With my eyes still tightly closed, I squirmed just a little bit as I began to wake up. I could feel the warmth of my comforter pulled up over my shoulder. It was the smell of my morning coffee and the snort of the coffee maker as it forced the last drops of hot brew into the carafe that actually coaxed me from my sleep. As one eye opened, I could see the sun peering in through the sage green valance that hangs above the oak french windows of my bedroom. I like my bedroom. It feels like a big hug every time I’m in here. Soft and comforting. It’s exactly what I need sometimes. It’s an amicable divorce, as divorces go. Still, there are so many adjustments to make. It’s been 33 years since I was living alone. I’ve always had someone to care for, a child or a spouse. Now I’m taking care of me. I have my really down days. The ones that are filled with blue and gray. The ones I spend with my tissue box under my arm. With a little time though, I’ve even learned to manage those days with a little bit of grace.
Fortunately, today wasn’t a blue and gray day. Today was a date day. I got up, signed onto my computer and poured a cup of coffee. Routines are funny things. We don’t realize we even have one until for some reason, can’t follow it. It gets things out of balance. After checking the weather and my horoscope I head out with my MP3 player for a walk by the lake. I have a route that I follow. I’ve even arranged it so that I can walk by the water twice during the same walk. I usually walk to Whitney Houston. Her music keeps me at a good pace. I try to walk 4 miles a day and with her upbeat dance tunes I get it done in less than an hour. (I have short legs.. what can I say.)
I wasn’t even a block into my walk when I got the first text of the day from Coach. He’s very good at keeping a girl thinking of him. While Michele and I were at the Renaissance, he texted off and on through the afternoon. It was almost like he was there with us. Now here he is on my morning walk. He’s looking forward to seeing me today. He’s visiting his son for the weekend, but will be driving through later this afternoon to spend some time with me. How thoughtful and clever of him to begin our ‘date’ day this way. Now I’ll be thinking of him and our date until he gets here. What a smart guy.
Although Coach hadn’t given me an exact time he’d be here, I knew I had a fair amount of time til he’d arrive. I decided to shower and do a few errands. After I got myself together, I called Tammy and we met for a little shopping. I filled her in on the latest happenings. Like my conversation with Lucky and how bad I felt. She reminded me that this is about me being able to enjoy my life. And choosing people to bring into my life that enhance it. It’s not about taking care of someone else. She told me to challenge myself and my comfort zones. She’s right. I’m a huge caretaker. Now I have to take care of what’s best for me. Although Lucky is a very nice man, it would have been a boundary that I’d have to constantly maintain to not become his counselor. Tammy is right of course, I have clients. What I’m seeking is a dating partner. That’s when she asked how things were developing with Winkin. I shared that we’d had a couple of nice phone conversations. That he loves music and that I can hear music playing in the background when we talk. It’s actually kind of nice atmosphere maker.
I kept checking my phone off and on to see if I’d missed a text or a call from Coach. It was nearing mid-afternoon and I was hoping to have some idea about what our plan was. A girl has to dress appropriately you know. I spent some time in my closet pairing this and that to see what might be versatile.
It was after 5:00 and still no word. Was he blowing me off? Had something come up? I was uncertain what this meant. I went online to focus my thoughts on something besides waiting. I checked the local movie listings to see what was playing and time times. It was getting past dinner time so it would be too late to go out to eat. There were a couple of new movies I hadn’t seen, so I wrote down the times. I switched focus and stopped by the dating sites, they were still full of browsers. But because I needed the diversion, I looked through the ones who had read my profile. On one man’s site, it indicated that he was ‘online now’. Here he was viewing me while I was viewing him. I felt kind of like a window peaker who got caught. Just then I got a new email on the site. I am caught! His name is Blinkin and he lives about 35 miles south of me. (closer than any of the men I’ve met so far) He is divorced and has a psychology degree. He also has a daughter that lives at home. His email asked what I was doing this evening?
Doing? I’m waiting.. that’s what I’m doing. It’s almost 6:00. Seriously? This is no longer ‘late afternoon’. Maybe it is in South Africa, but not here. Could it be that he’s nearly here and just forgot to text? Okay, I agree that’s grasping. So this is what ‘stood up’ feels like. I don’t like it.
At 6:30 I get a text. “Just leaving here… see you soon.” (Eyes rolling!) “Here” is four hours away. His son lives four hours away from me. I have never had a date at 10:30 p.m.. The movies all start before 10:30. It’s a Sunday night in northern Iowa.. there aren’t any real good late evening options for a date.
Feeling discouraged and hungry, I made a sandwich. It seems Coach took a diver off of the pedestal. He’d made such a good impression all the other times we’d talked and chatted and texted. Our first date was so much fun. It just doesn’t add up. I called Michele. She’s good with numbers. She began with, “I thought you’d be on a date so I didn’t call you.” I began with.. “I thought I’d be on a date too.” I gave her the short version and she said it didn’t add up. At least we agreed. She said I should keep her posted.
Around 9:45 the texts came hot and heavy. Lots of em. Very witty, funny, and filled with anticipation. He had watched ‘the game’ with his son and then grilled out steaks on the deck. So he got a late start back. (A grilled steak on the deck sounds like a great date.. too bad I wasn’t there.) It’s hard to have a good attitude when you’re the last option on the ‘to-do list.” I told Coach it was getting pretty late and I had to work the next morning. He said he was ‘like five minutes away’ and we’d just visit a little bit.
Fifteen minutes later (but who’s paying attention), Coach arrived in a very happy, jovial mood. I was glad to see him but still perturbed. I had put together some nachos during those last minutes of waiting. He greeted me with a hug and used the bathroom. The nachos and I watched Seinfeld as we waited for him on the couch.