Monday, April 13, 2015

Dating After A Decade- Part 2

We had planned to walk a nature trail at a park near his neighborhood after church, which sounded good because the park was only a couple miles down from Papa and Grandma's where my kids would be staying for a couple hours. My mom was excited to meet my friend (10 years is a long time for a mom to wait for her daughter who is over 30 to date), my dad wasn't as My friend was a gentleman and opened the car door for me and helped me into his car and we were on our way.

My friend had walked the trail before and unbeknown to me had a plan set in place for how our date would go. I on the other hand had no expectation other than to see where the day took me. The trail was rather busy with bikers, roller bladders, and families walking, enjoying the wonderful weather we had that day. I love walking and could easily walk for hours without needing a break, especially while walking and talking to a friend. So when he asked after just five minutes if I'd like to sit down for a bit it threw me. I said I was fine to keep walking but if he needed to sit then we could. I was mentally preparing myself for a walk with frequent breaks and trying to figure out what time I'd be back to pick up my kids, when he found a bench at the first bend in the path. Sitting on the bench with the sound of a small river behind us and a slight breeze blowing. I realized "this was a planned checkpoint". My friend is a very quiet person, so him sitting without saying anything for an extended period of time didn't send up any flags for me. After a couple minutes of people watching he made his move. I had a feeling it was coming, but still was not prepared for it. He went in for a very awkward teenage kiss that I was not prepared for and was not expecting. I tried to gracefully duck away and gave him a hug. Not wanting to hurt his feeling I blamed my avoidance on the fact that there were young children coming around the bend, and I could hear them. I don't like taking my kids places and having them seeing people locking lips, and wouldn't want to put other people in that position. I suggested we could maybe continue our walk.

The picture for Joey :)
We made it to what must have been "check point 2" where he suggested another break to sit on a giant tree that was laying on it's side near the river. There were less people traveling this route, so he made his move again. Again, I ducked away to get a picture ("for Joey") of a tree that ash tree bugs had left their paths on.  I wasn't sure why I kept dodging his show of affection, but thought it could be that I felt he would bail on our relationship that day with his deal breakers. His deal breakers were always in the back of my mind. I voiced my concerns. I was given a quick reply that he wasn't going to bail. It sounded like a hollow promise to me though; a knee jerk reply.

I had on hiking boots and walking on the paved path in them which was hurting my ankles, so I detoured us to a mountain bike path. I must have upset his planned route for check points, because he was a bit worried about which direction the paved path was going. I kind of took over the direction of our walk and the path I had us on didn't look to have anywhere we would be taking another break at. My friend was a determined man and stopped our progress when we came to a bit of a valley with blooms in the nearby trees. He went in for another kiss, I stepped back a bit to put some space between us. I realized that it wasn't just the fear that he'd bail, I just wasn't feeling the "spark". I had been good during our walk and had not smoked at all, but I was dying for a cigarette now. I hate to admit it, but I hoped my cigarette breath would keep any more advances away. I forgot to mention that during the whole 2.5 hours we were walking there was very little conversation happening between us. I attempted many times but was unable to uphold both sides of the conversation. Did I mention my friend is very quiet. I'm not saying he didn't talk at all, just that all topics kind of fizzled out quickly and left just silence in it's place.

By this point I had given up on talking and moved to walking in front of him, having him follow me back to the main path, then to the car. I just wanted to go home and see my kiddos. This time I didn't wait for him to open the door for me. We rode back to my parents with less than 10 words spoke between us. He noticed my silence and commented on it, I said he must be rubbing off on me. I was lost inside my own head trying to figure out how our "official date" had been so unlike our "family dates". Plus trying to figure out how to tell him were should stick with being friends.

Back at my parents I had expected him to head home to spend time with his kids who had been away for a week on vacation with their mother. Instead he hung around for a bit, he's kids had apparently already gone back to their moms. My friend sat outside chatting with my dad and Jordan. My mom pulled out extras for dinner as she had not expected my boys and I to be there so late. My friend joined all of us for dinner. Then being a complete computer whiz worked on speeding up my parents computer. I walked him to his car around 7 that night. Being the thoughtful guy he is he gave me some movies he had borrowed from the library he thought my boys might enjoy. (The movies were sequels to the one we had watched the last time we "broke up")

That evening after getting home I touched base with a couple of my friends who had been itching to know how things went. While messaging one of my friends from out of state I received a message from him thanking me for the lovely day we spent together. I closed out my chat with my friend so I could focus on what I needed to say to him. He inquired what I had been telling my friend about our date. I have never really filtered what I say to him through text and told him pretty much the same thing I had told my friend. I did try to be nice about it, but I think I still hurt his feelings.

We went back to attempting to be "just friends" but when I tried to message him as a friend twice that following week he dismissed me. I hate that my feelings of him bailing on me were correct. I have talked (text-ed) to him only once since our "date", when he thought I was avoiding him the following Sunday at church. (I hadn't been, I was running late for service, then had to rush out after service to meet with friends for lunch) I've seen him at church and we are in the same small group through church, but we have not shared a single word. It's kind of like if he doesn't acknowledge I'm there, then the "perfect date" never happened.

I give him much credit for all the thought and planning he put into the date. He truly is a wonderful guy and I hope he finds someone to share his affections with, that person just isn't me though.