[This is Part Three of the Trader Joe's Guy Series: click for Part One and Part Two and Part Four]
When I first met you, I had doubts. You’re homeless, you’re an actor. I was afraid the age difference would be a problem. But I couldn’t dismiss you just on that, I had to actually get to know you. And I’m so glad I did because you’re truly one of the sweetest, kindest people I’ve met. Ever. But.. we’re at really different places in our lives. Which is a grossly cliché thing to say, but it’s true. I’m not feeling what I need to feel to be in a relationship with someone.
I have lines again? Yep. A monologue in fact, from my one night only performance of a little theatrical piece called “The First Time I Ever Initiated a Breakup Myself.”
Deliberate, premeditated, perhaps painstakingly planned: I imagine most breakups of this “it’s just not working” sort sound scripted, peppered with vague to blatant clichés. (We’re not a good fit. We want different things. It’s not you, I think you’re great.)
“Uh…last time I checked, you went on half a date with him,” I see you thinking, “Why all the drama? Actresses.“
If only it were that simple (she says, dramatically). Let me catch you up.
Two roads converged on a New York night and I? I took the one less traveled by. Yep, I gave my 20 Year Old, Actor, Trader Joe’s Crush a chance. I realized I couldn’t write him off without actually getting to know him- beyond the labels- first. And so that first date we did go bowling. Turned our backs on The Gutter’s nostalgic charm and vintage prices in favor of a typical animated screens, dozens of lanes, non-carding, bowling alley. And had a lot of fun. And I solidly kicked his ass all three games. Which he didn’t seem to hold against me because at the end of the date he made plans to see me again. And I was pleased. He’s my crush after all.
This continued for the next several weeks. A movie here, a meal there, a few long romantic strolls. I met some of his friends. (Surprisingly a huge confidence boost. I never met any of Cute Theatre Boy or Central Park Guy’s friends- truth be told they didn’t have many. Trader Joe’s Crush’s friends showered me with complements. I was called pretty, stunning, witty, adorable, and told I had awesome dimples. All by men who were obviously not trying to get in my pants. Ha, I was “approved”, fun date.) My roommates gave their blessing (“He seems cute, goofy, and super sweet. I like him.”)
We’d only been on a handful of dates when I got terribly sick. Your cliché New York guy (hell, any cliché guy) would respond to such sickness along these lines: “I’m so sorry you’re feeling like shit, but um.. we haven’t dated enough for me to want to see you like that, so…give me a call when you feel better?” Not Trader Joe’s Crush. He took care of me, brought over soup and movies, told me stories- filling my silence when I couldn’t talk, kissed my possibly infectious lips, and cuddled with me when I couldn’t sleep. It was without a doubt the nicest thing a guy has ever done for me. Top 5 nicest things anyone (who’s not my parent) has ever done for me.
Seems like I have a pattern, doesn’t it? Some traumatic health issue befalls me in the early stages of a romance and accelerates the relationship to a place where it really isn’t ready to go yet (I’m talking about my Cute Theatre Boy episode, of course). Was I thinking this? No. This is pure hindsight. I was thinking how nice it was to have a distraction from the intense pain in my throat. Was I thinking about what it must mean that he was being so nice to me? No. I was thinking how safe it feels to have someone share your bed when you are bedridden.
They say in relationships, timing is everything. They are right.
Before I got anywhere near better, he was gone. On vacation to visit family in the sorta-South for 2.5 weeks. Which confines all communication to the phone, very hard when your throat is so inflamed you can’t talk. Every phone call is basically the same on my end, a slow progression: mmhm ouch, still can’t talk; it’s getting a little better; well my voice still sounds like shit; yeah, still hurts but not too bad?; Yay, I can talk! While he is all talk of Home this, My-Mom’s-New-Kitty’s-So-Cute that, Brothers! Sisters! Nephews! Childhood Friends!
I got to know him a little better in these 2.5 weeks apart. No visa versa. I got to know his entire family knew about me. Got to know that he really missed me and wanted me to know that. Began to suspect we were not on the same page. Didn’t know, but strongly suspected. Until he came back. Then I knew. Knew he was much more into everything than I was. Realized I didn’t like that. Knew that when I had missed him it was for all the wrong reasons. Began to suspect the end was swift approaching and I would be the one to end it. Didn’t know, but suspected.
Then came Halloween.
(to be continued. It’s taking me forever to finish this entry! But it wont be 2 weeks again, promise!)
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