Most of the first half of 2012 had been tumultuous.
Lots of dizzying highs. The marathon. Training. Dating, and feeling things "click with people". Lots of new things tried, done, and the exhilaration of it all.
Lots of harrowing lows. Dating, and having things fail quickly and unexpectedly and epically. Lots of loneliness. Quite a few toxic people in my life. Divorce proceedings.
All the while I was trying to hold down a job and a PhD. Thank God I had no children to look after too, I can only imagine how hard it is.
In about July of last year, I went overseas, to the US. Partly to look around San Fran, and partly for a conference. It was a short trip, about a week.
I spent most of it (the evenings anyway) drunk, and quite a lot of it crying. Sometimes in public. In retrospect, a drunk, lone woman is a vulnerable woman. It was risky.
I had a very memorable point where I hit the bottom, and bounced up (see my "about" page)
I was a funny mix of very sad and emotionally drained.
I came back - my voice hurt from talking a few days after I started back at work. I realised that was because I had barely spoken to anyone while I was away.
I began to think:
This is Ridiculous.
I have a lot to offer.
I have a lot to look forward to.
I have plenty to do.
I need to stop the longing for things I don't have.
I need to be on an even keel in order to function.
So I made a fairly conscious decision. I was going to give the dating thing a rest and concentrate on enhancing and appreciating the fabulousness in my life. Yes I would probably get back on the dating website, and soon, but only once I had gotten a good foothold with things. I didn't know how long I would be single for, but I wanted to, for the most part, enjoy the good bits.
I even googled "How to embrace being single" or some such. I was already doing most of the stuff.
I spoke about it with my therapist. She was happy.
That Saturday, I went out and booked that trip to Cuba. I conversed and flirted with the travel agent. He was cute.
I went and bought myself some pretties.
That night, I had a dinner out with a dining club I went to. On this occasion I had been given a last minute spot as somebody had dropped out.
I enjoyed the company there. They usually let me choose the wine, as they thought I was good at it. The crowd is on average about 15 years older than me, both genders. No sparks had flown with any of the gentlemen, hence I felt it was a good low pressure environment. I could practice my witty repartee and harmless flirting.
I donned one of my new frocks and trammed it in. I remember feeling really excited, like something good was about to happen.
There were pre-dinner drinks. I spotted a nice looking gentleman who was also part of the group. "Hellooooo" I thought. There were a few ladies hovering about. What the hell, I started a conversation. He was a bit shy, maybe standoffish. He warmed up a bit.
We made our way over to the table. I thought "sit next to me, sit next to me". He sat next to me.
We discussed wine choices... After a glass or two conversation became easier.
After a little while I mentioned that I was perfecting my curried sausage recipe. He turned to me and said "I love curried sausages".
The conversation got a bit easier after that. After dinner, we all headed off to a bar... Except he and I broke off from the rest of the group. The Night Cat was crowded, but an upbeat live band was playing. I sat with my drink and told him "I can't help it, I have to dance". So we did. The crowd pushed us closer together. I turned to face him. We kissed. And we kept on doing that.
After a little bit of that, we headed off to Polly bar. There were more drinks. More talking. More kissing. At one point, he invited me back to his place. I declined, saying "it's not you I don't trust, it's me". We arranged a time to meet again, 6 days later.
We stayed there till kick out time, then we caught taxis separately. He texted me saying how much he enjoyed his night, and I reciprocated.
The next morning, I awoke with sore lips, and a nice feeling. I kept it in check, trying not to get too excited. I had been disappointed before. Plus, that day I had my very last (promise) date with a guy from RSVP. Lunch in the city. He was nice but there was not a lot of common ground.
I went to the loo. Checked my phone. A text message.
"I am thinking Friday is a bit far away. Can we go out tomorrow or Tuesday?"
I replied "sure. Talk later?"
He arranged a date for the Monday night at Sarti. More food. More wine. More kissing.
The date ended on Tuesday morning.
There were more dates. It was wonderful, though part of me was frightened. Another part was saying "hang on, I was meant to be enjoying singlehood."
I had a bit of 'splaining to do to my therapist the next week. She was happy.
9 days after we met, he posited the term girlfriend. I was taken aback. What happened to the 3 months of skirting around the issue that other people seemed to do? I said he could be my boyfriend, and massage therapist. I drive a hard bargain.
It's now a year to the day since we met. Yesterday, I had a text from my ex, saying that candydogs cancer had spread, and offering to bring her around. So today the ex met the fella. They shook hands graciously.
Something poetic in that.
Every day, I am grateful we found each other. We try to be the best partners we can be to each other.
It is not perfect but it is wonderful.