself into the shower, hoping it would wake me up and get me moving. The only thing moving was my stomach. Rolling waves of nausea. Not good for a third date. And you know what third dates are…they usually involve the first round of intimacy. It doesn’t mean sex, necessarily, but something. Something that marks that moment of, ‘yes I really like you and let’s make this a relationship thing.’ I couldn’t not go, but I knew the risk I was taking. I was not going to come across fun-loving and enthusiastic.
She took me to a really nice restaurant. It was Italian. I remember because, one, I wore white. And two, I got the ravioli thinking that it would be easier to get down my throat than spaghetti or lasagna. I was wrong. I think I got two of them down during dinner. Talking hurt like hell, nodding hurt like hell, smiling made me dizzy. I didn’t know what to do. I had no way of proving that I was seriously ill without coming across as a frigid bitch or not interested. After she asked if I wanted dessert, I was able to stifle a hell no, and politely refuse. I was antsy. I knew my getaway was coming soon and I was looking forward to getting home, drowning myself in Nyquil and passing out. I must have done something right during dinner, though. She asked if I’d like to come back to her place. Damn! I should have known that she’d go for it. After all, she apparently knows all the other rules of lesbian dating, so of course she’s going to ask me to go to her place for the third date! I smiled and nodded. I’d love to go. I silently cried inside.
As I write this, I distinctly remember the first time I went to Sharon’s house. I had to find her myself because she wouldn’t tell me where she lived. In her words, if I wanted her I had to find her. I was never officially invited. I just showed up. It worked, but looking back, why did I have to put myself out there, vulnerable? If Theresa had pulled a stunt like that with me then, I would have laughed in her face and never even bothered. The only thing that’s different now is how much I want a successful relationship. I wasn’t indifferent then at all, it’s just after the horrible relationships I’ve had in between Theresa and Sharon, I’ve discovered more of my own weaknesses and I’ve been trying to overcome them. I’ve learned compromise. However, one can always compromise too much and forget that it takes two to create a successful relationship. Theresa was willing to meet me halfway at a point in my life when I didn’t know how to compromise. Sharon didn’t budge. It was all about her. In hindsight, I think Theresa would have understood and appreciated the fact that I put myself in that position to spend time with her, even though I felt horrible. Sharon didn’t really appreciate anything I did…’finding her’, making a CD of her favorite songs, even a gift I got for her. She lost it in less than two days. I think she gave it away, honestly. And here I was with Theresa, making time, bringing me to her place to meet her dog, George…she was really sweet. And I really liked her. I was too proud to say, hey I’m feeling ill and I don’t want to get you sick. I’ll make it up to you with theater tickets next week, how about that?
I was being selfish. I wanted a third date. I wanted to go out. I didn’t want to miss anything. I could have gotten her really sick. I, I, I. Recently, it was Sharon, Sharon, Sharon. Timing is everything. I would appreciate a Theresa in my life right now, much more than I did then. When we got to her place, we took her dog, George, for a walk. Inwardly, I rolled my eyes. I don’t know why. I guess it was just out of annoyance. I didn’t like competition, even if it had four legs. I did like his name, though. It reminded me of a cat I had in college, George Michael Jackson. I gave him back to his previous owner. He kept attacking my feet under the covers and sh*tting in the hallway. We didn’t care for each other. But I’ll admit it, George the dog was cool. He did his business and we went on inside.
The interesting part about Theresa’s apartment was that it didn’t have any living room furniture, save for one chair. It was a really nice chair, but just the one. She had furniture on the way, special ordered from none other than Norwalk. I’ll let you in on a secret. Years later when I switched careers into interior design, I jumped on an opportunity to work for them thanks to Theresa’s unwavering support, love and hour-long soliloquy about this design company. I had nothing to go on at the time but the chair. It was a nice chair. We started watching a movie. I don’t remember what it was, mostly because I was so exhausted and ready to go home. I kept thinking, thank goodness I decided to drive. Otherwise I’d be stuck. And then, another third date question. If I had been clear-headed, I would have seen it coming and welcomed the opportunity. But, I couldn’t say no. Yes, Theresa, I’d love to stay over.
At that point, I should have gone home. I just knew it. What was I going to accomplish by staying? If I kissed her, I’d be committing a crime…swapping spit knowing I was carrying the flu virus. I was hoping that I would just sleep and be able to have a decent first night. No sex or craziness, just simple sleep. It started out that way. We changed into pajamas, climbed into bed, lights out.
And then her arms were around me. F*ck. It’s okay, just breathe and it’ll be a sweet night. Nothing heavy. And then I started hacking. I was coughing up half a lung. And that was just the start.