There’s something comforting about going on a first date and discovering that both you and the other person mutually aren’t feeling it. The feeling of relief is instant–You can drink your drink as fast as you want to, order a second without guilt, smile only when you actually mean it. Best of all, you can have a pretty honest conversation about the various disappointments and dissatisfactions that come from dating in your 30s/40s (because even though you’re currently sitting across from Another Disappointment, at least you know they’re Normal Enough to Commiserate With). Mix in some friendly one-upmanship regarding each person’s personal “bests” from their collection of stories and characters gathered in random diners and dive bars, and you leave feeling equal parts comforted and depressed.
The Things We Are Usually Hesitant to Admit, now being talked about, Out in The Open, because There Is Absolutely Nothing To Lose.
I admittedly didn’t have high expectations for this date, or really any expectations at all. It was a first step further away from my latest heart bruise, a reminder that There Are Other Fish In The Sea. A slightly defeated, but slightly hopeful trudge into the windy, cold darkness of February in order to convince myself that I can eventually get over this dull ache that keeps finding its way back into my chest after a recent “break up” of sorts.
Heartache has this funny way on paralyzing you completely, making you feel like every “next step” is the wrong one. I shouldn’t contact him–I don’t want to seem like I care. But what if I don’t contact him and he thinks I’ve moved on? What if he hasn’t moved on, but he thinks I have and then he moves on? WHAT IF HE’S MOVING ON RIGHT NOW?! It’s also has this lovely way of erasing all those painful moments, the ones where you felt more lonely together than when you’re alone, the ones where you left his apartment (numerous times), swearing that you will never, ever go back there again. (Cue Fleetwood Mac. Cue Rilo Kiley. Cue Kelis.)
But then, suddenly, that’s all gone and it’s just you and him and the guitar and that g-damn song. (Cue Sia. Cue the g-damn The National. Cue that g-damn Keaton Henson song.)
So, what can one do? The honest answer? Nothing. There is nothing to do but to wake up and try to nonchalantly go about your day while navigating around these ever-permeating feelings. (Scoop them out of the coffee maker while you grind the morning beans; doodle them out during your morning meeting; tuck them in next to you before you sigh yourself to sleep.) And silently pray that maybe he’s feeling the same way, maybe so much so that he is compelled to break the Silence Barrier. A phone call, perhaps? A text? A forwarded link pertaining to a mutual interest?
But every day that goes by with that not happening, that internal plea becomes quieter, less urgent, and the rest of you grows bigger around it, until it’s as faint as a whisper, only really audible on the silentest of nights.