Chance Encounters

August 12th, 2020

It was 7 days ago and I decided to give the dating apps another try. Through the encouragement of my kids I went on Tinder. (Insert eye roll here.) I kept saying “No, that’s for younger people like you.”  They insisted it would be okay.

So I set up my profile, uploaded some recent pics and waited. I began the process of weeding them out by looking at the brief profile and pics then swiping left or right.  I didn’t have to wait very long. Likes, matches and messages started coming up pretty quickly.  To be honest it was rather overwhelming. 

Then the process of matching with someone began.  I had quite a few of those that first few days. Then the text messages began. A simple “hello” or “how are you?” to get things started. Then I had two requests to talk off line using our actual phone numbers. They were both from my area and so I agreed then we exchanged numbers.

The first person seemed really nice. His profile pic showed he was a veteran and was still working. He was only a two years older than me which is okay. He had been married but divorced for a very long time with grown kids another positive for me. He was very tall compared to me and I made a comment about it. That’s when the conversation went awry. 

He proceeded to ask me if I knew anything about tall men, I didn’t respond back but knew what he was referring to. Then all of sudden I got a pic from him just flexing in his underwear and he asked for one in return.

Really? Did he think that was going to impress me further? Did he also seriously think that I was going to send him the same in return when he just met me? Well the answer is no to both questions. Whatever happened to the days of modesty and gradual buildup to such things?

So that chat ended quickly. He tried to apologize but the damage was done.  I wasn’t looking for someone to just hook up with and didn’t appreciate it.  I blocked him from my phone and unmatched him on Tinder.

I was feeling a little discouraged by that but proceeded onward. The next person texted for a little bit and we texted on messenger after he told me he was on Facebook. I checked his profile and everything seemed okay. Then he actually called and we talked for a good while on the phone. Then he mentioned something about meeting each other.

At first I wasn’t really sure if that’s what I wanted? It’s been a very long time since my last actual date with a person. That was in 1997 and it was my future husband.  What do people even do on a date these days especially with a pandemic going on?  Then he said if I wanted to meet or if I wanted to just keep chatting that would be fine. In that moment the thought came into my mind that I can’t keep doing things the same way I’ve always done and need to take a chance. You will never know unless you take a chance.

I took a chance and told him that I would meet him.  We arranged a meeting time then my sister and her son drove me there and they went to have dinner while we talked at his house. He thought that was kind of awkward but understood why I did it that way. It was a safety concern.

It was a nice visit and I think it made him kind of nervous at first but by the end it was okay.  He texted me twice before I got home and told me to call him to let him know I got home safely.  I did and we ended up talking on the phone for quite a while until it was my bedtime. He mentioned that if I wasn’t busy during the weekend that maybe I could stop by if I wanted to hang out with him and his kids. I told him I would think about it.

We texted back and forth the next day and he mentioned it again. I had an appointment and an errand to run with my mother that Friday.  He once again told me to text or call and let him know I got home okay.  On our drive to the errand I kept thinking about whether I should drop by or not?  I decided once again to take a chance.

When I returned home, I texted him and then we called each other. I decided to go and he was going to fix me dinner and we were going to watch a movie.  I was also going to meet his two very young kids. That second encounter turned into a Friday evening and an all day Saturday visit, I didn’t return home until Sunday morning.

It was really nice just being around another person and it was kind of weird for me to be around such young kids again.  I was out of practice on how to communicate or behave with them but it was fun. They are some really cute kids. They finally warmed up to me on the second day.

The visit did have one awkward moment when his sister showed up unexpectedly and he wasn’t ready for the questions about me being there.  He warned me his sister might give me the 3rd degree but I assured him I could handle it. She was very pleasant and asked questions that I answered to her satisfaction or so it seemed. She said she hoped to see me again. I guess it went okay.

This chance encounter made me realize how much I miss having someone in my life. While I was there he fixed me dinner, we took his kids out to the park to play, chatted about all kinds of things, drank hot tea, and then watched TV together. We both had mentioned how we had trouble sleeping but while I was watching TV with him he laid his head down on the pillow by my side and dozed off. It was actually nice hearing him sleep. I just sat there and watched him sleep listening to his deep breathing in and out. 

The next day I left early so I wouldn’t disturb his morning routine with his kids. I think he was kind of taken aback about me leaving so early because he asked if he did anything wrong and assured him he didn’t.  I actually needed to get home to take care of my pets and do chores. I also didn’t want to interrupt the process he was trying to build with his kids.  I think it would have been harder to leave if they had been awake.

On my drive back home that morning I felt so calm and peaceful something I haven’t had in such a long time that it made me cry. It wasn’t tears of sadness it was tears of relief. That heavy dread constantly hanging over me wasn’t there. I don’t know why? Was it because that human interaction that I needed had finally been met? Did that brief moment of being somewhere else and a part of someone else’s life really make that big of a difference? I was this outsider invited into another person’s life even it was for only a brief time something that has never happened before to me at least.

We texted more over the next few days but he is in the middle of getting his life together at the moment. He’s separated from his wife and they are not divorced. I knew this before I went there. He is also in recovery from alcoholism and has only been sober for 3 months.  We talked a lot about the things he went through and I understood where he was coming from because I faced some of the same things as it related to the depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. We are both veterans and Native Americans so we talked about that as well. 

There are a great many things we have in common and our tastes or preferences in music, books, and movies was oddly similar.  We both have this dry sense of humor except he uses more colorful words than I do. He is a smoker which was a negative for me but not a complete deal breaker because I too was a former smoker and I know how hard it is to quit. He said he can only get rid of one vice at a time and the alcohol definitely had to go so I’ll give him that one.

I don’t know whether this going to go anywhere or not.  I know he is conflicted about his marriage and tried to fix it but according to him apparently they just don’t talk about it anymore but argue over how their kids are being raised instead. So that is up in the air for him. I know if she changes her mind and sees the progress he has made then decides to give him another chance then he will take it. That’s just the way he is, a loyal person to the one he loved and his belief in marriage. He really is a great guy that just needed to find his path again.

If I was only on that pathway for a brief walk with him then I will have to be happy with that because you can’t force a relationship.  You can’t make people stay with you. Life doesn’t work that way. So you have to find that happiness whenever or wherever you can.

Thank you so much for stopping by.

Have a great week!

Be safe and take care.

Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes to you!

Suzanne

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