We all have our way of keeping track of where a relationship is going. Some people document their progress through flowers bought (daisy, lily, rose), money spent (coffee, dinner, diamonds), number of dates before sex, or how many conversations with relatives the poor guy has had to suffer through at family celebrations. These days, it’s all about the text. Text messaging, that is.
I met Eric on JDate in Minneapolis. Eric was a goofy-looking teacher. A lover of good food. A romantic, I thought, as he pulled me towards him after dinner, outside the movie theater on our first date and kissed me deeply. “I couldn’t wait. You looked too beautiful,” he told me. I don’t remember the movie. My mind was seared blank with that touch.
After that night, we spoke almost every day on the phone, but it was his texts that sent shivers through my body. In the morning before work. “Hey Angel! You thinking of me?” Before I crawled into bed. “Sweet dreams, love.” I melted with each word. I canceled my date for the next weekend with a different JDater – I had to see this man again.
The next date we savored fine wine, delicious chocolate and each other. He was irresistable. He kissed my eyelids, whispering, “I could wake up next to you every day of my life.” I drove home in a delirious fog – and then I saw his text. “Sweet dreams angel.” I cancelled my subscription to JDate – no need to kiss any other frogs. This was it. I was hooked.
But then I began to dread his texts. The next text cancelled our date. Another complained that I had bruised him with my elbow when we made out. And how wasted he had gotten the night before with his buddies.
We didn’t see each other for two weeks. More texts canceling more dates. When I complained, wondering how we could be “dating” without actually going on dates, he told me that I wasn’t his only priority. No shit. But did I make it into the top 20? He stopped calling. Stopped texting.
Weeks passed and then, out of nowhere, I felt Verizon’s soft vibrations again. “How was your day? What are you up to sweetie?” He called and we spoke for an hour and it all came rushing back. His kisses, his touch, his laughter, our long talks. I agreed to see him.
That last date, like our first, was at a movie theater. A bit of déjà vu except where the first date had been so passionate, so filled with excitement as we wrapped our legs, our arms, our fingers around each other, clenching as if we could never be filled but dying to taste, to hold, to touch, to love, this date was empty. The space between us was a dreadful, gaping hole. And no matter how many times Catherine Zeta Jones kissed her boyfriend in that movie, he kept his distance, pushing me away when I tried to hold his hand. “I don’t do PDAs,” he said. “They make the other movie-goers feel bad.”
I wiped away my tears. That was it. I couldn’t date someone who made me feel that kisses were so precious, so private that they couldn’t be shared near other human beings. Kisses were like breathing. Meant to be deep and fresh, soft and wide, and…frequent.
We walked to my car, barely touching, and at our destination I leaned in to get that passionate embrace I had been craving all night. Eric looked right, looked left, and seeing no people nearby, kissed my cheek softly. “See you this weekend,” he whispered. I cringed. Clutched every muscle in my body and screamed silently. Then I got in the car and texted, “Sorry baby. Not this weekend. Or the next.”
(Photo: Ken Banks, kiwanja.net)