[Note: this happened yesterday.]
I'm sitting here, innocently, in my office, relieved that I finally completed the task-that-would-not-end. And who comes into the office but Ian. You remember Ian? He figures in the story about Tim. Ian was the first of many acquaintances who I saw that night.
Ian hesitates when he gets to my half of the office. I pick up the report lying on the extra chair and he sits down and tells me that he's not here about work, "So how did it go the other night?"
I say, "Remember that story I was telling you, about the guy I just broke up with? The separated one?"
"Yes. Was he..."
I say, "He was there."
"You're kidding. Did you talk to him?"
"Oh yes, we had a long talk. We talked for a while and then I kind of dragged him out of there and we talked some more."
"Really," shaking his head, "he's a jerk."
Ian says, "He is. You have to be done with him."
"I am. I am. I'm well out of it, but..."
"No, no you can't say that. I know where you're headed..."
"But, I was..." I start again, but Ian cuts me off.
"I know, but he's a jerk."
"Every single person I've told this story to says that, but I just don't feel that way. [Note: I know this is an exaggeration.] The only person who saw it my way was my dad. My dad! At least I know where I get it from."
"You know what's funny, is that my dad--my parents were divorced--but when they were separated you could probably have accused my dad of the same kind of behavior. And they reconciled."
"But who said it was really the end?" Ian asks.
"My dad, I think. But he wanted to reconcile."
"So you really wouldn't date separated men?"
"Well, it hasn't worked out very well so far. I always knew, in the back of my mind, that reconciliation was a possibility. Especially since they'd only been separated for six months."
Ian says, "Well, he was a jerk. You have to give it up. Him being there wasn't about you. It wasn't a reflection on you."
"I know. You're right. I know what I have to do, but I also have feelings. It really shook me up to see him. It took a couple of days to recover."
"I can see that. But I saw you talking to people that night..."
I say, "Oh, I was. I talked to at least five different guys before I saw Tim. Nothing special though. I was talking to a couple of guys when I saw him." I tell the story of Tim introducing himself and scaring off the other guys.
"Still, that's good. You really got out there. There was no one for me there. I was at least 20 years older than most of the people there."
"Well, I was older than a lot of the people, but there were still plenty closer to my age." I figure I was ten years older than a lot of people.
"I just ate a little, tried a couple beers, ate a little more, then I went home and watched a basketball game." Ian tells me that someone has responded to his Matches ad this week and they are emailing, "We have a lunch planned for next week."
"That's great. I hope it goes well."
A little more chit-chat, a few more rambling stories from me about the vagaries of internet dating, and Ian leaves.
Am I crazy, or is he interested?
Maybe it was just a friendly, normalizing visit. There is a project that brings us together occasionally and it would be awkward if that were the next time we saw each other.
Or, as Pele, said, "Maybe he was just checking to see if you would date another separated man. Now he knows to wait to ask you out until he's signed the papers."
Lord have mercy. Not another one.
Grateful for: new friends (hopefully).