My Wise Self reminded me that humans are social creatures. It’s good for our brains. It’s good for our well-being. It’s the light that keeps us alive. It’s time, she said gently, to start dating again.
I had pried my heart from my last relationship. The single life was beginning to lose its charm. I had even read a copy of Meeting Your Half-Orange. She was right. It was time.
So I made an effort. I brought a book to Peet’s Coffee & Tea, and I read.
That’s making an effort?
I lugged my laptop to the library, and I wrote.
You’ve got to look up, my Wise Self suggested.
“Here? Now? At the library?”
I looked around.
I saw the Japanese man eating a hamburger with chopsticks.
I saw a sporty guy in casual slacks and loafers surfing porn on the internet, his left leg jiggling.
I saw a teenage boy gliding past the window on a skate board wearing a T-shirt that read: Have You Seen This Person? And his photo was on it.
These, these were the pickings.
Go outside, my wise self prodded.
So I took my book to the park and stretched out on a blanket. There were people in the park. Dog walkers. One of them stopped by my blanket to say hello. A man with the build of a baseball player. Blonde hair, merry blue eyes. I said to myself: yes, this one I’d like to meet. But there was no matchmaker sitting on the bench nearby waiting to do my bidding. So I bid my time.
I went back to reading.
Eventually the mystery man asked me out for coffee. I released my hold on the book and left it at home. I ordered one of those fancy soy drinks laced with chocolate syrup. He ordered coffee, and paid the tab. We sat at a small table and sipped our drinks and then he leaned back in his chair and asked for my pedigree. I smiled. I knew I’d never pass his test because he drove a Porsche and I’d never even sat in one. I knew that if he knew he was slumming right now he’d check his wallet and then beat a hasty retreat.
Don’t be so judgmental, my Wise Self cautioned.
I took a breath.
I smiled at baseball man.
I looked into those merry eyes and told him the truth. A bite-sized piece of it, just enough so he wouldn’t choke. I wasn’t about to haul out my life story. A story is to be savored, not gulped all at once.
And it felt good. It felt good to be back in the saddle again. I wasn’t riding any cowboys. I wasn’t fooling myself into thinking this was a date. It was a soy drink; it was two people conversing.
But it was a soy drink with a man who wasn’t my ex.